Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Domestic Violets: Has Dude Lit Made a Debut?

Domestic Violets: A Novel (P.S.)Domestic Violets
Author Matthew Norman

Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day. The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis Gregory, and a hopeless, completely inappropriate crush on his favorite coworker. Oh . . . and his dog, according to the vet, is suffering from acute anxiety. Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it.
Gems: Contemporary novels depicting the tribulations of women are often referred to as 'Chick Lit.'  If there is an opposite, I believe Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman has introduced an authentic 'Dude Lit' novel into the fictional world. This self-depreciating tale explores life's pit falls with a humorous edge and provides relatable circumstances that are complicated, but not entirely isolated because many adults face similar situations at some point in the work place, marriage and in familiar relationships. The male perspective is refreshing and I image it will be well-received by both women and men giving Dude Lit an advantage over Chick lit (read primarily by females). 

Flaws: The story-line is predictable. Often, it is obvious where things are going and will end just as expected or anticipated. No surprises here. Men get a freer pass, a bit self-righteous in places, and the female characters are left to burden fault mixed with guilt due to the omission of truth and full disclosure. A plot twist seems opportunistic and given the father's ego, which is addressed the entire novel, I can't reconcile that he'd accept the offer presented by Tommy Violet. I understand why the author took this route, but I personally didn't like it.  It was a convenient tie up of a loose end and an easy revelation. It was the path of least resistant and will give readers the over-all impression of a happy ending.  The everyone wins, sort of, approach.
tiny blue diamondtiny blue diamondtiny blue diamond1/2 star
*ARC provided by Harper Perennial courtesy of NetGalley eBook


  1. I have this one on my TBR pile. I agree with your observation that the moniker "dude lit" will have a broader appeal, as women will read it, but men would not be likely to read anything labeled "chick lit."

  2. Thanks for the review. I found the beginning of the book quite good but then it couldn't hold my attention. Maybe I'm not a good candidate for dude lit!