No one is more surprised than Judd Foxman when his father passes away. Not so much by the death, but by the nonreligious patriarch’s last wish to have the family sit Shiva, a Jewish tradition that requires his mother and siblings to spend an entire week together under one roof. This wouldn’t be so bad if Judd’s family wasn’t so dysfunctional. As this group of unique characters are forced to spend time together old wounds are brought to surface and they are made to deal with issues they would have rather continued to ignore. The only family member not present is Judd’s wife who has been openly having an affair. As Judd unwillingly reconnects with his family and struggles to deal with the reality of his deteriorating marriage what results is a novel full of biting, albeit slightly dark humor with realizations about family life and love.
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
If you're looking for something to brighten your dreary winter day, pick up Pancol's first English-translated novel. The plot revolves around two sisters - Iris, a glamorous, rich attorney's wife and her plain Jane, bookish sister Jo. The story begins when Jo's husband empties their joint savings account and leaves her for his manicurist, who he runs off to farm crocodiles with in Kenya. Jo is left to pick up the pieces of her life and raise her two daughters, Zoe and Hortense, on the meager salary she makes as a 12th century scholar. Iris and Jo hatch the perfect scheme - Jo will write a medieval historical novel that Iris will take the credit for, thus giving Jo the money she needs and Iris the fame she craves. As in life, things don't go quite as planned and hilarity ensues. It's chick lit done up en Francais; humorous, quite charming and perfect to curl up on the couch with and escape to bright, sunny Paris, if only for a few hundred pages.
Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller
Ever wonder what it would be like to grow up with hoarders as parents? Kimberly Rae Miller dishes it all in this powerful coming-of-age tale about just that. We’ve all got that spot in our house that’s the place we put things that we’re saving for later because we know we’re actually going to use them. Right? Yes? Then months later we stumble across those same prized objects and pitch or donate them because, well, who has the time to do all the things?
Imagine, if you will, that messy place being your entire house and add in never throwing away anything on top of that and you’ll sort of get the idea what it’s like to walk a day in Kim’s shoes. She wasn’t able to ever have friends over and often had to conceal her parents messes and behaviors for fear of children’s services coming and separating her from them. Even worse, one house she and her parents occupied was so messy that it caught fire and they lost absolutely everything they owned. You’d think this would mean a fresh, clean start in a new, uncluttered home but that’s not case as things quickly start to pile up again. But don’t just take my word for it, read this engrossing title for yourself to learn all about what it’s like to be the child of hoarders. For tackling such serious stuff, it’s quite an enjoyable read but be warned as there are a few graphic moments (think bugs, messes, and even a suicide attempt) that aren’t for the faint of heart.
If you like this title, you should also check out the nonfiction book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy Frost and the YA novel Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu.