Going to the library with my daughters has been an almost weekly event for the past several years. In that time, I’ve talked to and befriended (at least in my mind, they may feel like they are “just doing their job”) most of the librarians at the Amelia branch and one in particular has been great about listening to me and then making suggestions. She knows what kind of books I like and what kind I don’t, what writing style appeals to me and what type means I’ll only give it a few pages before turning my attention elsewhere.
Recently, on our way out the door, that same librarian caught me and suggested a new book she’s heard good things about (but had not yet read it herself), a debut novel called “Domestic Violets” by Matthew Norman.
Despite (in my opinion) the jarring cover color and artwork, when I turned it over and read that the author is an advertising copywriter, I heard myself say “Ooohh…he’s a copywriter. I’m really hoping he does our industry proud and that this is well-written.”
Happily, I was right. It is an extremely well-written book. Why you may ask? Well, here is how I would describe Matthew Norman’s writing style:
• Honest. Real. He’s not afraid to expose his characters’ weaknesses and flaws as well as their more attractive attributes making them well-rounded and relatable (see next bullet).
• Relatable. The character’s exchanges in the book are very real. While the conversations are not always comfortable, they are real.
• Straightforward. Unlike some authors (not surprisingly, usually those with an English or Literature degree) Matthew doesn’t use a lot of unnecessary prose or fancy words. Yet he is descriptive when he needs to be to set the atmosphere, build his character’s personalities, etc. without being verbose.
• Humorous, yet balanced. While the whole book isn’t a laugh-out-loud riot fest, he infuses humor appropriately and balances it with the heavier aspects of the storyline(s).
The final tell-tale sign that I’m onto something good? Whenever I find myself reading passages from a book aloud to my husband (whether he wants me to or not). Safe to say, he heard snippets from this book. And as a marketing communications expert, I appreciate great writing when I read it. As a book lover, I appreciate great literature even more.