My first book club meeting was a success. We may not have all exactly finished the book. We may not have all exactly been in the same room (fevers, lice — mom stuff). But it was a success, and here is why — for the first time we all picked up the same book and read together. The book, This Is Where I Leave You, got us all talking about the story, life and relationships.
And here’s the best part — we are all super excited to go see the movie together when it comes out September 19!
This Is Where I Leave You
For those who aren’t familiar with the story yet, here’s a little bit about the book:
The dramatic comedy “This is Where I Leave You” is directed by Shawn Levy, and based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper. It features a starring ensemble cast including Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”); Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Tina Fey (“30 Rock”); and two-time Oscar® winner, multiple Golden Globe honoree and 2013 Emmy Award nominee Jane Fonda (“Klute,” “Coming Home,” HBO’s “The Newsroom”).
When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.
I don’t want to spoil the book (or the movie), but we all agreed that we enjoyed Judd’s dry humor. There were some graphic parts to the book that were more or less glossed over, but putting those parts aside we all seemed to enjoy the story and the relationships between the family members. People aren’t perfect, and what we liked about the Foxmans is that despite their faults (and the way they beat up on each other) they are family. And at the end of the day, that matters the most.
I am going to write-up a tutorial for these DIY journals soon because they really are the perfect book club craft.
This Is Where I Leave You Book Club Inspiration
There are still nine days until the movie comes out, which gives you plenty of time to host your own book club. If you want to host a book club for This Is Where I Leave You, here are a few questions to get the conversation started with your friends.
1. Discuss Judd Foxman, the novel’s protagonist, from his very ironic and dry sense of humor (shared also by his brothers and sister), to his anger and vulnerability regarding his wife’s infidelity, to his conflicted emotions regarding his immediate family. What was your first impression of the protagonist/narrator of this novel? What did you find the most engaging aspect of his character? Did you find any aspect of him off-putting?
2. What was your first impression of Judd’s wife, Jen? Because you see her almost entirely from Judd’s perspective, was there any chance to see her as a sympathetic character before Judd finds her so? Do you think that Judd and Jen have a chance at salvaging their relationship, with or without a baby girl to raise?
3. Discuss Judd’s mother and her relationship with each of her children. Do you think that Hillary Foxman was truly a bad mother? Was there any real irony in her being a child-rearing guru? What was your opinion of her character?
4. For all of their faults, is the Foxman clan a likeable group of people? What makes them an endearing group of people? Who did you like the most, and who did you find the least appealing, and why? Were there any characters you would have liked to see developed further?
5. What did you think of Judd’s exit at the end of the shiva? Was his disappearance in Phillip’s Porsche realistic? Appropriate? Did you find it a satisfying resolution to the book?
It has been a long time since I have read the book before the movie, but I am glad I did. I am now invested in the characters and can’t wait to see their story played out in a movie.
I highly encourage you to grab a copy of the book, This Is Where I Leave You, and a few girl friends to share the story with. You still have time before the movie comes out — perhaps you can even host your own book club meeting at dinner before you see the movie.
Don’t forget This Is Where I Leave you comes out in theater September 19!
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This Is Where I Leave You – In Theaters September 19
One lucky winner will receive a $25 Visa gift card to go see This Is Where I Leave You. To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends September 24, 2014.