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 gleefully scarfed up this book, thinking it would consist of hilarious tales of dysfunction, as a family sits "shiva", the traditional Jewish mourning period lasting seven days after a loved one's death.
True, it is a hilarious read, but it begins and ends with humor, contains all those witty and fey escapades that characterize this genre, and somewhat loosely follows the author's attempts at trying to get a life. But I was expecting so much more, like Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections" - more depth of character, more maladaptive attitudes and behaviors creating untenable situations, as the characters attempt to gracelessly play the hands they were dealt.
I agree with the reviewer in staying away from "witty" books, as most of them tend toward the shallow and consist of nothing more than a random series of parties, gossip, trendy music and fashion and especially the rogue random relationship. What do these people do when they are not partying or talking about partying? This author has a lot more going on than the usual "party boy" book, and I found myself wanting to write down a lot of the one-liners, to borrow and save for later use.
I'll still give this one a 4 though, as I caught myself laughing out loud several times, and the narrator seemed to strike the perfect balance between too much drama and too little expression. I realize how difficult the narrator's job can be, and it's difficult to please everyone - it's a fine line that must be traversed. An example comes to mind - "Comfort Food" by Kate Jacobs, whose book when self-read (now that's an odd expression) feels very warm, touchy-feely and, in typical Kate Jacobs tradition, as nurturing as its title. But Barbrara Rosenblat gave it a read that was full of irony, sarcasm and biting wit. Who knew the reader had such power?
So, back to "This Is Where I Leave You", which I will leave with an all thumbs up!
Funny. Irreverent. A blast to listen to. The main character is full of surprises, high praise because so many heroes/heroines are predictable. Really a great book about everything from infidelity to crazy families (like most families) to parental loss and grief. So true to life, if life were narrated by a very funny yet plaintive guy who thinks and does some outrageous things, like shoving a birthday cake with candles...well, read it and find out.
My boyfriend and I listened to this on a road trip last week. We both thoroughly enjoyed the book. The crude humor was perfect for the two of us and we each laughed out loud more times I could count. However, I would not recommend this book to my mother, way to much real life for her or any one who is a conservative listener. So know yourself and what to expect. If you know ahead of time that the book has incredibly graphic sex scenes, mild drug use, homosexuality, etc., and you are okay with these topics then you will enjoy it. If any of those things bother you, then I would recommend staying away because you will be offended.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Sarcastic humor pervades this and all Jonathan Tropper novels. Judd's having a bit of a rough patch. His wife is having an affair (no spoiler, happens in first chapter), his father's passed, and he has to spend 7 days sitting "Shiva" with his dysfunctional family. Navigating current affairs and reliving past issues, Judd shares observations in raw, candid speech about sex and his future.
The characters and situations are comical, but lacking development. A funny anecdote is not supported by bridging one scenario to another. Good idea, laughed several times. Bought this from a $4.95 sale and enjoyed for an easy amusing listen. Had I paid full price or a credit, would have been a little miffed.
This family is real and so screwed up. I enjoyed myself while I got lost in the characters. Yes, you can see so much coming in the plot but a lot will be surprised too. Give this book a spin and you too will be glad you don't have to sit shiva.
Ah, And I thought nothing could outdo my family on Christmas! This story about a family coming together after the father's death provided characters and a tablou that continually made me smile in my head. I do not usually like books that are described as witty, but the characters, dialogue between them, and the unfolding of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed.
Reading the intro to this book I thought it would be about sibling and family dynamics on the death of their father. While that was partly the case, the gist of the story was the immature and shallow sex life of one character with wandering references to the sex life of the others. Yes, there were funny parts, and yes, there were some profoundly sad parts. But overall, if I wanted to know about the misdirected libido of someone who refuses to grow up, I would look for books of that genre.
I chose this title because one reviewer suggested it was much like David Sedaris whose writing I can't get enough of. The narrator read it like David Sedaris, but there was little humour in this book. It was very bitter and very sexual (nobody's sexuality goes unexplored, and he gives a very VERY vivid account of catching his wife in bed with his boss - in the book it must go on for pages! there's more than one repetition of how deep up his boss' a** his wife's knuckles are. oi vey! my daughter sometimes listens to my audiobooks, these should come with a bit of a warning!)
en tous cas... this was not worth the credit I wasted on it. It was not even remotely funny. Just sad.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
The Foxmans are a quintessential dysfunctional family, sans their recently departed husband/father. . . . five kids and their mom sit shiva and the dysfunction reigns supreme. Funny throughout, filled with coarse language and crude moments -- but somehow, quite believable. This is a family many can relate to; especially their varied states of discord and lack of emotional intelligence. Judd, a man reeling from infidelity, narrates the story and offers hilarious "mind thinks" about every situation.
This one is likely not for everyone, because it has graphic sexual descriptions and a plethora of hard core four letter words. But it rings true, terribly, terribly true and for that reason is a good read.
I finished listening to this book a week ago and it is still on my mind. The story is terrific and would be a good read, but then you would miss the superb narration by Ramon de Ocampo who really brings the Foxman family to life. A definite 5 star listen.
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