Domestic Violets; The Odds – Two Brief Takes

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Goodreads synopsis: 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. (Really.)

My take: I liked it – especially the main character Tom Violet and a few minor characters (one being Brandon the agent). As I said, I liked it. I think my husband will love it. Interesting that one of Mr. Norman’s favorite writers is also one of mine: Richard Russo. I picked up on a Russo-esque tone in this novel. I mean that as a huge compliment and look forward to reading Matthew Norman’s next novel.


Source: I bought it.

♦  ♦  ♦

The Odds by Stewart O’Nan – audiobook narrated by Boyd Gaines

Goodreads synopsis: Eagerly fleeing their Cleveland suburb, Art and Marion Fowler empty their bank account and head to Niagara Falls for a second honeymoon. By day they sightsee, but at night they play the odds at the roulette wheel in the hopes of fixing their flagging finances and marriage.

My take:  While The Odds is a short book it’s also a complete look at a marriage from the innocent beginning to the rather jaded present. O’Nan gives the reader a glimpse into a marriage that’s in almost the same condition as the couple’s finances. I completely bought the characters’ motivations and actions. They’ve been together 30 years and have the scars to prove it. They’ve lost their jobs and are about to lose their house so they max out the credit card and head to a casino to try their luck. They’re hoping the odds will be in their favor to win big money and maybe get their marriage back on track.

There were moments when I laughed out loud and other times I cringed at something Art or Marion said or thought. We learn their story through short back flashes. I found myself wondering what the odds were that the Fowlers’ marriage could be saved let alone would they come home big winners. Stewart O’Nan had me cheering for them!

I liked The Odds but not as much as many other book bloggers so take my rating with a grain of salt. HOWEVER, I want to read more of Stewart O’Nan’s books. I was impressed by how complex and real his characters seemed in such a short novel. Boyd Gaines did a fine job with the narration.


 Source: I bought it.