- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Dutton; Reprint edition (July 6, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452296366
- ISBN-13: 978-0452296367
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,447 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel Paperback – July 6, 2010
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Praise for This Is Where I Leave You
“In a wry domestic tone nicely akin to Tom Perotta’s, Mr. Tropper...introduces a darkly entertaining bunch of dysfunctional relatives....This author’s strong suit is wisecracks, the more irreverent the better.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Hilarious and often heartbreaking...a novel that charms by allowing for messes, loose ends and the reality that there's only one sure ending for everyone.”—The Los Angeles Times
“[A] magnificently funny family saga....Read and weep with laughter. Grade: A”—Entertainment Weekly
“The novel is artful and brilliant, filled with colorful narratives and witty dialogue....[Tropper] can find the funny in any situation.”—Associated Press
“Tender and unexpectedly hilarious.”—People.com
About the Author
Jonathan Tropper is the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Thing Before I Go, How to Talk to a Widower, Everything Changes, The Book of Joe, and Plan B. He lives with his family in Westchester, New York, where he teaches writing at Manhattanville College. He adapted This Is Where I Leave You as a feature film for Warner Brothers Studios was a screenwriter, co-creator, and executive producer of the HBO/Cinemax television show Banshee (produced by Alan Ball).
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Never mind it lost touch with reality around the second time this supposed slovenly loser got laid. Never mind the whole male-rape scene was smarmy and sad. It just didn't deliver as far as exposing the complicated emotions that exist in every family. the potential was there, but it went from clever to ridiculous. There aren't many families where grown men get together and end up beating up each other, and various other characters. It felt like reality TV.
And the women . . . there wasn't one missed stereotype, I have to give Tropper credit. You have the bitch, the whore, the crazy hormonal housewife, even the lesbians. Oh, and the sad, lonely single woman. There wasn't one woman character that you could stand. This was a misogynistic mess.
I struggled to finish it. The only positive thing I can say is that it didn't wrap things up neatly with a bow. Thanks, Tropper.
In this case a family comes home for their Dad’s funeral. Judd is the narrator, which immediately makes this novel unique. Rarely do we learn about these complicated family moments from a male voice. Judd recently made a discovery that his wife was sleeping with his boss, so he is clearly not in a very good mood.
Mom tells these sibs that it was their father’s last wish that they all sit shiva for 7 days and also participate in saying Kaddish at a temple service. Along with Judd, we get sister, Wendy, her husband Barry and their 3 children (Ryan, Cole, Serena), brother Paul with wife Alice, and brother Phillip and his new fiancé Tracy.
As these guys sit for 7 days in low, low shiva chairs facing daily influxes of mourners, an awful lot happens to and among these siblings (and sometimes in front of mourners). I love that aspect of this novel. It is very real and recognizable.
I have more trouble with the ways that Judd talks about women as he suddenly imagines that he is a free male once again. If even a seemingly good guy sees women like this we might be in trouble, although Judd knows not to act on his fantasies. Perhaps this is just what comes with a male narrator. When Judd’s soon-to-be ex-wife shows up at shiva one day to tell Judd that she is pregnant (which he already knew) and that the baby is his (which he did not know) Judd shares with us the difficulties he has processing this.
This is a fast read and it was appealing enough to keep me reading. I guess I am trying to figure out what the movie is like given all the hormonally and emotionally-charged sexual events going on behind the scenes as this family sits shiva. The juxtaposition of these two unlikely topics does provide some fun moments – in often weird ways – and occasional moments that are much more touching. What will Judd do? I don’t dare tell you.
But the author wants to mock pop psychology and still invokes bromides like letting go of your grief and moving past your anger. Worse, he seems to not realize that some things really are unforgivable, no matter how besotted you are.
So, I wouldn’t go with saying that there is a gripping plot here, but then, one might find ones own life reflected in some manner. It would help to introspect without having to go through a similar tragedy. Johnathan has managed a good blend of humor in tragedy, one might actually wonder whether the characters are actually enjoying the tragedy!!
Personally speaking, I prefer stories with a definite ending (something I still hold against “Gone with the wind”). Life itself is so indeterminate, why read a book which is quite the same. But then, that is totally my view, am sure there would be many who would prefer a lego approach – make the story end the way your internal demons want.