05 November 2010
Review of This is Where I Leave You
Author: Jonathan Tropper
This was a recommendation, and I loved it. The whole time I was reading this book, I could see it playing like a movie in my head, and I experienced the characters like they were real people.
To summarize: This book is about a man-Judd Foxman- who has just caught his wife sleeping with his boss, and then his father dies. His sister informs him that his father's dying wish is that his family sit shiva (a seven day period of mourning). So, Judd leaves the wreckage of his failed marriage and returns home to Michigan with his sister, two brothers and his mother. Each of these characters is lively and well-drawn. Some of my favorites: Judd's younger brother Philip is a screw up, who brings along his therapist/life coach/fiance, who is twice his age, and throughout the shiva, continues to hit on old high school flings. There is Horry, the former high school athlete who dated Judd's sister Wendy, who has suffered a brain injury and ended up stuck, living at home with his mother. Then there is the Foxman's mother, a self-help author with fake breasts, a wildly inappropriate wardrobe, and some secrets of her own. And, of course, there is is Wade - Judd's boss, the radio "shock-jock" DJ, who is sleeping with Judd's wife.
I enjoyed spending time with these characters so much, despite their dysfunction, that I didn't want the book to end. Sometimes I read a book and I don't like any of the characters. I read this book, and even though some of the characters had very unlikeable moments, I really liked all of them, and wanted the best for them. I got the feeling they felt the same way about each other.
There were a couple of things that I didn't like about the book: [SPOILER ALERT!!!]
The most prevalent of these things is an instance between Judd and his brother Paul's wife that I found unforgivable (if understandable) that was like an elephant in the room for me for the rest of the book.
I should also say that this book isn't for everyone. It is pretty raunchy and adult, so if that's not your scene, this probably isn't your book.
I would read it again.