44. This Is Where I Leave You

Book Reviews / Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Ah  family!  You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them, even though some of us would sure like to try.  Since the holiday season is here and family will most likely be a big part of the festivities, you should all take a look at This Is Where I Leave You.  This will definitely bring things into perspective.  Who knows?  You might even wind up thinking your family isn’t so bad after all.

Judd Foxman on the other hand has just found out his wife has been cheating on him with his boss the “radio-shock-jock” and everybody knows about it.  Judd’s father has died and he has to be reunited with his mother and siblings to observe shiva for seven days under the same roof.  That’s going to be a feat in itself for a non-practicing Jewish family.  Not to mention, they haven’t seen each other in a very long time, so Judd anxiously anticipates the friction to come.

This Is Where I Leave You is a really good read about a dysfunctional family.  You’re probably thinking I’m on some kind of a kick at the moment since my last post was on a book with the same theme.  Trust me.  This one is a lot better.  Have you ever wondered at times what your husband, boyfriend, or any other male in your life was thinking?  Reading This is Where I Leave You should give you a pretty good idea.  Judd Foxman is a very likeable character despite all of his flaws and his lack of decision-making and backbone.  He is genuinely nice and is simultaneously mourning his father’s death and his failed marriage .  The story takes a profound look at  the relationships between siblings and the ones between parents and their children through some humoristic and sad situations.  A look at the past also helps to develop the theme of what parenting was for Judd’s parents as opposed to what is present day parenting for Wendy, Judd’s sister.  As the children begin recounting stories of their father, Judd contemplates how much he has forgotten and what he remembers of him.  It takes Judd, his mother, and siblings the full seven needed days of shiva, while stirring up old memories, to come to grips with their present situations but most of all their past difficulties.

This is a book for the guys, although the girls should read it to understand men a little better.  The descriptions of women, old girlfriends, incidents with children and friends, tiffs with siblings, spouses, and Mom, but most of all hurt pride and feelings tend to be as bad as physical pain at times.  Jonathan Tropper has written some larger than life descriptive scenes, especially the one mentioned in the clip below.  This scene surprised me too because I had noted that it was a two page description and found that intriguing manly.

Jonathan Tropper has written four other successful books:  Plan B, The Book of Joe, Everything Changes, How to Talk to a Widower, and the most recently published in 2012 called One Last Thing Before I Go.  Some people might make a comparison and say that Jonathan Tropper is the American version of Nick Hornby, but I say he is better.  “Often side-splitting, mostly heartbreaking…(Tropper’s) a more sincere, insightful version of Nick Hornby, that other master of male psyche.” –USA Today was written on the back of This Is Where I Leave You.  Somehow Tropper has a way of making a lot of the characters likeable because of the situations he puts them in, even the ones you dislike.  You can’t help thinking at times I would have done that or said that or at least thought that.  Three of Tropper’s books are being adapted into films, including This is Where I Leave You in the summer of 2013.  He is also working on Banshee a television series being filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is due to premier in 2013.  I gave this book 4 bright stars out of five on Goodreads.  Check out the clip below where Tropper is asked about the famous two page scene.  Happy reading…..

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