Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Discussion: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (@Jtropper)

Hello! Happy September. So when we were trying to come up with books to discuss we noticed one of our favorite books was coming to the big screen. So why not re-read it and talk about it?

The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.
Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.
As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.
This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper's most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not.

 WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven't read the book yet (or our review), be careful of what you read from this point on. Few spoilers throughout. But if you've read the book, then join us!

  1. If you could smack any of the characters upside the head, who would it be and why? 
Keira: How about... all of them? It wasn't that I didn't like them, but they were all so shallow and self-centered!

Nikki: I agree! Each had a smackable offense that would be justifiable.

  1. What do you think will happen next to the main characters? 
Keira: Hm. Judd will most likely take Jen back. I don't want to believe that, but it's obvious he loves her. What I would like to see, however, is Judd eat a piece of humble pie, be a good father to his kid, and end up with someone deserving of this newly reformed Judd's love.

Nikki: I would like for all of them to get their shit together but they probably won’t. Judd SHOULD leave Jen for good.

  1. Do the main characters change by the end of the book? 
Keira: Most definitely. I think by the end Judd recognized some of his bad behavior and came to terms with his life, as it is now, and the events that brought him there.

Nikki: I think with the death of their father and being forced to be together for a long period of time, they had no choice but to change by the end.

  1. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
Keira: I cannot relate to these people. I'm sure somewhere in the world is a family with this crazy amount of dysfunction - my family has their fair share - but this one just felt excessive.

Nikki: I think the fact that they are a family with issues is the more relatable aspect. No family is perfect and the Foxman’s really show that. I mean, sleeping with your husband’s brother because you want a baby? Not the wisest thing in the world to do.

  1. What did you think of the ending?
Keira: It was wrapped up nicely. I liked that there was no pink bow. Overall, it was a reminder that every action has a consequence.

Nikki: I felt satisfied with it. After the craziness of the book you realized that this was just a week in their lives and things had to go on.

  1. What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What did you think of those choices? How would you have chosen?
Keira: Oh geez. Was there anything moral about this book? I mean, while her intentions were good, the story was based on a lie. Not to mention, Judd was forced into sex by his sister in law so that she could get pregnant! His sister slept with Horry, Phillip slept with Chelsea, Wade got cake up the arse, Jen was a hussy, the brothers got high in the synagogue, and the list goes on. The only choice that really stands out was Wade leaving Jen, which I agreed with completely.

Nikki: I agree 100% with Keira. There was nothing that wasn't a moral choice in this book.

  1. What surprised you the most about the book?
Keira: That no one was apologetic for their actions.

Nikki: How scandalous it actually was. Lots of cheating and what not.

  1. Which character do you like the most and why? The least and why?
Keira: Phillip was my favorite. I know he was a screw up and all, but he was hilarious and loved his family genuinely. He seemed repentive of the past, even though he knew he probably wouldn't change.

Nikki: It was a toss up between Wendy and Phillip for me. Both were unique in the family. Wendy being the only girl and Phillip being the baby. They were different and stood out among the rest of the Foxman's. I also loved Horry.

See ya next month!

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