Putting Makeup on Dead People
[May 24, 2011]
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.
So this is a book.
It's a book about life and death and grief and love and how you cope with all of it. It's a book about doing what makes you happy, no matter what the consequences might be. It's a book that the cover wouldn't make you think it is.
Donna grew a lot in the story. She developed who she was and what she wanted with her life. She was determined and strong willed and passionate about this. And she learned how to grieve. She had a hard time dealing with that but her discoveries helped her with that.
All of the characters involved in Donna's life helped her learn what she needed, and I really liked that. I appreciate having every character and every action reflect on the character's development. Everything's relevant, which is especially important in shorter books.
This book was sad in an almost happy way. It was a book I took my time on, reading slowly but surely. It's a book I needed to digest and think about.
Overall, this is a book you need to be in the right place to read. It's a book that's very complicated and intriguing and thought provoking. I liked it, not as much as I wanted to, but enough to get me interested in Jen's future books.