I don't want to read the bestsellers. I want to read the best written.
There was so much to like about this book. The main character is Judd, returning to his family home after his father's death. In the house where he grew up, his mother, sister, two brothers, and various extended family members and friends gather to observe shiva, the traditional Jewish period of mourning, his father's final wish. So the widow and her four adult children are restricted to the house for seven days. Judd comes already nursing wounds as his marriage falls apart. He arrives ready to face the overt conflicts and the hidden resentments of a very dysfunctional family.
What I liked about the book was the detailed and wry observations Judd makes as he recounts the seven days that make up the entire course of the novel. He is wrestling with himself, trying to understand his new life after separating from his wife of ten years as he comes to terms with the loss of his father. The coincidence of these two life-altering events means Judd must redefine himself as a man.
I have to say that Ramon De Ocampo brought a great deal of skill to his narration. It seems to start out as rather flat but I realized he was giving voice to Judd's tamped down feelings. As times moves on, Judd relaxes a little as does De Ocampo's performance and he voices perfectly Judd's self-appointed role as observer and commentator on what happens around him. Judd's deadpan style is perfectly portrayed by De Ocampo.
There are two things I don't care for in this book. First, I think the women are rather weakly drawn. Not that they don't have their fair share of shock and awe, as when his mother, a famous parenting authority, voices her opinion about sex, marriage, children and almost anything else that pops into her mind. But I don't get much depth there. His sister is almost nonexistent. His soon-to-be ex-wife is little more than the object of his angst and his hometown girlfriend, revisted for some rebound sex, is only quickly sketched in.
The second thing is the use of shiva without much acknowledgement of the role of faith in mourning. Judaism here is little more than a lox-and-bagel identification even when a rabbi is a close friend to Judd and his brothers. At best, shiva is a mechanism by which Tropper works out Judd's self-examination. Even the rabbi's explanation of shiva is brief, sterile, and lacking in warmth or consolation. Without that, it isn't recognizable as any shiva I have experienced.
Despite that, it was a good read. I just can't count it as much more than that.
luv 2 read
yes, very good story line. Funny when you don't expect it, considering the family's circumstances
too many questions in your survey
Former English major who loves to read.
This novel about a familiar and complicated family grabbed me quickly and held my attention throughout. I should probably let this sit a bit before writing this as I just finished the book but the end was a bit too open ended for me. Yes life is filled with options but which feels right for you? Oh Judd. Definitely a fan of Tropper's now.
I wasn't prepared for the language or sexual description, but fairly new to audible books. The further I listened I actually started enjoying how he had a quite a sense of humor in those descriptions.