Review: This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Orion (August 6, 2009)
How I got this book: Borrowed (thanks, Stephanie!)
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

My rating: 5/5 Stars – Loved it! It totally rocked my socks off.

Review:

This Is Where I Leave You is a heartbreaking, yet hilarious novel.  I’m not usually into family sagas, but I was immediately drawn into these characters’ lives and Judd’s frank, irreverent narration.  This book isn’t just about family, but also love, marriage, grief, loss of innocence, and how our lives can take dramatic turns – oh, and sex.  Judd ruminates on sex a lot.  Even so, the story is poignant, insightful, and even made me cry.  It’s cleverly written and well paced, and the dialogue is superb and often laughter inducing.

To me, this book perfectly captures the mixed emotions that come along with relationships, the struggle to understand your own behavior and control your own feelings, the disappointment of not being the person you want to be, and the pain of losing someone you love.  Even if certain parts seem contrived or the characters aren’t always 100% realistic, the story rings true and definitely sparks genuine emotion.  It illustrates important truths about life, and moved me in such a way that it felt real.

Ultimately, This Is Where I Leave You inspires me to pay more attention to the people I care about and to learn to be a better communicator.  The ending is wonderfully crafted and gives me hope that no matter how screwed up life gets, people can change and make something that works out of the mess.

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About Lesley

I love big dogs, ravioli, and all things nerdy. Books are my crack.
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