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This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel Paperback – July 6, 2010
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Judd Foxman is separated and heading towards divorce, unemployed, and living in a basement apartment, all of which are directly related to the affair his wife Jen is having with Wade, Judd's boss. Then Judd's father dies of cancer, leaving a final request that his entire family sit seven days of Shiva, and Judd and his siblings return to the suburban home where they grew up.
During the seven days of mourning, a variety of family dynamics play out. The relationship between Judd and his brother Paul is dominated by old resentment, and awkwardness with the fact that Paul's wife is one of Judd's past high-school girlfriends. Judd's sister Wendy takes the opportunity of being home to reconnect with her past love, while Phillip, the baby of the family and chronic screw-up, brings home his much older fiancé. Judd's mother Hillary is a psychiatrist who wrote a bestselling book about parenting, and her infamous directness adds more tension and humor.
While grieving for his father, Judd is also immersed in feelings of anger, betrayal, and helplessness brought on by the affair between Jen, his wife, and Wade, his boss. Once Jen tells Judd she is pregnant, Judd refuses to speak with her, leading both Jen and Wade to show up at Judd's childhood home, adding more complications and stress.
It would spoil too much of the story to tell more about any of the funny parts, but there are many throughout the book. Simultaneously, the book is bittersweet as the family mourns the Dad they loved and take small steps to mending their own relationships. This is Where I Leave You is exceptionally well written with great character development and emotion, and is a book that deserves to be read by everyone.
The story begins with the death of Mort Foxman. His death has reunited the Foxman clan for a week of sitting shiva. In the course of battling their own demons, and one another, each family member is called to reflect upon life events that have formed the basis of their lives together and their subsequent identities as individuals. The results are hilarious. I've heard that this book has already been optioned for a movie. With the right casting this story should prove to be an exceptional cinematic experience.
I've been a fan since Plan B. Tropper writes with warmth and insight and great, great humor. Some scenes are hysterically funny. This is Where I Leave You is par for the course. As long as he keeps writing lines like, "Penny's honesty has always been like nudity in an action movie: gratuitous but no less welcome for it" and shows an old friend who has become a rabbi warming up the congregation like he's in a rock venue ("What's up, everyone?" he says. "Good shabbos, Elmsbrook!"), he'll always have a follower in me.
In this variant on a theme, the protagonist, Judd, is sitting shiva for his father with his neurotic, somewhat bizarre family: his strong-willed therapist mother, his older, once star athlete brother, his sexually adventurous sister, and the baby of the family who is the classically spoiled screwup.
Judd has other problems--he's jobless and more-or-less homeless, as his wife has cheated on him with his prior boss.
How Tropper makes his story funny and hopeful is a sight to see. One change in this book is the thick haze of sexual obsession that permeates it. Is that what "breakout novel" means now? If so, you could do worse than read This is Where I Leave You. Three and a half stars...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book!! Laugh-out-loud-funny!!! I even read some of the content out loud to coworkers!!
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie!
I'm not sure why everyone thinks this book is so hilarious. The book has some laugh out loud moments but it's not a comedy. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Leigh Evans
Good read. Funny. Actually laughed out loud a few times. Makes you think about how screwed up is really normal.Published 10 days ago by Brittany
One of the funniest books I read all year; I realized I was laughing out loud several times as I found myself relating to the experience.Published 17 days ago by Dennis Winger
The humor is wonderful. Lots of "f" and "s" words. Could do with less. Also, lots about sex. But - so what!! Guess it is the "times".Published 20 days ago by Donna L. Davidson
Love it. Decided to read the book after watching the movie.Published 20 days ago by Elizabeth Martinez