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This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My aunt has never let me down when it comes to book recommendations, and by Jove, she's done it again! In This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper builds a family that any reader can ­relate to – and love.

The Foxman siblings and their mother are an eclectic bunch who grow emotionally as they are brought together physically to sit shiva after their father passes away. This week together is not exactly pain-free for the family, as repressed grudges, emotions, and secrets are slowly exposed. Only after the family licks their old wounds can they begin to heal the new ones left by their father's death.

The story is told through the eyes of Judd Foxman, who has seen just about everything in his life fall to rubble. You keep thinking it's time for him to catch a break, but breaks seem to be in short supply for Judd. He's a good guy – one who surprises his wife with her favorite kind of cake, candles lit, delivered to her in bed on her birthday, and it's heartbreaking to follow him as he loses everything.

But as tragic as the book is at times, it's simply hilarious too. Between Judd's mother's calm, humanistic approach to just about everything, his brother Philip's promiscuous ways, and sister Wendy's snappy straight-talk, I was laughing out loud. Who doesn't enjoy reading about a family who may be more dysfunctional than their own? In the end, Judd eventually finds his way through the maze of the past and into the present.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good tear here and there, happy or sad. Or to anyone who can relate to having far from cohesive family relations. Or to anyone who has felt they've lost everything. Or to anyone.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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