a funny book about grief

Today I finished reading This is Where I Leave You. It was an interesting read to begin the Father’s Day weekend. The main character, Judd, gets stuck with his family for a week after his father dies. It sounds like a pretty depressing book, but really it was quite funny.

When the book opens, Judd is unemployed and living in a rented basement while his wife is having an affair with his boss – a radio shock jock – and just announced she is pregnant. This is all on the book jacket, so I’m not really giving anything away. As you can imagine, losing your father at this moment, and having friends and relatives parade around your parents’ living room to express their condolences is not exactly how you would have planned things.

But Judd isn’t alone. He has three siblings, an older sister and two brothers (one older, one younger), who have their own share of issues. And of course there is his mother. She is a best-selling author of a parenting book who ended up getting breast implants when a cancer scare turned out to be nothing.

As the seven days go by, secrets are revealed, feelings that had been repressed are shared, and blood is spilled. There are reasons the Foxman family doesn’t spend time together. They have grown apart and don’t know each other any more.  Living under the same roof for a week changes all that, and more.

This Is Where I Leave You is a page turner. It’s witty while being outrageous. I did figure out a few of the secrets, but not everything. I also really liked the ending. It doesn’t try to tie up all the loose ends, or answer every question. It leaves the reader where it should.

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