91 of 102 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, Yes...But Breakout? No.,
This review is from: This Is Where I Leave You (Hardcover)
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Tropper mines old themes with his new book, This is Where I Leave You. Love relationship with college soul mate? Check. Father whose love is silent and unspoken and strong? Check. Sex with old high school fantasy? Check. Issue with athletic brother and other sibling rivalries? Check. I could go on.
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...
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 24, 2009 11:51:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2009 1:54:11 PM PDT
Julia Flyte says:
You see, I just don't get that line. What does gratuitous honesty mean? It feels like a line written to be witty rather than one written to mean anything. I read one of Tropper's books and I thought it was okay but nothing more. Your review makes me think this one is probably the same (which is helpful to me - I don't mean that in a critical way). Julia
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2009 8:55:02 AM PDT
A Reader says:
Does Penguin employee any real editors? For example, page 40: "The lawn hasn't been watered enough, and it's brown in patches, but the twin dogwoods we used to climb are in full bloom, their crimson leaves fanned out like an awning over the front walk." Dogwoods bloom in the early spring, when lawn grass is still dormant. They never have crimson leaves. They very rarely get big enough for even a very small child to climb without breaking off the branches. This is not an isolated example. Many strange contradictory images that seem only sloppy writting, not contrived for effect.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2010 10:29:36 PM PST
Bonnie Brody says:
Diane, Though I gave this book five stars, I really appreciate your review and comments. It helps me see through some of the other stuff that my laughter perhaps obscured. Bonnie
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2010 11:37:15 AM PDT
Carol R. Lauer says:
We have two Kousa dogwoods on our property which are about 30 feet tall. They ARE big and strong enough for climbing and they DO have crimson leaves in the fall!!
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2012 11:12:16 AM PDT
@Areader: It's a good idea to check facts first: http://agproducts.rutgers.edu/dogwood/var
In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2013 3:10:25 PM PDT
Eileen Nulty says:
Where do YOU live! It is May 2 and the dogwoods in Pennsylvania are in full bloom some over two stories high. We have had our green, green grass mowed twice already!
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2014 8:38:45 AM PST
She may live in the south. Our (Atlanta) dogwoods are much smaller and never have crimson leaves.
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