BookBrowse Reviews This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

This Is Where I Leave You

by Jonathan Tropper

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper X
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2010, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A hilarious and revelatory novel about family dysfunction

In Tropper's latest opus the fictional Foxman family pushes the limits of their - or anyone's - idea of dysfunction, proof positive that authors who are going to portray a dysfunctional family shouldn't skimp on the drama. Because by going all out, Tropper is giving readers a rockin' good read - with benefits.

Be warned: you will laugh. You may not always be proud of why you're laughing, but unless you're a paragon of virtue who can resist all urges to indulge in a little schadenfreude, you will laugh. After all, it's not everyday that a man walks into his own bedroom to find his wife in bed with his boss. Nor is it common for family members to emerge from a religious rite - particularly a funereal rite - with cuts, bruises and a dislocated shoulder. Laughter aside, however, there is plenty to ponder as protagonist Judd Foxman returns to his childhood home to mourn the death of the family patriarch.

Subsequent to learning that his father has died, Judd finds out that non-practicing Jew and sporting goods storeowner Morton Foxman's last request was for his family to sit shiva, a formal mourning period that requires the family to remain together in the family home for seven days. This would not be a problem for most people. But for Judd, his brothers Paul and Phillip and their sister Wendy - whose personal and familial issues would put Dostoevsky's most complicated characters to shame - it is tantamount to impossible.

Even before three generations gather under the Foxman roof – the observance includes spouses and their children – the fun begins. Prodigal son Phillip, "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," shows up at the funeral and throws himself on the coffin in a fit of spectacularly theatrical grief. This after he apologizes for being late to Rabbi Grodner, inadvertently calling the boyhood friend by his junior high school nickname, "Boner."

Not surprisingly, the Foxman family shiva spirals downhill from there. Partially because, according to Judd, Mort was so emotionally aloof and his wife so inappropriately blunt in her speech that their children lacked even the sketchiest model for polite, socially acceptable dialogue. However, it is from these domestic disasters that the aforementioned benefits spring like flowers from a dung heap. Myriad tragicomic plot twists and personal confessions lobbed grenade-like into the family's core ignite familial interaction and sprout insights into the human condition. Such as this gem: "At some point you lose sight of your actual parents; you just see a basketful of history and unresolved issues." Yes, beneath and around Tropper's wicked sense of humor there is a universal substructure of wisdom that is applicable to all families and blood relationships. Read it and weep… and laugh.

Reviewed by Donna Chavez

This review was originally published in October 2009, and has been updated for the July 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The World According to Fannie Davis
    The World According to Fannie Davis
    by Bridgett M. Davis
    Devoted daughter Bridgett M. Davis was always inspired by her mother Fannie, who provided stability,...
  • Book Jacket: Territory of Light
    Territory of Light
    by Yuko Tsushima
    Set in Tokyo during the late 1970s, Yūko Tsushima's Territory of Light chronicles a year in the...
  • Book Jacket: Unmarriageable
    Unmarriageable
    by Soniah Kamal
    Soniah Kamal makes no secret of the fact that her novel Unmarriageable is a retelling of Jane Austen...
  • Book Jacket: The Paragon Hotel
    The Paragon Hotel
    by Lyndsay Faye
    Lyndsay Faye's arresting The Paragon Hotel focuses on how disparate groups of marginalized people ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

As atmospheric, tense, and explosive as her New York Times bestselling debut, The Dry!

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Man
    by Jane Harper

    A stunning standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Night Tiger
    by Yangsze Choo

    "Wonderfully combines a Holmes-esque plot with Chinese lore."
    --PW, starred review
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Cherokee America

Cherokee America
by Margaret Verble

An epic novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud's Line.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P C, Absolute P C A

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.