Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

by:  Jen Violi
published by:  Hyperion Books
publish date:  May 24, 2011

Violi's heartfelt and funny debut novel is a story of transformation--how one girl learns to grieve and say goodbye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be exceptional . . . at loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death.

This book was just ok for me.  I was initially drawn to the cover, isn't it pretty?  And the idea of someone going to mortuary school.  When I was in high school going to career fairs, they had the mortuary schools there and they talked about how it was a really lucrative industry, but I just don't think I could do it. 

Donna, the main character, is graduating high school and going through a lot of changes.  She's still grieving her father that died four years earlier and having a hard time dealing with the fact that her family is moving on.  She's making new friends for the good and the bad.  She's also bucking tradition and not going to the school everyone expects her to attend.

It was a fairly good coming of age novel, but I never felt any wow factor.  Most of the time I felt sad for Donna.  I didn't care for the way she treated her family or the way she reacted to anything that made them happy.  I couldn't stand Tim and the way she let him hang around so long.  Even toward the end when Donna started to come around, I was still kinda more like "Finally" more than "Yay!"

That said, I think teens might identify more with Donna and her struggle to make her life decisions more than I did.  I would say this book would be more for older teens because of some drinking and sexual situations. 

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