Rebecca's Reviews > This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
5875398
's review

liked it
bookshelves: read-via-netgalley

Update: I hardly ever say this, but watch the movie instead. It’s funnier, less raunchy, and perfectly cast.

“Life is huge, but it can turn on a dime.” This is a dysfunctional family novel with a twist: it’s set over the seven days the four Foxman kids spend sitting shiva for their dead father. They’re secular Jews who attend temple a few times a year, but apparently it was Mort’s last wish. So here they are: narrator Judd, whose wife left him for his boss; oldest brother Paul, who runs the family sporting goods shop; Paul’s wife, Alice, desperate to have a baby; sister Wendy, a bored housewife with a high-flying financier husband and three kids; and youngest sibling Phillip, who dates models but can’t hold down a job. And that’s not to mention their psychologist mother, famous for her childrearing manual and now, it seems, sleeping with her (female) best friend.

There’s some good comic fodder here, but because I read this book less than eight months after Tropper’s latest, One Last Thing Before I Go, I couldn’t help but compare the two. The protagonists are quite similar – pathetic males reevaluating their priorities in midlife after a failed marriage – and in both novels Jewish rituals provide structure and meaning. Had I read them in chronological order, perhaps I would have found One Last Thing boring and derivative, but instead I felt the opposite was true: One Last Thing was so much funnier. The humor in This Is Where (and especially in the first major flashback about Judd catching his wife and boss in flagrante delicto), is just plain crass.

In any case, I did appreciate some of Judd’s (surprisingly insightful) thoughts about marriage and happiness:

“You get married to have an ally against your family, and now I’m heading into the trenches alone.”

“We knew marriage could be difficult in the same way that we knew there were starving children in Africa. It was a tragic fact but worlds away from our reality. We were going to be different.”

“Sometimes, contentment is a matter of will. You have to look at what you have right in front of you, at what it could be, and stop measuring it against what you’ve lost.”
20 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read This is Where I Leave You.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

August 6, 2012 – Shelved
December 31, 2014 – Started Reading
January 1, 2015 –
page 32
9.44% "Really crass opening scene. I guess I'll keep going, though..."
January 3, 2015 – Shelved as: read-via-netgalley
January 3, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Vanathi (new)

Vanathi Parthasarathi I recently saw the movie. Heard the book is much darker than the movie. What did you think?


Rebecca It was alright. Comedic family dysfunction novel not dissimilar to Jonathan Franzen. I much preferred Tropper's later novel, One Last Thing Before I Go.


message 3: by Vanathi (new)

Vanathi Parthasarathi Rebecca wrote: "It was alright. Comedic family dysfunction novel not dissimilar to Jonathan Franzen. I much preferred Tropper's later novel, One Last Thing Before I Go."

Ah ok! :)


Leanne It's funny because I read This Is Where I Leave You last year and One Last Thing a week or so ago and felt the exact opposite - I found TIWILY to be extremely witty and poignant and still liked OLTBIG but definitely found it a bit too similar for my liking. You might be right about the order of reading! I'm debating whether or not to read anything else by him, as I've heard all of his main characters are somewhat similar...


Rebecca Leanne wrote: "It's funny because I read This Is Where I Leave You last year and One Last Thing a week or so ago and felt the exact opposite"

Ha! That's interesting. I looked at the synopses of his other novels and I agree that all the narrators sound the same. The only other one I might try is The Book of Joe.


Erin Maxcy They are all similar, but I find them endearing. I loved TIWILY (disliked the film for multiple reasons. Not terrible but not good) and OLTBIG, liked it least while I was reading it (among the three you mention) but it's meaning resonated with me the most after reading it. I thought it was powerful and sad. TBOJ, least favorite, but laugh out loud funny and sad. I am always a sucker for reunited loves, however that ends. As far as storyline goes, least complicated and unfulfilling. But still enjoyed.


Angela M I liked the movie better too .


Greg Zimmerman Couldn't disagree more. The movie is such a weak, dumbed-down facsimile of this great book.


back to top