Monday, April 11, 2011

Book review: This is Where I Leave You

I read this book last year and then reread it so that I could blog about it.  I was starting to notice that most of the books I review here are books I wasn't crazy about.  I think that's because it's so much easier to talk about what you don't like than what you do...but I'm going to try with this one.

This Is Where I Leave You

Judd Foxman is still reeling from his wife's affair with his Howard Stern-ish boss when his father passes away from cancer.  Despite the fact that his father was a dedicated atheist, his last wish was that the family would sit shiva for 7 days.  This is no small request of a family that tolerates each other best in small doses, and issues most certainly arise.  In the midst of the Foxmans' typical -- and atypical -- sibling drama, Judd's soon-to-be-ex-wife arrives with an announcement that further throws him for a loop.

Sounds like a laugh a minute, right?  And yet, this book is hilarious.  I was reading sections aloud to my husband in the first five pages.  From Judd's discovery of his wife's adultery to their mother's wildly inappropriate conversational topics to his efforts to defuse the good-intentioned matchmaking of shiva callers with eligible daughters to the family's attendance at temple, there are some laugh out loud moments.  At the same time, it's really a touching book and a great look at their complicated family dynamics.  I won't tell you how it ends, but I can tell you that, like in real life, there's always more to the story than the characters see from their side of the conflict.

Well worth reading.  And of course, if you do read it, come back and tell me what you thought.


  1. Haven't read this, but it reminds me of the Coen Bros movie "A Serious Man," which is a slow motion collapse of a man's life, horrifying yet also funny.

  2. It's available at my library, so I'll definitely read it and tell you what I thought.