Paperback Posse | This Is Where I Leave You

Book Club pick: This Is Where I Leave You

Book Club pick: This Is Where I Leave YouIt’s tiiiiiime!

We’ve spent the last month reading This Is Where I Leave You and now we can finally discuss it in its entirety without the fear of ruining it for someone else in the group (that said, if you haven’t read it, do so immediately and then come back and tell us what you thought).

WHERE DO I EVEN START?!

I guess I should begin by saying that I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I expected it to make me feel uncomfortable (oddly, it did not) and maybe a little sad. I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did and to fall in love with the characters. But it hooked me from the very first sentence, when I was already saying These are some delightfully messed up people.

“Dad’s dead,” Wendy says offhandedly, like it’s happened before, like it happens every day.

I already wanted to know more. I already was prepped to fall in love with Jonathan Tropper’s blunt prose. There were so many good lines in this book. We talked about some of them in the Facebook group, but I never added some of my favorites to the list, like this one:

“She couldn’t handle a slightly opened dresser drawer, but a sink full of crusty, expectorated toothpaste was apparently not an issue.”

I dare you to tell me that you can’t relate to that quote on some level. I’ll tell you right now that my husband and I get into arguments like this all the time. He can’t handle a dirty dish in the sink, but hair all over the bathroom sink after he shaves? Total non-issue. And, trust me, he could come up with something comparable to say about me just as quickly.

I think what worked most for me about this book was how relatable it all was, even when you didn’t want it to be. The relationships between the characters and the quick, smart dialogue was so spot on. I couldn’t help but love the dysfunction and the brutally honest, often inappropriate commentary. I wanted to know these people, even if it was at arm’s length. From the discussions over in our Facebook group, I don’t think I was alone.

this is where i leave you

I’m not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing that I could totally imagine the actors cast in the movie as the characters in the book. It definitely warped the way I read the book, but it also added to my enjoyment. The movie hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but I’m excited to see it and compare the two anyway.

OK, I could ramble on all day, but I want to hear all about what you thought! I’ve got some questions below as a starting off point. Feel free to touch on as many or as few of them as you want—and feel free to throw your own questions in the mix! The more interaction, the more fun this will be.

  1. What do you think the book’s title means?
  2. Let’s talk about the characters. Who did you love? Who did you hate? Who could you relate to the most? Do you have any predictions about what the future may hold for them?
  3. There are so many different romantic relationships in this book. Did you find any of them admirable? Were there any you could relate to? What do you think will happen with Judd?
  4. Parenting is kind of a huge theme in the book—from Mort and Hillary, to Alice’s inability to get pregnant to Judd and Jen. What do you think the book says about parenting? Do you think any of the parents in the book have failed in some way (or seem destined to)?
  5. How did you feel about the end of the book? Was it fulfilling? Did you find it realistic? Absurd? Appropriate?

Talk to me!!!

And before I go, the votes have been tallied and with a big push at the end, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is our pick for next month! We’ll discuss this one on October 31st.

UPDATE: Our posse prefers to answer these questions slowly over in our Facebook group. If you want to see what everyone’s saying, click on over and request to join! If Facebook isn’t your thing, feel free to share your thoughts here!

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3 Comments

  1. 1. I think the title is kind of suggestive of the way he ends the story. Like he tells us part of his story and then “leaves us” to decide his fate. I think that’s why I actually did enjoy the ending. It allows the reader to decide what we’d like to see happen. It lets us dare to dream for him.

    2. Loved Wendy, hated her husband. Wasn’t fond of Philip, not really a huge fan of Paul (even though I did relate to him in some ways) Judd I liked well enough but hated that he seemed so willing to forgive Jen.

    3. I think Judd will end up back with Jen but I wish that he would run off to Maine and live out that Danielle Steel/Nicholas Sparks fantasy that he cooked up. I can’t say I admired any of the romantic relationships, although it did make me value what I have a heck of a lot, lol.

    4. I’m clearly not the best qualified to answer any questions about parenthood but I was exhausted just reading about it lol.

    5. I liked the end of the book… It let us contemplate the great unknown for someone else.

    1. 1. I think I agree with you on the title. When I started, I figured it referred to the father. As in “This is where I leave, now work your shit out!” Almost as if his last gift to them was forcing them back together.

      2. I loved Wendy too. I’m pretty sure she was my favorite. You can’t really go wrong with someone who always has the perfect snarky comment at any given moment. I was annoyed by her shitty husband and kind of incredulous that someone so fiery would stay with such a douche. I liked Phillip. He made me laugh. If I had any sort of relationship with or to him I’m sure I wouldn’t be half as amused, but since I don’t, I enjoyed him. I didn’t like Paul at all. And I totally agree with you on Judd! He was funny and likeable but I was SO irritated by his willingness to go back with Jen.

      3. I REALLY don’t want Judd to end up with Jen. Anyone who would give him up for someone as obnoxious and horrible as Wade is bad news. I understand the whole being in different places after losing the baby thing, but I want Judd to find the whole Wade scenario unforgivable. I don’t really see him with Penny either though. I mean, I want to. But I don’t. I’m totally partial to his romanticized Danielle Steel/Nicholas Sparks fantasy.

      4. I feel like the biggest thing the book says about parenthood is that nobody is perfect. No matter how hard you try and no matter how right you think your ways of dealing with your children may be—even if you’re a renowned clinical psychologist—you’re not perfect. You’re destined to make mistakes. The best thing you can do is be fluid and willing to change.

      5. I like your idea of contemplating the great unknown, but for the most part I wasn’t feeling the ending. It felt rushed and incomplete to me. Maybe because I wanted so badly for things to be resolved for Judd.

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