Review: Putting Makeup on Dead People
Jen Violi’s Putting Makeup on Dead People immediately comes across as both a bit morbid and witty, and it delivers on that promise all the way through. I loved this book more than I ever would have expected; it’s the kind of book I want to buy just so that I can pass it around to everyone I know.
As a child, Donna lost her father. Her memories of his death and the funeral home are vivid. While Donna struggles with her feelings about death and surviving in the wake of death, she also remembers the kind of comfort that can be provided to the family afterward. Following the death of a classmate, Donna returns to the funeral home, where she discovers that unlike everyone else she is not creeped out by the body, but intrigued by the process of getting someone ready for their final resting place.
Donna decides to attend mortuary school and get an internship at the local funeral home, but her decision is not met with acceptance or praise from her family members. They worry that she is so stuck on death that she’ll never truly live, but for Donna it seems that the life she wants is just getting started.
Putting Makeup on Dead People is a book that celebrates differences and taking a different, non-traditional (and even less socially acceptable) path in life. This is a wonderful book for anyone struggling with planning the future, dealing with family pressures, and finding your way after graduating from high school. I can’t offer enough praise for Violi’s debut; it’s a charming first book that may be off-putting to some but will hopefully find a home in the hands of those who need all it has to offer.