Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Admittedly, I've heard a lot of people talk about Jonathan Tropper over the last few years, one of them being Jen Lancaster (of Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office fame). I should have immediately gone out and bought everything he ever wrote after Jen Lancaster sang his praises. She cracks me up - surely she wouldn't steer me wrong.

When my best friend and I spotted this book at Borders, we both had read a little bit about it, and thought it was worth reading. Boy, was it ever. A Tolstoy quote I have always loved sums this book up pretty well - all happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The Foxman family is very many, many ways.

The Foxman family has just lost their patriarch and are gathering in the family home to sit shiva for seven days. In some families, this would be no big deal. Judd Foxman has enough going on in his life before his father passes away and he's called home, and the hits just keep on coming. This was just one of those books where the characters are so vivid and the complexities so interesting that you feel really invested in the book, and those are my favorite kind of books. Sure, some of the themes in the book might be old, but there's no crime in that. Families are often the most interesting subjects to read about.

In the week of shiva, the family members lives will change in various ways. Each of the twists feels authentic, and while I didn't want the story to come to an end, the title kind of told me that the end wasn't going to be neatly packaged with a bow or anything. Real life never is that way, and reality was one of the big things going for this book. I certainly wouldn't mind reading another book by Mr. Tropper in the future with this family at center stage.

There are several passages in the book that are positively laugh-out-loud, and several that are quite raunchy (reader beware, if that kind of thing bothers you). Overall, though, it was an amazing read and I was almost sad to finish it last night. I definitely will be keeping my eyes peeled for other books by Mr. Tropper. It's clear that he's got quite a gift. His writing style was fully absorbing and multifaceted. Fans of Nick Hornby and and Tom Perotta will feel right at home.


ModernMom said...

Oh I do love when you are reading a book and you don't want it to end! Sounds like a good one:)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my kind of book!

Amber said...

Stopping by from SITS! I have to read this. Thanks for the review :)

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