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)
Yes. There are parts of the book that are just better being heard with the inflections and interpretation of the narrator.
The cake scene. I laughed so hard, I nearly had to pull my car over. Trust me, you'll understand when you get to it.
Again, the cake scene. So didn't see it coming and thought it was hysterical. Not sure if the male readers will feel the same...
I was thinking halfway through that this could be a good movie if adapted right. But haven't figured out the right title yet...
It's alternatively funny, touching, sad, and depressing. It runs the gamut of emotions, but overall not as funny as I had expected. Still it was a good time.
I did relate to the dysfunctional family and liked some of the interactions but other interactions and scenarios were just a little too far-fetched. Overall an enjoyable, light read.
And I'm not, so I didn't. I probably should just stay away from books that portray people so much younger than I am! The characters came across as self-involved and shallow, casually adulterous, disrespectful and very poor at parenting (even though the matriarch was a renowned specialist in the parenting field). The description of the story sounded interesting, but there were no characters that I could relate to - or even LIKE!
No. A group of self-absorbed adult children who don't seem to care much for each other spending a week together "mourning" their father, under some duress from their "newly-bisexual" mother just didn't float my boat! I don't think my peers would particularly relate to the story or characters either.
The narration was fine, but not remarkable. The fact that he read it TO me made it possible for me to do something worthwhile as I "read" the book, so it wasn't a total waste of time.
I'm just glad it was on sale: I didn't waste a credit on it, and only a small amount of money!
I've seen other reviewers compare Tropper to Jonathan Franzen. The only similarity I see is that they both write about dysfunctional families. While Tropper is a good writer, the insight that comes through his words is nowhere near that of Franzen.
That said, if you go into this book not looking for Jonathan Franzen Jr., it's a very pleasant listen. The narrative propels forwards at a good clip, mostly thanks to the fact that it takes place in a structured seven-day window. You get to know the characters well, and Tropper finds something redeeming in just about everyone.
If you are the non-Jew in a mixed marriage, this is the book you could write--don't do it. In truth, it takes a Jew to write it, otherwise it could be criticized as anti-Semitic. This is a well written confabulation of the dynamics of not atypical Jewish families (no one family could could contain all the complexities of this one). I have long enjoyed my take on such dynamics being the non-Jew in a 30+ year mixed marriage. This being a book, I feel free to laugh and cry at (and with) the characters portrayed. In real life such responses sometimes come with a price. The match of story and narrator is perfect.
Didn't read the print version, but the writing lends itself enormously well to narration. Has a David Sidarus quality to it.
No, but I would absolutely do so again and again.
This book is so very well written with the voice that matches the entire shiva experience. Witty, surprising and so very well crafted.
I loved this book! It was raunchy, outrageous and oh so funny. I found myself literally laughing out loud when listening to this book. I have never read anything by the author but had heard about this book and was interested in reading about a Jewish family sitting shiva for their father. The characters are well-developed and each are interesting in their own way. While some of the situations they get themselves into seem ludicrous, the author makes it seem like just another day in the life of the family. Maybe it was a cultural resonance that made me like this book so much, so many references I could relate to, but I found this book made me cry and laugh and actually think about some of the issues raised. Quite an accomplishment!
Yes. Great story and great narration.
Extremely funny yet very real and insightful and tender. Each character is deeply flawed but you find yourself rooting for each of them somehow.
Judd but they were all excellent.
Judd... super funny.
Can't imagine anyone not enjoying this book.
I might listen to it again on a road trip. It is very fun and easy to listen to.
This book was just plain entertaining. I listened to it while painting my kitchen, and laughed out loud.
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