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.
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.
70 of 75 people found this review helpful
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.
34 of 36 people found this review helpful
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!
39 of 43 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
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!
Would you recommend This Is Where I Leave You to your friends? Why or why not?
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.
What does Ramon de Ocampo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
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.
Was This Is Where I Leave You worth the listening time?
Any additional comments?
I'm just glad it was on sale: I didn't waste a credit on it, and only a small amount of money!
37 of 41 people found this review helpful
I don't usually read "guy lit", but this book got some great reviews. I knew a movie was coming out this fall and the previews made me curious about the book. I am very glad I read it. Although the premise was a little unbelievable and none of the characters seemed to question their mother about it, the author took a unique event and made it into a homecoming, a reunion and a healing for a family that was splintered and falling apart. There are lots of stories centered around families coming together for a funeral. But the type of funeral involved in this book allowed the author to spread the angst, humor, misunderstanding and forgiveness over several days.
I thought the ending was appropriate, although probably not the ending a woman author would have chosen. And I thought most of the main characters were portrayed sympathetically. I wish the author had spent a little more time on some of the secondary characters though.
Tropper's writing style is quick, to the point and not overly wordy. I really appreciated that. The narration was excellent. I will look for more books read by de Ocampo and I will read Tropper's other books as well. I really recommend this one.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful
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.
51 of 59 people found this review helpful
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.
26 of 30 people found this review helpful
I’d heard this described as “dicklit” so I wanted to try it after reading a number of “chicklit” books to compare. It is horrendous, a poor man’s John Irving, with every person and scene exaggerated to the point of absurdity. A two-year-old doesn’t just disrupt a dinner party by carrying his kiddie potty into the room, he has to throw it so the turd lands on the table beside his father’s plate like a side dish. A two-year-old could do this? Really? Or the main character doesn’t just walk in on his wife having sex with another man, she has to be engaged in a sex act they have never done — and it turns out to be with his boss, and he shoves a chocolate birthday cake up the guy’s butt. But is this enough? No. The candles on the cake have to set fire to some sort of sexual enhancement cream the guy has on his testicles. And it’s like this over and over. It’s exhausting. Every character is a jerk, and they are constantly fighting or insulting each other. Admittedly, some of it’s funny, but jesus… If this is a highlight of “dicklit,” count me out. Grade: C
Excellent narration, though.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I try to find something about a main character to admire or empasize with. But, in this story, I felt nothing but disgust and loathing for him. Having walked in on his wife in their marital bed, vigourously engaged in the arms of his boss, naturally was devastating. But, farther into the story, I began to feel empathy for the wife. The main character was so busy describing how perfecect he thought his relationship was with his wife, it became clear that he hadn't a clue as to if she was just as pleased with their relationship. She married into an extremely dysfunctional family, who each were content to distance themselves from each other for various reasons. With the death of their father, each of the syblings, grudgingly agreed to participate in a seven-day ceremony which forced them to be together. The author went out of his way, in my opinion, to shock the readers by describing the most intimate and sometimes, disgusting sexual topics in every paragraph. Nevertheless, I didn't give up on the story. And, as I suspected, even at the end, I was blessed with yet, another shocker.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful
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.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful