Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: "This Is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper

This Is Where I Leave You Jonathan Tropper
Published: August 6, 2009
ISBN: 9780525951278
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Library
Not Recommended

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.

My Thoughts:
I wanted to like this book, I really did!  This title has been on my radar for some time and, since the movie version will be out soon , I thought I'd better put it at the top of my TBR list.

The good part of it, for me, was that I think the overarching story--a family coming together to sit Shiva for their faither--could make a good movie.  However, I think that a number of, ahem, liberties would have to be made for that to happen.  Frankly, the book just didn't live up to the promise.

I think it was from James Joyce's Ulysses where the idea that a man thinks about sex once every 11 seconds  comes.  Idon't know if that is true, but I think Tropper is trying to prove that in this book.  Everything thought from Judd, the main character, seems to be about sex.  The characters seem to talk only about sex.  It's all just sex--and not really "mature" sex.  Instead, it seems more like teenaged boy sex--which would be fine if this book were about a teenaged boy.  But it's not.  It's about adults--although I guess an argument can be made that these characters are teenagers stuck in adults' bodies.

I also was never really sure what this book was about.  Is it about Judd and his family?  Judd and his unfaithful wife?  Judd and the girl who got away?  This book was going so many directions at once that I always felt unmoored in it.

Tropper is a readable writer and there were some funny (in a potty-humor sort of way) parts in this book.  But, ultimately, it was disappointment.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

This Is Where I Leave You
by Jonathan Tropper

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