Saturday, May 13, 2017

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU BY JONATHAN TROPPER - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.


Well, I broke one my rules with this book: I watched the movie first.

I know, I know, I can't believe I did it too. But in all honesty, I hadn't heard about the book until the movie came out and I wasn't really even planning on watching the movie at all. Fast forward about a year later, I watched the movie and really enjoyed it. I knew I liked the storyline of the book so I was down for the movie. And well, here we are, book and movie both read and watched. I have no regrets but I am still sticking to the bookworm's rule that the book was better.

In case you haven't heard of this book or seen the movie, it follows thirty-something Judd after the death of his father and demise of his marriage. His father's dying wish was to have his family sit shiva for a week, staying together at the family home and working through their issues. And they have a lot of issues. The eldest brother Paul and his wife live in the town they all grew up in and he manages their father's sporting goods store. They've been trying to have a baby without much luck. Wendy, the only sister is married to a workaholic and has three kids. Judd walked in on his wife with another man and finds out that she's pregnant. The youngest sibling is Philip, he's somewhat of a disaster and no one ever knows what he's been up to.

I'm going to try and not compare this book too much to the movie but I want to mention one thing quickly first that relates to it. I found this book was much darker than the movie. The inner monologue Judd has with himself doesn't come through as strongly in the movie and I felt like his issues are really quite deep-seated. I didn't really get that vibe from the movie. There were also a few things cut out of the movie that made this book much darker than the movie, especially with Penny. In the movie, she is the kind, girl-next-door-who-got-away and in the book, the connection between her and Judd is much more emotionally and physically rooted.

I loved the dry, dark humour of this book. I found myself laughing many times throughout the book and I think that says a lot about Tropper's writing style. I really enjoyed the sibling banter as well. I don't know if it was because I also have siblings and was able to relate to some of the things they said or did.

I really felt like I was able to know the Foxman family on an intimate level. Tropper does a great job of developing his characters into unique individuals with really feelings and problems. The book goes through a lot of emotions: anger, sadness, hilarity, and heartbreak. The movie felt much lighter, like I said earlier, not so dark. I appreciated how Tropper was able to balance these emotions and encompass them all in the book, it wasn't just a romance with a little bit of sadness and grief.

I liked Judd's narration - I know from some other reviews that they thought him brash, angry and mean, but I think having seen the movie helped to show that he's not the jerk he comes across as. It's hard to separate the book from the movie after they've both been experienced but I thought his commentary was well done in the book. He had his moments but I guess that's just the sort of humour I find funny.

Overall, I recommend both the book and the movie - in whichever order you see fit.