This is Where I Leave You

  • Review
By – November 14, 2011

Judd Fox­man faces some unfor­tu­nate cir­cum­stances. His wife has been cheat­ing on him, hap­pens to be car­ry­ing his child, and is plan­ning to leave him. And if that’s not enough, his father pass­es away, leav­ing a sin­gle dying wish: that his (dys­func­tion­al) fam­i­ly sit shi­va for him. 

Over the next sev­en days of shi­va, Judd, his moth­er, and his three sib­lings are con­fined to the fam­i­ly home and forced to con­front the unset­tled rival­ries of their youth. By call­ing upon one another’s col­or­ful sex lives (or lack there­of ) to pro­voke each oth­er, the sib­lings reveal long-stand­ing grudges and secrets, pro­vid­ing a com­i­cal yet remark­ably real shi­va house scene filled with an enter­tain­ing group of guests. For sev­en long, painful days, we fol­low the Fox­man fam­i­ly, until the sib­lings’ frus­tra­tion, anger, and dis­ap­point­ment ulti­mate­ly trans­forms into love for each oth­er and new­ly devel­oped respect for their father. 

Tropper’s char­ac­ters all have dis­tinct per­son­al­i­ties and real­is­tic inter­ac­tions. Read­ers will feel as if they them­selves are in the Fox­man home pay­ing a shi­va call, won­der­ing how to respond appro­pri­ate­ly to one vul­gar com­ment after anoth­er. Tropper’s nov­el is a light and fun­ny read that will sure­ly res­onate with any­one who has won­dered about the san­i­ty of his or her own Jew­ish family.

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