Review of “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper

This is where i leave youI bought “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper for three reasons:

  1. I had $4 left on a gift card to Books-a-Million and the book had an attractive $3 sale sticker on the cover.
  2. I liked the aforementioned cover
  3. That aforementioned cover said New York Times Bestseller on it.

Reading the book a few weeks later I find that it’s about a dysfunctional family — my favorite. Judd Foxman’s dad has just lost his battle with cancer, which bring his family together for the first time in years. And when I say “together,” I mean in vicinity (definitely not emotionally).

All of their lives are a mess. Judd has just found out his wife has been sleeping with his boss for over a year, and to make things worse, is pregnant. Judd’s older sister Wendy is in over her head with an imperfect marriage and three kids. His older brother Paul and his wife Alice are struggling to conceive. The baby of the family, Phillip, shows up for once without a police escort but with a middle-aged woman on his arm. Bring all of these people together under one roof to sit shiva for seven days and watch the fists fly.

I am not disappointed in my blind purchase of this book. It is riotously funny and simultaneously heartbreaking. Tropper’s portrayal of all the characters seen through Judd’s eyes seem genuine, almost as if it is a memoir (let’s hope not though). The one thing I liked the most was how Tropper showed Judd’s thought process in its most crude form; he didn’t simply say he wanted bad things to happen to his old boss for sleeping with his wife, but went into detail about how the paramedics would have to scrape his body off the pavement. It was entertaining enough even when some things seemed too displaced with reality or too cliché.

Several times throughout the novel I couldn’t help but thinking how easily it could be a movie. It turns out I wasn’t far off with this thought. Filming on the film will begin this summer, with Tina Fey (Admission), Jason Bateman (Identity Thief) and Corey Stoll (House of Cards) starring. Any book lover cringes as news of movie adaptations roll around, but I have faith in this one simply because Tropper adapted the screenplay for the movie himself. Find out more here.

Before you pick this up yourself, beware that if you’re faint of heart or can’t watch the typically HBO or Showtime program, this is not the book for you as it is laced chock full of detailed depictions of Judd’s awkward sexual encounters (about 10 pages of when he walked in on his wife and boss in his bedroom to name one).

This Is Where I Leave You

-K

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