Silver has begun to accept that life isn’t going to turn out as he expected. The exwife he’s remained friends with is about to marry a terrific guy Silver can’t quite bring himself to hate. And his Princeton-bound teenage daughter has just confided in him that she’s pregnant—because he’s the one she cares least about letting down. As the wedding looms and the pregnancy sinks in, this broken family struggles, bonds, and wrestles with each member’s individual anxieties. Lives begin anew, change radically, or, in Silver’s case—as he discovers that he could die at any moment without an operation he refuses to have—may be about to end in an instant.
Cover design by Jim Tierney.
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Sometime last year I was having a good ol’ browse around Chapters and I stumbled across Jonathan Tropper. This Is Where I Leave You was the book that first caught my eye, as the film was due to be released, so I picked up a few and had a flip through. Tropper’s writing style screamed me, so I made a note and added Tropper to my mental TBR.
I really, really liked the story. It was bleak, and emotional, and slightly depressing and funny – and I really like that in my contemporary reads. The dialogue was amazing but, in agreement with some other reviews that I’ve read, everything else was kind of hit and miss. There were certain sections that I felt I wanted to skim read, but I was enjoying the book so I held back. Happily, though, a lot of the book comes down to the dialogue. I get the feeling that a big theme throughout Tropper’s work is familial relationships, and what better way to show a relationship than through dialogue.
So, generalising aside, let’s talk a bit about some specifics. Silver was a great character. He was pathetic and depressive but ultimately wants to do better – what’s that, folks? While not a totally likeable character, he certainly has a redeeming quality or two, and that’s what makes me like characters. When he’s given the opportunity to do better, he steps up and he does it as well as he’s able. My favourite parts of the book were Silver’s interactions with his daughter, and the few interactions with his father. I wanted more of that. But then, I think This Is Where I Leave You will give me more of that dynamic, and I do intend on picking it up soon. TL;DR, fantastic dialogue, complex characters, family drama – good God, is there drama.