a lovingly worn in second-hand copy with my “family is love” mug, on a stepping stone (get it?)
This is Where I Leave You is the story of Judd Foxman’s life pretty much falling apart. He catches his wife (the love of his life) cheating on him with his boss, he loses his job, and his father whom he hadn’t been close with since he was a child passes away. He returns home for the funeral and to sit shiva for seven days with his family – who all have their own trials and tribulations to compete for the “crappiest life” title. The dysfunctional bunch try to grieve the father they used to know, and the past and present collide in sometimes touching and sometimes disastrous ways. It sounds depressing, but Tropper infuses so much humor and raw emotional truth in every situation, you’ll be rooting for him (and most everyone else) despite their flaws.
A movie from the book is coming out on September 19 starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Jane Fonda (casting perfection!)
The good stuff:
- It is so, so funny. Judd’s uncensored, sarcastic thoughts and perception hooked me in immediately.
- It has an enormous heart. In between awkward, embarrassing moments when I thought “why did he do that? why did he say that?”, bits of love show through, and I couldn’t help but hope in the end it would win.
- It is truth. The stupid things we do as humans, the misguided ways we try to show our love that come out all wrong, the way we cling to the wrong people at times when we can’t take our lives and need an escape, the way we love who we love, the stuff that happens out of our control that we’re forced to face – and not always gracefully.
The not so good stuff:
- While I loved the finite time period this story covered (literally, seven days), looking back on all that happened both externally and internally to these characters, it’s a bit hard to believe it was that short of time.
- I wanted to root for Judd’s ex, I really did, but she didn’t convince me she was worth rooting for. His love for her appeared shallow and by habit for the most part.
Mrs. Foxman: I could read a whole novel about Judd’s mom – I found her promiscuous look, brazenness, and parenting guru title fascinating!
“Childhood feels so permanent, like it’s the entire world, and then one day it’s over and you’re shoveling wet dirt onto your father’s coffin, stunned at the impermanence of everything.”
“…their french manicured nails catching the light and slicing the air like razor blades.”
“For a moment, a feeling circles me, something approaching clarity, maybe even acceptance, but it fails to settle and ultimately dissipates.”
“I am still perfecting the art of hating her, and until I’ve got it down, I don’t feel ready to engage.”
“Her eyes were an incandescent green; I suspected tinted lenses, but I wanted to write a song abut them right there anyway.”
So how many mugs do I give it?
My favorite read of the year so far!!
Coffee consumed while reading this book: Butterscotch with Vanilla creamer in my personalized “Family is Love” Mug.