Posts Tagged: Jennifer Violi

Book Review- Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jennifer Violi

01 Oct, 2011 by in putting make up on dead people, young adult fiction 2 comments

Putting Makeup on Dead People
by Jennifer Violi
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published May 24th 2011
by Hyperion Books
ISBN 1423134818
Book Source: publisher
3.5 stars

In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place: a coffin.

Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living: her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left. That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home. At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death. That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.

This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible. She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he’s been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before. By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her. And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting someone you love.

Jen 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 was an interesting read. It was somber in tone, as the main character was still mourning the death of her father, four years prior to the start of the book. She also could not understand how the rest of her family had been able to move on with the lives.

Donna is young and socially awkward. She isn’t sure how to create friendships or what relationships should feel like. You almost want to sit her down and have a little talk with her; tell her how life works, but as you continue to read, you find that she learns it all by herself.

One thing that bugged me about the book was the gradual increase in harsh language and sexual content. It wasn’t terrible, but the book starts out pretty clean and then adds in more as it progresses. As a mom to a tween daughter who is slowly outgrowing her young readers books and approaching the reading level that would transition into young adult, I would not want her reading this book, for a long time.

I did really connect with the characters, brought to happy tears as the book came to a close (I won’t say more; I don’t want to spoil it for you), but I am not sure it is one I would read again (which for me is my line between a 3 star book and a 4 star book, being the big fan that I am of re-reading favorites).

Content: Swearing, fairly descriptive sexual encounters between young adults. This is definitely for much older teens

I received a review copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. No further compensation was received. Summary and cover image from Goodreads.