Book Review: This Is Where I Leave You

You've seen this right?

Because I don't really know how to better describe what has happened to me since finishing the book I am about to review for you. I've been through 3 Kindle samples and even tried to pick up another book I had left unfinished, but to no avail. 

That's the great thing about reviews, I guess. I get to talk about the book that I'm still obsessing about after it's over! 

My Review for 
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Trooper

From Goodreads: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

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 week-long 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....

Where do I start? First, I have to tell you that this book, although the stories are based on serious life-changing situations (marriages, death, family, secrets), is endearingly funny. You know when someone is telling you a story and taking it very serious but you can't help but laugh at the insanity of the situation? You laugh and then they pause and awkward silence follows as they hate your insensitivity- that's what this is like. I couldn't help but laugh. 

One thing I have noticed after reviewing books for 2 years is that when I am reviewing a book I really really love, I am always talking about the amazing character development. 

The characters in This Is How I Leave You are the perfect combination of lovable and loathsome. The perfect literary characters are those you love you so much that even when they do terrible things or think unforgivable things, you still root for them until last page.  

Judd Foxman is navigating uncertain waters. His father has died, his wife has cheated on his with his boss, and he suddenly finds himself forced to spend 7 days with his brothers and sister, who are on such different planets, it's hard to imagine them growing up together under the same roof.

The story line moves quickly and introduces you to the line of hilariously corrupt family members, Judd's mother, a fake breasted, overly sexual woman who strangely is a famous parenting expert and  author and his lovable brothers and sister. They are all so different, it was like reading 4 stories in one when you learn about their lives. 

The main question in the book is this: How does a family that is so unrelated  find a strong common ground to stand on again in the midst of loss? It turns out that...they can. Even though a shitstorm of outlying circumstances tornadoes around them: affairs, infertility, the disappointment of promising futures gone wrong, boredom...  even with all of these sad stories swirling around them, the Foxman family still manages to be quirky, funny, honest and optimistic.

Judd tells the story in a painfully honest and frank tone. You find out what happened years ago that built a cement solid wedge between him and his older brother, you fall in love with his screw up of a little brother, Phillip, and you root obsessively for his sister, Wendy, who's witty remarks and oblivious business-obsessed husband make her the stand out favorite character. Judd's character does an amazing job of being observant of every one around him, telling stories of the past that make the present make more sense and being painfully honest about what's going on in his mind after finding out his wife is leaving him for his boss. (plus there's more to his story but I don't want to give away too much) 

See what I mean? There's not a boring moment to be seen. The whole book is like an episode of Brothers & Sisters, except the cast members are all of the best SNL actors. 

One of my favorite lines of the book: 

I always read my reviews over before hitting publish and realize that I have just rambled on and don't really tell you what the story is reallllly about. But that's hard to do because there is so much to this book and I don't want to ruin it for you. What you CAN do is read it for yourself. And because it doesn't give away any spoilers, I'll show you the trailer for the movie version that is coming out in September, starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda. (but if you're like me, you still won't watch it until after you've read the book because you don't want to ruin your own imagination's interpretation of the characters). 

Here's my recommendation: Read it to feel the emotions of others. Read it to feel empathy. Read it because stories like this always make you feel a little more normal and nostalgic about your own family. Read it it to feel hopeful, to laugh and to be reminded why we love the unlovable people in our lives... 

Happy reading friends. If you pick up this book, I promise you won't be disappointed. Let me what you think of it! 

Happy Reading!