Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Tom Violet is my new literary superhero. This man is fan-fucking-tastic. He’s a god among the rest of us mere mortals with his smartass attitude, literary pedigree (his dad is Curtis Violet, the greatest writer of the modern era, at least according to himself), ability to attract women more than ten years his junior, obsession with great exit lines, and he’s capable of more one-liners than a basket full of fortune cookies. His dad may have a bit of a drinking problem, but he’s a Pulitzer prize-winning author, who ends up being handed literary awards the way children are passed ice cream cones. And his old man seeks out love with a passion better reserved for one woman, yet he’s constantly trying to one-up himself in the love department.
Despite being in his sixties, his old man’s latest discard (stepmother Ashley) could be next month’s Playboy centerfold with a killer body and an attitude and freakish personality to match, even going so far as to stalk Curtis in a skintight black tracksuit and faking her own death. She’s the human equivalent of plutonium, but she’s just one in a laundry list of characters strong enough to celebrate her own novel, yet relegated to the confines of secondary character status.
As for Tom, since DOMESTIC VIOLETS is really his nirvana, he keeps a file of Gregory’s HR complaints in his desk drawer and reads them when he’s bored or needs a little pick-me-up, which at least for him, is apparently better than Red Bull. He also manages to please himself and confuse his insurance company by name-dropping a different rock star’s real name with his doctor’s secretary before each visit. Last time he was Gordon Sumner (Sting); this time he transformed into Paul Hewson (Bono). And this is just one of many gems contained in this dastardly funny read that had me laughing so hard I was glad I wasn’t drinking at the time.
I really wanted to get wowed by a book and then this little beauty came along. It knocked me on my ass, kicked me in the crotch, and then stole my lunch money. If I ever meet Matthew Norman in real life, I’d probably attempt to hug him, at which point the men covered in riot gear and dark sunglasses would tackle me to the ground, tase me, and after I’m done twitching like a dying cockroach, I’d be handcuffed and shoved in the back of a police cruiser.
The novel introduced me to new words and phrases like the anti-boner, morning missile, cock with narcolepsy, Cubeland, douche-baggery, flash fantasy, tractor beam of sucking, corporate communications turd, and probably my personal favorite: Darth Gregory.
He may have a mild case of erectile dysfunction, but at least he can consume a little blue pill and still manage to keep his sense of humor about the situation: “My normal, average-as-can-be penis has been replaced with something cartoonish and chemically altered, like a penis from the future.”
This probably tells you all you need to know about his mother: “When I was fourteen she tried to tell me about condoms and I nearly choked to death on a Nilla Wafer.”
His rivalry with Darth Gregory is the stuff of legends and during an otherwise productive lunch, he manages to toss Greg’s love of buzzwords back in his face: “Everything at lunch was going well until I said that I was going to leverage a strategy that could create a synergy between my chicken sandwich and my iced tea.”
A professor’s thoughts on capitalism that I found entirely entertaining: “According to him, there are only a handful of jobs that actually fuel the American economy and the rest are wholly orchestrated boondoggles designed to keep people in offices all day or in malls buying shit on weekends and not rioting in the streets.”
Describing his stepmother’s (Ashley) emotional range: “She’s a complex bomb in a movie about terrorists, ticking steadily toward zero in a crowded train station full of children and nuns.”
His exit line: *BEGIN SPOILER* “On my way out, not quite handcuffed, but definitely escorted, I invited everyone within earshot to the Front Page Bar and Grill a few blocks away for a happy hour.” *END SPOILER*
If you like to read, I’d say you should buy or beg for a copy of this emotionally charged laugh parade, but my view may be slightly tainted by my own euphoria.