Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

In This is Where I Leave You, Judd Foxman's father dies and his mother and siblings gather together. It's been a decade since they've spent time together as a group for any length of time. It should get interesting. If that's not bad enough, Judd has recently discovered that his wife was having an affair with his boss and now she's pregnant. Anyway, his father's dying request was for his family to spend the seven days after his death together, sitting Shiva. As they do, their differences rapidly become apparent, but so do their bonds as a family.

I wasn't familiar with Tropper's work, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. A death, an affair, and an unexpected pregnancy all sound pretty depressing. I certainly wasn't expecting anything to smile or laugh about. So, this book sat on my shelf until I was ready to deal with stuff like that. However, now that I've read it, I wish I had picked it up earlier. It wasn't all that sad. In fact, there were tons of laugh-out-loud moments. Great stuff! Of course, there were also lots of touching and tender moments, too. By the end, I loved it. Really loved it!!

I learned a lot about sitting Shiva and the Judaism, as did the family. Apparently, the father wasn't all that religious, so his final request was quite shocking to everyone. Yet, they did their best to honor it. The whole thing was extremely enlightening. I can't say if it was accurate, but Tropper did a great job of making it entertaining.

There were many great lines in this book. Here are my favourites:
You never know when it will be the last time you'll see your father, or kiss your wife, or play with your little brother, but there's always a last time. If you could remember every last time, you'd never stop grieving. (page 156)
It's a sad moment when you come to understand how truly replaceable you are. (page 215)
The old expression goes, a good speech is like a woman's skirt: short enough to hold your attention, long enough to cover the subject. (page 234)
At some point, being angry is just another habit, like smoking, and you keep poisoning yourself without thinking about it. (page 333-4)
Apparently, this book is being made into a movie, which is scheduled to open in September, 2014. I don't go to a lot of movies, but I'll be seeing this one for sure.

Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit Penguin's name website.

For more information about the author and his other books, please visit Jonathan Tropper's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Penguin for this review copy.

The is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, Dutton (Penguin), ©2009. ISBN 9780525951278 (Advance Uncorrected Proof), 339p.

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