This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper

imagesIt is a very rare thing for me to see the movie before I read the book. Very rare indeed. This is partially because the book is ALWAYS superior to the film and partially because, well, I just don’t watch many movies.

Not only did I watch this film first, without realising that it was actually a book, but I enjoyed it. Laugh out loud kind of enjoyment in an ironic, sort of macabre way.

So, of course, when I realised that it was a novel, I had to read it … even though I knew what was coming. And now I’m stuck because truthfully, the book was as good as the film and the film as good as the book and this is something that I’ve never really experienced, nor heard about … is it even possible? In fact, I’m not even sure if I can review this book without, in part, kind of reviewing the film … Dare I say it, having watched the film actually might have made the reading better … But I’ll leave you to ponder that quietly to yourselves.

Granted, I didn’t read the book straight after watching the film. Rather, months passed and it was only by accident and boredom that I picked up the ebook and started reading. Out of interest really, to see whether the book could be better than the film … And now I’m not quite sure whether I was disappointed or pleasantly surprised … So you’ll forgive the absurdity of this review. This has never really happened to me before!

Meet the most wonderfully dysfunctional family. So dysfuncational that your family, at its most absurd and painful, will seem quite wonderful and brilliant and even calm! The book is told from the perspective of Judd, one of a team of siblings, who, early on, when trying to surprise his wife for her birthday, walks in on her in an extremely intimate exchange with his boss. I won’t spoil it by telling you where the cake lands up, but I’m sure if you use your imagination you will create a reasonable image!

The story unfolds around the death of Judd’s father, Mort, in the wake of the death of his marriage and the loss of his job and his rapid decline into oblivion. Mort’s death brings the family together and leads to a whole gamit of entertaining revelations, none of which I can reveal without destroying the fun for those who intend to read this entertaining novel.

While nothing even vaguely like this ever happens in my family – or in the families of other, real, people that i know – it was nonetheless incredibly entertaining and sad and poignant and beautiful to read about it happening to someone fictitious. If people like this do indeed exist along with families like this, then I am forever grateful for my mundane existence and that of those close to me.

I’m still not sure which I prefered – the book or the film. I might just have to watch and read them both again!

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