Tropper's new novel will make readers laugh

August 6, 2009 11:51:53 AM PDT
Judd Foxman arrives home early to surprise his wife with a cake on her birthday. He can hear her in the bedroom, so he lights the candles and heads upstairs. But in Jonathan Tropper's "This Is Where I Leave You," Judd is the one who's surprised. He finds his wife in bed with his boss. What happens next is a real scorcher, literally.

The novel is artful and brilliant, filled with colorful narratives and witty dialogue, though it's probably not for those offended by profanity, toilet humor and explicit sex.

In the midst of coping with marital betrayal, Judd gets the news that his father has died. His estranged family gathers to sit shiva, a weeklong Jewish bereavement ritual. The dysfunctional Foxman family provides plenty of riotous entertainment - for the reader.

Judd and his three siblings, Paul, Wendy and Phillip, are brimming with issues, even though their mother, Hillary, is considered an authority on parenting. Paul blames Judd for an injury that ruined his college baseball career. He's also trying to have a baby with his wife, Alice, who dated Judd in high school. Wendy pretends she's in a happy marriage, and Phillip, the youngest, is still trying to find his way in the world. There are touching moments between Judd and his young niece and nephew as well as Linda, a longtime neighbor and a good friend of the family.

Tropper gives a genuine portrayal of marriage, sibling rancor and the loss of a parent. The subject matter is at times dismal, but Tropper, author of "How to Talk to a Widower," "Everything Changes," "The Book of Joe" and "Plan B," can find the funny in any situation.

Follow Action News on Twitter

Get Action News on your website

Follow Action News on Facebook

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.