This Is Where I Leave You

9780452296367_p0_v4_s260x420With the end of our 15 day book challenge on Tuesday, we posted our 200th post!  And with that we’d like to celebrate by sharing one of the best books I’ve read this past year – This is Where I Leave You.  Who doesn’t love a good story about a highly dysfunctional family? I don’t think I stopped laughing the whole time I was reading it. Before watching the movie, I had to read the book. Of course – just like all new releases I had to wait until the movie came out on DVD to watch it!  There are so many good movies I’d like to go see – but the only new releases I ever get to see are the ones my daughter and I can see together.  I am dying to see Inherent Vice and American Sniper, but again, I wait…

The book had once been on my TBR list – way before the movie came out.  It’s about the Altman family, and their collective dysfunctions.  This mildly Jewish family has experienced a death in the family. A family of 3 brothers and 1 sister has lost their father, and his dying wish was for the family to sit Shiva. Shiva, a Jewish tradition, is a week-long mourning period, where immediate family stays in the house of the dead, along with the dead body. I saw this in the preview for the movie and seemed misleading, the family wasn’t grounded, they were sitting Shiva. In sitting Shiva all of family’s craziness comes out, and it is hilarious. I seriously never stopped laughing while reading this book!

Judd is the story’s narrator, and the middle of the three brothers. Just after his father becomes ill, he learns his wife Jen had been cheating on him. He happened to have walked in on his wife and his boss – and totally lost it, landing his boss in the ER. He feels the marriage is over, and he’s lost his job, all on the same afternoon.   So when his dad passes away, he’s already at a low point. Let’s add one more thing to the chaos that is his life: Jen is pregnant.

I think what I loved most about the story was the characters – they all had such different personalities. They’re all so different and unique, it’s almost unbelievable that they all grew up in the same house. What makes this such a great movie adaptation is the actors who are playing these great characters. Judd is played by Jason Bateman (which reminds me so much of his role on Arrested Development), his sister Wendy is played by Tina Fey, his youngest brother is played by Adam Driver (of Girls – who is hilarious and adorable). One of the best parts of this movie adaptation is the mother, who is played by Jane Fonda. It’s slightly ironic because at one point in the book Judd mentions that in the 80s his mother was obsessed with Jane Fonda’s workouts. Wendy’s ex-boyfriend who comes to pay his respects during Shiva is played by Timothy Olyphant. Need I say more?

I loved loved this book – it was hilarious and touching, and endearing.  It’s one book I really wish had a sequel??  Are there any books you’ve wanted a sequel to?

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