Title: This is Where I Leave You
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Type: Stand Alone
Page Count: 338
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: August 2009
The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva-and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. Then Jen delivers the clincher: she’s pregnant. (Source)
This is the third book that I’ve read as part of the Main Library Book Club. It is another one that I wouldn’t pick up on my own, but I’m finding that, that is with most book club books. I have very specific and narrow tastes, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate other literature. I’m branching out.
I find it funny that all of the books (to date) from this book club feature a parent or parental figure who has ruined the child in their lives in some way. This is the second book that has a parent who has a degree in psychology. There’s something to be said about parents who can psychoanalyze their children.
I did enjoy this story. I loved the voice of the main character. I found it funny and more profound than I expected. The main character, Judd, goes through a bit of a transformation and was able to break free from the ties that bound him to a life that he was unhappy in. His realization that he was also the cause of the problems in his life was like the icing on the cake.
All of the main and secondary characters had some sort of real change in their lives except for two. And everything was described with such amazing detail. I felt that I was actually seeing the rainy funeral scene and hearing the wet “plop” of the mud hitting the casket.
The family dynamic was interesting. The fact that the children fell in line with traditional birth order behaviors was not lost on me. The youngest seems to always be the most immature and spoiled. The oldest is always the leader and the most bossy. The middle child is always the one that is overrun by the others.
The ending was open-ended which really solidified Judd’s transformation. It left me smiling and I believe that I would have been disappointed if it had ended any other way.
Overall, it was a book that surprised me. It was funny and serious at the same time. It’s main theme was that people change. Life doesn’t always turn out the way that we want it to and that’s okay because you should still make the most of it.
If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think about my review.