Title: This is Where I Leave You
Author: Jonathan Tropper
On the Shelves: Fiction> Contemporary
The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.
Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.
As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.
This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper’s most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not (Goodreads 2014)
Thanks Orion Publishing Group and Netgalley for allowing me access to this book, in exchange for a free review.
This is Where I Leave You is a contemporary fiction where we witness the events of a single week through the eyes of a somewhat dysfunctional family brought back together by the death of their father, who are forced to sit through Shiva for seven days in honour of their father.
Because of the subject matter of this story, I was immediately reminded of the film Elizabethtown, which is a film where I liked the soundtrack more than the actual story or characters within the movie. However, this book is one that I enjoyed from start to end, for pretty much every aspect. My favourite thing about This is Where I Leave You was the humour. A lot of people will have commented on this, but it is definitely what makes this story so enjoyable. The humour is very much dark or “black” humour, which just happens to fit my own sense of humour. Tropper created such a intricate and diverse family home throughout this story, full of problems, both past and future and full of characters- each interesting in their own way. Throughout this book we see the family grow and adjust to massive changes, while learning to accept that unfortunately, there isn’t much in life you can change, and nothing really ever ends “happily ever after”.
This book has recently been turned into a film, which is coming out this year, and I’d like to take a minute to talk about that briefly: one thing that has irked me is that they seem to have erased the religious element from the movie. There is no mention of their dad’s request for them to sit Shiva, just that their dad wanted them to spend one week in the same house together again- I can’t help but feel it just takes something away from the family’s character and history to just delete their religious background (or lack thereof, in this case).
Back to the book, however, there is also a lot of sexual content in this book, from mentions of it to comparisons, to graphic scenes- which again is fine because it is an “Adult” book but yeah, just warning for those who do not enjoy reading that type of material.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary works of fiction.