Tonight turned into a very unusually spectacular Sunday night, and I owe it to all to a book. A few close friends popped over (well, it was planned) to discuss the book This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Armed with a bottle of Prosecco and snacks in a dimly lit room, we were all excited to talk about the book at hand. We had never had a book club together as I had chosen the group myself, based on a group of women I felt would truly gel and potentially have an interesting discussion together. We were different personalities and origins, basically friends as a result of our children. Would we gel? The verdict was out on how it would go, and I was eager to find out the reactions to the book.
What can I say? It was marvelous. We talked, we laughed, we made projections on the character’s futures. It’s a book chock full of plot twists and page turners and it is really a book you should read and discuss with your book club or a group of friends before the film version comes out next Friday, September 19th.
If you haven’t read the book, I want to give you a quick summary so you get the gist, without revealing too much. It’s about a family, the Foxmans, who comes together under the most unusual of circumstances: sitting shiva for their father. Over the course of seven days, they have to sit together in the same room, day after day. This is a family that dispersed long ago, summoned back together by their over-sharing mother. Together, they are forced to confront their childhoods, relationships and choices amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving each other insane.
The book made for a great discussion as there are so many layers and dimensions that unfold in every chapter. It’s about a Jewish family, but as one participant stated, any ethnic identity will identify with the book’s characters. Who doesn’t regress into their childhood self when they come together with family? We all were able to relate and found the incidents in the book, while extremely chaotic, relatable. We all also found the main character, Judd Foxman, interesting and a valuable narrator to the story, even though his wife is pregnant with another man’s baby, he’s unemployed and, man, does he have emotional baggage. As screwed up as he is, he seems to be the glue in the family, holding everything together.
One member of the group said that she was amazed by Jonathan Tropper’s writing: “I felt like I was talking to my girlfriend” The author has a real heart and soul that enables even the most dysfunctional of families able to communicate with each other. She compared the story to My Big Fat Greek Wedding with even less filter. But it all came back to the surprising fact that a man had written the book. She reiterated, “No man is that in touch with his feelings!”
During the course of the seven days, the four Foxman sibings, who don’t get together often, nor did they see their dying father often in his final days, establish a connection. They find out things about each other they never knew. You get the sense they don’t talk to each other, yet they know everything about each other. Isn’t that the way it is with your own siblings? Probably. Despite the fights and insults, we never got the sense that they really down deep hate each other. They are bound by all those experiences that only your siblings really know and understand.
Despite the plot twists that contained elements of family chaos , dysfunction, a funeral, a mid-life crisis, affairs and disloyalty, we all found the book therapeutic and talked the heck out of its ending. We were also curious about the film. Will it remain faithful to the book? Will it change the ending? How will the cast of actors including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard and Jane Fonda make the cut and portray the Foxman clan? Did Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay, include all the funny scenes – what could he possibly leave out?
At the end of the night, we all instantly agreed to see the film together AS SOON AS it comes out. If you plan on reading This is Where I Leave You, I highly suggest that you form a book club to join the #TIWILY/ #TIWILYbookclub discussion on Twitter and on the film’s Facebook page, running every Wednesday. Visit the official website. Follow @wbpictures on Twitter and Instagram.
I’m giving away a $25 Visa Gift Card and a copy of This is Where I Leave You!
To win, just comment below and let me know if you are in a book club/or if you enjoy reading books before they hit the cinema. Also, you must follow the Culture Mom Facebook page (no need to tell me, I can check). Winner will be selected randomly. This giveaway will end on Monday, September 15th at 12pm EST. Winner will be posted here, on the Culture Mom Facebook page and via email and will have 24 hours to accept their prize. Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.