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. I know this to be wise and true, just as I know that pretty much no one can do it.
Judd Foxman’s father is dead. His wife has been sleeping with his boss. He doesn’t have a house or a job or any desire to find either one. When his mother drops the bombshell that his father’s dying wish was for Judd and his family to sit shiva for the customary seven days, putting them all in the same house for the first time in years, Judd doesn’t see how they will all survive it. Long buried secrets are revealed, grudges are brought out from the rugs they’ve been swept under, old flames reignite, and more secrets are revealed as the week of sitting shiva progresses and siblings Judd, Paul, Wendy, and Phillip, along with their significant others, are forced under the same roof once again.
Jonathan Tropper had me laughing out loud over the course of this book. Witty and well written, This is Where I Leave You was the perfect book to bring with me on vacation. All of the characters just jumped off the page for me, and I felt like I knew each of them personally by the time the book was over. My favorite might have to be Phillip, the youngest of the Foxman clan, often the black sheep, but by far the funniest and most real character of them all. “Phillip is the Paul McCartney of our family: better-looking than the rest of us, always facing a different direction in pictures, and occasionally rumored to be dead.”
This is Where I Leave You is also filled from start to finish with beautifully written and thoughtful quotes about what it means to grow up, fall in love, and handle loss. In Judd’s case he is reeling from the loss of his marriage and the much more permanent loss of his father. As he reconciles both of these losses, as well as his place in his dysfunctional family, he comes to many realizations, which made for many wonderful quotes. I found myself making mental notes to go back to some of the best ones, including:
That’s the thing about life; everything feels so permanent, but you can disappear in an instant.
It would be a terrible mistake to go through life thinking that people are the sum total of what you see.
You learn not to think about what might have been, and to just appreciate what you have.
This was a quick, funny read, perfect for the last week of summer, when I read it. I also can’t wait for the movie, because seriously every character looks perfectly cast. Adam Driver as Phillip, Jason Bateman as Judd, and Tina Fey as Wendy practically promises for a great movie.
Have you read this? What did you think?