Finished: Nov. 16, 2010
First Published: Aug. 10, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, realistic fiction
For the record: I did not mean to send my two half sisters to the emergency room.
Acquired: Won a review copy from Library Thing's Early Reviewer Program.
Reason for Reading: I am fond of the publisher, the cover caught my attention and the summary sounded original. It didn't hurt that the word "George Clooney" was in the title either!
What an amazing little gem of a book! I absolutely giggled with delight as I read about Violet's dilemma and what lengths she goes to. Converse-wearing 12 yo Violet's parents have been divorced for two years. Her TV producer father left them for a trophy wife, who was expecting twins and off they moved to LA. Violet's mom took it hard and spent the first 6 mos. going through a change, pierced navel, drinking too much wine but she got out of her slump and took up the single life with a passion, always dating, looking for the new Mr. Right. Only problem is the men are all losers. Cheaters, married, kid haters, cheapskates, etc. and Violet knows her mom can do better. She's even been known to spy on the boyfriend with her best friend Phoebe, looking out for her mom's best interests. But when her mom starts to seriously date Dudley Wiener Violet knows it's time to intervene and since her mom actually met George Clooney years ago when she worked on-set doing hair touch ups and had a personalized photo of him, Violet plans a campaign to get Clooney to meet her mother again and perhaps she will be the one who will break his rule that he will never get married again.
The story deals with some serious issues but is light-hearted and hilarious. Violet has an attitude, and understandably so. She outwardly hates her father for his desertion of her and her little sister, she is protective of her little sister and feels she needs to watch out for her mom, while at the same time she has sworn off boys/men altogether except that oh, so cute Jean-Paul has started paying attention to her. Not a popular kid at school, she's mostly a loner but she isn't one to let other's push her around so she's often getting into trouble both at home and at school. She punches the most popular girl at school in the nose when she calls her mom a skank, she disses a 5 yo girl in her sister's after school daycare when she calls Rosie dumb, she allows her two half-sisters to eat cat poo and she has a phone conversation with her dad only responding with Magic 8 ball answers. These are just some of the antics you can expect from Violet, but none of it is done mean-spiritedly. I fell in love with Violet right from the beginning.
It's tough for Violet getting used to her Dad's glamourous LA lifestyle and new family and adjusting to her own new middle class life that may just include a dumpy, balding man called Dudley Wiener. But through it all, with the help of her eccentric but youthfully understanding mother, her mother's best friend, her own best friend, her psychiatrist parents and yes even, her dad, his new wife and Dudley she gets through this tense, hurtful stage of her life.
Susin Nielsen has written a book that is both poignant and witty. This was a can't put down book for me that I read quickly and yet didn't want it to end. It would be fun to meet Violet again sometime as she seems to be the type of person who will be up to antics all her life, whether she starts them or they happen to her. Lovely book, Violet is a memorable character in literature that will stay fondly with me.