Judd Foxman has not had a good year. Shortly after catching his wife in bed with his boss (a Howard Stern-like DJ whom he works for as a producer), he learns that his father has died. Not only must Judd attend the funeral, he then has to honor his dad's dying request sitting shiva for seven days with the rest of his eccentric family, including his sex therapist mom, older brother Paul (who's married to Judd's high school sweetheart), sister Wendy, and youngest brother Phillip, who leads a carefree life of hedonism. While a few of the storylines ring cliché (namely catching your wife with your boss), this book is anything but. The dialogue between the family members is realistic, witty, and caustic. And just when you're hysterically laughing at a scene, the next one sucker punches you with the vulnerability and authenticity of Judd's emotions.
Narrator Ramon de Ocampo delivers the right tone for this novel written from Foxman's point of view dry and defeated but the nasal quality of his voice is sometimes distracting and can even border on effeminate. Besides that, his pace is perfect, as well as his voice changes for the dialogue of different characters he really shines as Judd's mother and some of the older Jewish men that drop by to pay their respects.
While This Is Where I Leave You is very funny, the truly laugh-out-loud scenes are few and far between, with the heart of the book being the very real, and very emotional trials of Judd Foxman and the relatable love/hate relationship he shares with his family members. Colleen Oakley
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.
©2009 Jonathan Tropper; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"The affectionate, warts-and-all portrayal of the Foxmans will have fans wishing for a sequel (and clamoring for all things Tropper)." (Amazon.com review)
"Tropper strikes an excellent balance between the family history and its present-day fallout, proving his ability to create touchingly human characters and a deliciously page-turning story." (Publishers Weekly)
I thought it was very funny in the beginning, but the negative current never lets up or changes. It was a fine audio- reader does a fine job. I thought the story could have been better.
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.
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