We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman (5 out of 5).

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I am not sure if anyone truly knows how much I loved-STILL LOVE- Matthew Norman’s 1st book, Domestic Violets. I do. I am positive my current and past staff know. I am positive Matthew knows, for I annoy him incessantly on Twitter. When I saw him tweet earlier this year that he had ARC’s finally, I was thrilled. I immediately sent him a tweet begging for one. Not only did I get one, but he and his hombres at Little a also sent me a finished copy. Thank you for both!!!!

I wasn’t sure how this book was going to go over with me. I started reading it and then got into a funk where not only my reading suffered, but the writing as well. So it went on the top of the TBR pile. I picked it up again last week and tore through it in a few hours. Andy has been “living” in New York, tending bar and trying to find a way to exist after his divorce. Along the way, he also managed to ruin his best friend Neal’s wedding. Did I mention Neal is the brother of Karen, Andy’s ex wife? Yeah…kind of a mess all around with the family dynamic. He gets a phone call informing him that his grandfather is dying and he needs to return to Omaha. Andy gets back into town and finds all sorts of chaos: his mom Nancy is a hardcore conservative at war with gay people (or as they are known here,  “The Glitter Mafia”) who keep desecrating the family home, his father may be going through a mid-life crisis that culminates in him purchasing a motorcycle, his ex-wife is now sharing a home with and engaged to the paramedic she left him for, and his dying grandfather has quite a fan club: a fellow nursing home resident who ropes Andy into periodic viewings of The Young & The Restless while eating Hot Pockets, and Daisy. Daisy is a breath of fresh air on the dusty trail known as Omaha. She’s young, beautiful, heavily tattooed, and she has an unspecified (for most of the book) attachment to Henry, Andy’s grandfather. She asks Andy what the story is, hears it, and decides she likes him enough to help him try to get his life in order. What follows is nothing short of funny, slightly whimsical, and karmic chaos. There’s a lot of quirkiness going around, as Andy tries to right the wrongs he created, all the while managing to kind of, sort of, fall for Daisy. But you know what they say about the unknown? Sometimes things are best left unknown. When Andy’s militant mother gets wind of Daisy’s interest in her dying father, all hell breaks loose. Andy really didn’t know Daisy after all, and that throws him for a loop that can only end up tightening around his neck. His mom gets the job at Fox News, Andy continues to butt heads with Don Johnson (head of security police at the parent’s cul-de-sac, not Mr.Miami Vice), and his dad’s motorcycle gets booted. That’s the last straw in the Coke can for Andy, and he ends up staging what can only be described as pee-your-pants hilarity to reclaim the bike and outrun Don Johnson. As a result, his dad and he are injured, Andy to the point he’s hospitalized and on morphine. When he comes to, he’s in a room with Tyler, the parameduc his ex took up with, and who ended up working on Andy. While in the hospital,  his grandfather passes, and the time spent there recovering leads to all sorts of Hail Mary moments in Andy’s closet space of a brain. He gets out, has the long overdue talk with Karen, attends the funeral, and clears the air with Daisy, who sets him straight, breaks his heart, and yet gives him hope for the future. Does Andy stay in Omaha, does he find true love, does he head back to the Big Apple, what happens to this lovable wretch? Read it and find out. The book came out yesterday.
  
I can tell you that I enjoyed this as much as I did Domestic Violets. It’s hard to forget your first love, friends, but Matthew Norman has shown me it’s possible to find true love again. I can’t recommend this book more. It’s definitely a book that makes you think about the institution of marriage , family ties that can’t be unbound, and second chances. No matter how bad shit sucks, there’s always a Twix hiding somewhere in the Easter basket of life.

~ by generationgbooks on June 2, 2016.

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