Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
"This is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper
I'd heard about this book from several bloggers, though I can't quite recall what it was that convinced me I needed to read it (which is even more true now that I've finished reading). But, though I can't say what first piqued my interest, I found it a good read with (for once) a cast of characters who aren't quirky just for the sake of being quirky.
Judd Foxman and his siblings are roped into sitting shiva after their father's funeral. ("All seven days? That's hard-core.") Complex family dynamics are rendered comically bizarre by a lack of those emotional filters that aid in smoothing out normal human relationships. It's difficult for the Foxman family members to get along under the best of circumstances, and these aren't the best of circumstances. In their raw emotional state of grief, thrust into close quarters for an extended period of time (which, for this family, is anything longer than five minutes) a variety of eccentric issues bubble to the surface, causing an ever-changing stink worse than Uncle Stan's farts. Oh, and it doesn't help that Judd's wife has just left him. For his boss. And she's pregnant. With Judd's child.
"The past is prelude and the future is a black hole . . . " That's not the most encouraging notion, but if you've ever hurled yourself into the unknown, you know that's exactly what it feels like when all you can do is hope that you won't be stretched out like a mile-long piece of spaghetti, or be compressed into something one-millionth the size of a bedbug's eyeball, or vanish into a singularity. It's much better to think that, though I may not have fourteen grand in a shopping bag, anything can happen.