"Judd Foxman has the life he always thought he'd have. Good job, loving wife and a perfect house in the suburbs. That is, until he arrives home to find his wife in bed with his boss.
To prove things can get worse, Judd is summoned back to his childhood home - along with the rest of his highly dysfunctional family - to mourn for his recently deceased father. Seven days, all together, back in the family home where no one got along the first time around..."
I first picked up this book due to the recommendation of Guiliana Rancic on E! News. They were discussing the book in relation to the adaptation film being made starring Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda. And as a big fan of Tina's, I knew I had to give this book a read.
From the first page I was completed hooked into the story due to Tropper's engaging writing style. I'd describe this book as a dark comedy as the plot revolves around the break down of a marriage, the loss of a family member and the existential crisis that is bound to happen when your life falls apart. Having said that, there are some laugh-out-loud moments. There was a particular incident in particular (involving infidelity, a naked bum and a lit birthday cake), that made me laugh out loud to the point where my mom came into my bedroom to ask what I was laughing so hysterically at.
There is a running theme throughout this book that asks the question "What do you do when everything you thought you knew disappears?" And as a theme, it's a great one, as it is so relatable. There are also so many brilliant quotes throughout this book that I almost want to reread it and grab my highlighter pen to catch them all.
The characters were well-rounded and the witty dialogue between the characters was excellent. However, the reason why I'm only rating this book as a three is the fact that throughout the book the situations builds, subplots emerge, so many things happen, and unfortunately, things didn't tie up as much as I would have liked at the end. Whilst reading it I kept thinking "I wonder how this will end. I wonder how all these situations will be resolved." And quite frankly, they weren't.
Despite this, I'm still looking forward to the film, as they might give the story another perspective and dimension. (Side note: in the book here's a scene where Judd's mom is exercising in the living room to a Jane Fonda workout video, and they've actually casted Jane Fonda as the mother(!) which I think is pretty cool.) Overall, this book had a lot of potential, but I feel the plot ran away with itself, and although there were some very valuable themes about acceptance and personal growth, nothing much was resolved in the end.
"It would be a terrible mistake to go through life thinking that people are the sum total of what you see."
"You have to look at what you have right in front of you, at what it could be, and stop measuring it against what you've lost."
"We all start out so damn sure, thinking we've got the world on a string. If we ever stopped to think about the infinite number of ways we could be undone, we've never leave our bedrooms."