Lisa Reviews: Jen Violi's - "Putting Make-Up on Dead People"
What pulled me in was the bright red lips, the funeral flowers, and obviously that the cover picture is upside down. But it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for almost three years (how horrible am I?!) and it’s finally time to get my review up! I can even say I regret not reading Putting Makeup on Dead People much earlier, but what can ya do?
Donna Parisi is still dealing with and trying to overcome the loss of her father, who passed nearly four years ago. Since his passing, Donna’s life doesn’t seem to have a sense of direction or purpose. She spends each day going through the same routine, and her days are starting to blend together. While all of her fellow classmates are excited to leave and go to college, Donna doesn’t feel that way. She’ll just be attending the local college her brother attended and her mom is pushing her to go.
Putting Makeup On Dead People starts in a way not very many books I’ve read, start; at a funeral. But while everyone around her is crying for the loss of their fellow student, Donna is more detached than anything else. Sometime after the funeral, she returns to the Brighton Bothers Funeral Home out of curiosity. She knows it’s weird to be interested in dead people, and it’s not something her friends or girls of her age are thinking about, but still she can’t resist. It’s the first thing that’s piqued her interest in a long while.
Donna is offered a flyer to a college for mortuary school as well as a job at the funeral home by one of the Brighton brothers. Going against her mother, and all the expectations revolving around her, Donna fills out the form and sends it off. With her new interest, her new job and even her first love, Donna’s life is changing for the better. Things seem to be going Donna’s way and she’s regained a purpose in her life that was lost four years ago with her father’s death. She knows what she wants in life.
I looked forward to the end of each chapter hoping to find another journal entry about Donna’s encounters with dead people, and their funerals while working for the Brighton Brothers. Some of them were just so hilarious! You would think that a book about mortuary science would be depressing and sad, but Jen Violi did a good job staying away from that. The book didn’t focus so much on the actual process or the people who died, but instead on Donna and the job she wanted to do. Violi did an amazing job keeping the story on the bright side of things, and keeping it light.
I really enjoyed Putting Makeup on Dead People. I went into reading it with absolutely no expectations, and enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. The characters were real, the story was down to earth, and overall this book was definitely like nothing I’ve never read before!