Search This Blog

Love reading challenges? Check out my other blog:

2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 30 books. 77% done!

20 Books of Summer 2023

My Progress:

17 / 20 books. 85% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (2)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (12)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (3)
- Delaware (1)
- Florida (1)
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (1)
- Illinois
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (3)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (3)
- Michigan (2)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri (1)
- Montana (1)
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (11)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota (1)
- Ohio (3)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (4)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (3)
- Virginia
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (2)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)


- Australia (3)
- Canada (7)
- Chile (1)
- England (20)
- France (2)
- Ireland (2)
-Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- South Korea (1)
- Sweden (1)
- The Netherlands (2)
-Vietnam (1)

My Progress:

42 / 51 states. 82% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 25 books. 100% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

49 / 52 books. 94% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

46 / 52 books. 88% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

34 / 40 books. 85% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

13 / 25 books. 52% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

87 / 109 books. 80% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sweet, Quirky Novel Gets A Little Weird For Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's been four years since cancer stole her father's life, but Donna Parisi still grieves like it was yesterday. The 17-year-old feels as hollow as a corpse, so empty that she can't move on, can't fully engage in her life, can't even enjoy her last year of high school. Her mother and older brother seem to be getting on with their lives, so why can't she?

When Donna attends the viewing of a dead classmate at Brighton Brothers Funeral Home - the same place where her father's funeral was held - it brings back painful memories. It also brings an epiphany and, for the first time in a very long time, hope. The thought has never occurred to her before, but since she's so well-acquainted with grief, wouldn't she make a perfect mortician? Donna's so taken with the idea that she applies for a job at the Brightons' mortuary and, abandoning her half-baked plan to study Communications at the University of Dayton, decides to go to a local college for mortuary science. No one's too thrilled about the idea. Except Donna, who's finally glimpsing a light at the end of her long, dark tunnel of pain.

Using her own experiences to help others gives Donna a new strength, something she'll need to deal with her family's disappointment, her mother's new boyfriend, and her own budding guy trouble. As she marches forward, embracing the world around her with confident resolve, she'll finally learn to say goodbye to her father. And hello to life.

Putting Makeup on Dead People, a debut novel by writing coach Jen Violi, is a strange little book. I want to call it a sweet, quirky, life-affirming novel because that's what it is. Mostly. It just gets weird in spots. Not because of the dead thing - that part is handled with appropriate respect - but because of oddly graphic scenes with Donna's idiot boyfriend and not graphic, but equally odd scenes with a girl on whom she seems to have a little girl-crush. Both of those things detracted from the sweetness of the book, although not the overall poignancy. Although I shed a few tears over the ending, the finale didn't move me enough to negate those weird little moments that kind of ruined the book for me. In the end, I liked the book enough to finish it, but not enough to give it above a C grade.

(Readalikes: Um, I can't really think of anything. Can you?)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for strong language (a handful of F-words, plus milder invectives), sexual content, and depictions of underrage drinking

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Putting Makeup on Dead People from the generous folks at Disney/Hyperion. Thank you!


  1. That does sound weird. All of it. The title especially. Thanks for wading through that much *for* us.

  2. I have this one on my TBR shelf and I did get the impression it would be strange. I'm glad most of it is fun, though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Sounds too confusing for me to give it a shot I'm afraid...

  4. Great honest review. I'm not sure about this one.


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig


Hooked: A Memoir in Crafts by Sutton Foster

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive