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!
SO sad this book was over so soon.......LOVED IT !!!!!
My first listen to the author, but he may be moved to my top 5. Sad parts, yes, but I felt guilty laughing at the way he talked about them. And it IS funny, after a while I got over my guilt and laughed all the way along. Felt good actually !!! Nice to know someone else thinks like I do, but he knows how to express it.
VERY entertaining....very poignant, very real, any adult can understand these emotions and must have similar experiences.
How much should I say without spoiling the story for the people reading any review?
Just know it's heartwarming, soul-searching, and entertaining material. So glad I took the chance to listen. I've never heard of this author, or this title, but will be listening to everything else from him that I can get my ears on.
5 ***** + 5*****
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
Mort Foxman’s dying wish is that his 4 children along with his wife sit Shiva for him. Shiva is a process of mourning in Judaism where the immediate family of the deceased sit together for seven days to mourn. None of them including Mort was ever religious, but they could not disobey their atheist father’s dying wish.
Judd, the 2nd youngest son who is separated because his wife is having an affair with his shock-jock boss, narrates the book. All the other spouses are present as well. To say the family is dysfunctional would be an understatement and to expect seven days of Shiva to pass easily would be ridiculous. As a matter of fact, the book takes you on an hour-by-hour journey of the Shiva, through all the visits of well meaning friends and neighbours to the off times when the family is forced to deal with each other. The book is full of comical scenes, an abundance of wisecracks, sex and bar room type brawls which is a little unusual for most Shiva’s. One of my favorite wisecracks was A Porsche is like a model, it looks better than it feels.
Between Mort’s kids, their spouses and children, there are a lot of characters to get to know. Tropper does a great job at developing each unique personality, but it’s when he puts these personalities together in a room for seven days that the humor and action emerges. Even the Rabbi is part of the gang from their childhood, inappropriately named Boner, he fits right in. There is a lot of cutting, witty, real and believable dialogue. It’s like reading a long x-rated Seinfeld episode.
This book had me smiling all the time, sometimes even laughing out loud. An enjoyable read I would recommend to anyone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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