Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Putting Makeup on Dead People

Putting Makeup on Dead People - Jen Violi Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. I received my copy from the publishers via NetGalley.(I am so proud of myself, guys. You can't even know. This is the shortest, most concise review I've written until now!)Four years after Donna's beloved father died, she's almost a ghost, just floating along in life and letting her future be picked out by other people. Then she attends a funeral for a classmate and it suddenly clicks: She wants to work with dead people for a living. With the encouragement of a vibrant new friend named Liz, Donna decides to become a mortician so she can prepare dead bodies for their funerals. While finding new life in dealing with death, Donna must deal with the troubled relationship that has developed between her and her mother and choose between the cute college boy Tim or environment-loving classmate Charlie.To start with, I loved Donna's narrative voice and the general style in which the book was written. Writing about the aftermath of a loved one's death if a difficult feat because it can so easily turn into a pit of angst that no reader wants to touch. Putting Makeup on Dead People avoided this pit and managed to inject a little humor into the situation per Donna's inner thoughts. Of all the books about loved ones dying, I don't think I've ever seen one where the main character decides to work in a mortuary. Points are most certainly given for coming up with an original idea out of one of the most well-tread plot lines around.Putting Makeup's deathly slow pacing needs tightening, especially because the novel is character-driven instead of plot-driven. For such a large cast of characters, only Donna and her mother are characters with depth and more to them than just a recognizable trait or two, but these two characters and their troubled relationship creates one of the novel's strong points wen dwelt on as much as it is. An important part of the "loved one dies" plot line is to show how the death affects many of the characters and off the facets of even minor characters that way, and this is something Putting Makeup couldn't do. All these flaws togther kept me from being emotionally invested in Donna's story.This book really should have two stars. I have a rule than any book that can't make me care is automatically three stars and with all the book's flaws in mind, that would knock off another star. However, the improvement of the novel towards the end--and I mean by the end, as in the last thirty pages--will make me feel bad if I give this book two stars. Despite the rating I gave it, this actually isn't a bad book. It's mostly due to my golden rule my rating is this low. Give it a try if it catches your eye and you might find that you can invest yourself in it the way I couldn't.