This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

You know those moments that are so absurdly horrible that all you can do is laugh?  No, well maybe they can only be observed in someone else’s life. Divorced and jobless (he caught his wife cheating on him with his boss), Judd Foxman doesn’t currently have much going for him when his father passes away after a long illness.  The Foxman clan descends on their Long Island childhood home for the funeral and to sit Shiva.  Judd, along with his sexpot psychiatrist mother, his sister, Wendy, with her distracted husband and kids, his brother Paul and his wife who are struggling to conceive, and his youngest brother, Philip, the family screw-up, all commit to stay for the seven day Jewish ceremony for their deceased atheist father.  Judd, together with his crazy, yet very real family, deals with the death of his father and his marriage.  The ensuing seven days will leave you alternating from crying to cringing to laughing. Tropper manages to cut to the core of a family’s interactions and bluntly portray those horrible moments in life in a somehow very funny way.

This is Where I Leave You is a great read. I picked it up after a friend suggestion.  This suggestion came with a bit of a warning that I will extend to you; this book deal with some serious material and it will make you think.  Tropper highlights many universal truths about people and families that made me think about life and family.  I won’t give away any of the plot, but Judd finds himself in plenty of situations full of moral ambiguity.  Yet, Tropper never takes his characters or their problems too serious; just like in real life there are plenty of absurd and funny moments.  The book offers a lot of opportunities ffor a reading to think abut what is wrong, what is right, and when is it okay to kill a family member. (That is a joke that you will understand after reading the book).  This is a book with some pretty heavy subject matter, but it has an overall light-hearted tone.  Its a great read, but is not for the faint of heart or those lacking a funny bone.

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