A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated a certain birthday with a certain hubs who (along with some lovin’ from our family) presented me with a new Kindle to mark the occasion. Oh, and there were cupcakes, too. To mark the occasion. Needless to say, I am smitten. Whereas Vi and I had some acquainting to do (things are working out stupendously, by the by and thanks mucho), my Kindle and I hit the ground running. It really is far and away far too easy to buy a book on this thing, and if you like reading, well, you catch my drift…
First up on the docket was Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, which I bought because Entertainment Weekly magazine mentioned it being ‘laugh out loud funny’ or something. If you know me, you know I am supremely fond of a good laugh, and hold a great deal of reverence and awe in my little heart for those who can really pull it off. Back in the golden olden days when I took to the stage (Bleh! I was always more of a rehearsal rather than a show kind of actor: “It’s all about the process…”), I always found comedy took some serious chops, not to mention cojones, so it never comes as a surprise to me when someone like Will Ferrell or as of today, Steve Carell, takes to something more dramatic.
But when drama meets and falls in love with comedy (no one night stands here, Peeps!), a dramedy is born, and Tropper’s work fits the bill. Before reading it, I had recommended it as an option for my book club (Have I mentioned women from my church are in this group?), fresh off of having everyone read Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. Yikes! Just… yikes!
So I thought we should head for something funny–‘laugh out loud funny.’ See where this is headed? The only problem with that, folks, is that a modern comedy without gratuitous sex scenes has thus far eluded me. Did I mention one of my pastor’s wives is in this book club? No, not ONE of his wives–I digress.
This Is Where I Leave You did make me laugh aloud, but it also made me laugh through a few tears. Tropper’s protagonist Judd Foxman heads home for his father’s funeral just after his wife Jen has left him for his boss, the misogynistic Wade. And yes, of course, Judd absolutely had to walk in on Jen and Wade going at it, why do you ask? Sure, Judd needed pages and pages and pages to reflect upon this act and in detail.
We won’t be reading this as our next selection in the book club.
Truthfully, Tropper didn’t waste a thing or a device in developing characters a reader cares about and roots for–something Franzen was definitely lacking in Freedom (I could give a rat’s patootie if Pattie and Richard and Walter ever work things out because I DESPISE ALL OF THEM!). Of course, Franzen being brilliant and such probably had good reason, but that didn’t make me want to read a sequel. Please tell me there’s not a sequel.
When Judd arrives home, his mother informs he and his three siblings they must sit shiva for the next week. So for the next seven days, the grown Foxman children must endure a Jewish tradition and faith they weren’t raised to practice, put up with one another and work out their issues all while wondering why their child psychologist mother in her sixties had to have a boob job and wear shirts down to there. Oh, and there’s the whole business of your father and your wife leaving you bit to contend with.
I loved it. Not the dirty birdie parts. But the sentiment behind a 30-something losing everything and waking up to the fact that his days are passing by a little too quickly–like sands through the hourglass, so are the…
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you about the no-no parts.