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This Is Where I Leave You

The book begins with the death of the father of Judd Foxman, the narrator. Judd is called back to his family home to sit shiva, a week-long grieving period by Jews. Judd's family is comically dysfunctional.  As the Amazon description writes, "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." To be honest, I did not like Tropper's novel. Yes, the story was interesting, but it felt very un-original. No, I have never read a book about a family sitting shiva, but in reading it, I felt like I had read it before. As the NYT book review, Eyes May be Moist, but the Jokes are Dry, puts it, "wild yet all-too-plausibly rendered friends, siblings and other relations." It was funny at some parts, definitely (the rabbi's back story and the family's nickname for him is quite hilarious) but at other times it was just Judd wallowing in his misery, mad at his life. Judd is glum and mopey, and his snarky comments get old after a while. I wouldn't suggest reading this unless you are a fan of Tropper's other works (The Book of Joe, Everything Changes, Plan B) all of which I have not had the opportunity to read yet. Rating: ★★★

Unaccustomed Earth & Interpreter of Maladies

The Forgotten Garden