December 16, 2013
Book Review: Putting Makeup On Dead People.
Author: Jen Violi.
Publisher: Hyperion Books.
Published Date: May 24, 2011.
Barnes and Noble.
"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."
Putting Makeup on Dead People has sadly been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now, untouched and unread. What pulled me in was the bright red lips, the funeral flowers, and obviously that the cover picture is upside down. After two, almost three years, reading this book and finally posting my review is long overdue!
Donna Parisi is finishing up her senior year in high school, graduating and soon starting her new life in at a local college. The same college her brother is graduating from this spring, the same college her friends are attending, and the same college her mom is pushing her to go to. But things aren't that easy, Donna is still dealing with the loss of her father, who passed nearly four years ago, and is living days in a robotic fashion. Going to school, going to church, and focusing on a college, that she isn't sure she wants to go to. Donna's life doesn't seem to have much meaning or much purpose anymore, and days are starting to blend.
Putting Makeup On Dead People, starts in a way not very many books I've read, start; at a funeral. But while everyone around is crying for the loss of their fellow student, Donna is more interested than anything else. She observes the room they're in, the casket sitting in front, and what the girl inside of the casket is wearing. After the funeral Donna comes back to the Brighton Bothers Funeral Home curiously. She knows its weird to be interested in dead people, and its not something her friends or girls of her age are thinking about, but still she can't resist.
Donna is given a flyer and application form for a mortuary school by one of the Brighton Brothers, as well as few lessons if she was interested. Going against all of her mother's wishes, Donna fills out the form, and accepts Mr. Brighton's job offering.
With her new interest, her new job and even her first love, Donna's life seems to have a sense of direction and purpose, that it hasn't had since her father had past years ago. She knows what she wants in life, and she's done doing what everyone else wants or expects her to. It's her life, and Donna is taking charge.
This title, the cover, and the synopsis are so bizarre, that its hard not to want to pick up this book. While I would never be able to work at a funeral home, and handling dead bodies, it was a topic that I've read about before, but really enjoyed. 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. I feel that the way Violi wrote the book, was focusing more on the lighter and brighter side of things. So if you're worried that this book is too upsetting, I promise you that its not!
Overall, I really enjoyed Putting Makeup On Dead People and regret not reading it earlier! Many books may sucker you in with their beautiful and intriguing covers, but only a few can back it up with the story inside. Putting Makeup On Dead People is one of those books!