The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd's wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva-and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. Then Jen delivers the clincher: she's pregnant. This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper's (One Last Thing Before I Go) most accomplished work to date, and a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind-whether we like it or not. [ synopsis from goodreads ]
So I think I knew it a couple of chapters in but now, on the other side of having read this book a few times, I can honestly say that this is hands down my absolute favorite book. You know that feeling you get when you read something and it's exactly the right moment in your life where everything in that book is everything you need to hear? The first time I read this, that's exactly what happened.
I was going through a point in my life where I so completely and totally identified with Judd that every single thing he said I found myself nodding in agreement. I found myself tweeting the quotes that so perfectly described my life. And although I'm past that moment where everything in this book seemed to fight, I still have that feeling when I read this book. It holds that special place in my heart and revives that feeling every time I reread it. And I've reread it a lot in the past year. (Sometimes I didn't totally reread it. Sometimes I just flipped through to my favorite bits and reread them again. Sometimes I devoured the whole thing anew.)
So this book has since become a kind of companion to me. If books could be classified as best friends (and trust me, I've seriously considered it), this one would be mine. That's how deeply I love it. That's how much opening its pages feels like a visit from an old friend. That's how much these characters mean to me.
That being said, I don't know if I can recommend this book with the whole heart in which I love it. (Maybe I'm just selfish and like to keep some books close to the heart because of how much they mean to me. And also because if I recommend it and others don't love it as much as I do, I can't bear hearing that because this book means so much to me.)
So I definitely do say read this book. It's witty and funny and it has some of the most amazing characters I've ever met in my life. Judd is the idea narrator. He walks you through his own life, telling you each of his misfortunes and being in a place where he can also make you laugh at them. And some of his misfortunes might also be your misfortunes. And maybe you'll be able to laugh about them too.
I don't expect you to get the same feeling from reading this book that I do. I believe everyone has a book that really and truly speaks to their soul. This one speaks to mine. And the one that speaks to yours probably wouldn't speak to me in the same way.
But I can 100% absolutely say that I do recommend this book. It has so much to love. I just hope that, if you do read it, you are able to love it just a little bit too. (Though maybe not too much?? That's, after all, my job.)
review originally posted on goodreads