Study Guide

Hillary Foxman in This Is Where I Leave You

By Jonathan Tropper

Hillary Foxman

We know you think that your mom is embarrassing, but just thank your lucky stars she's not Hillary Foxman, going around in low-cut tops asking you to accept that your mother is a "sexual being" and wondering if you think you were "immaculately conceived." (Hint: no.)

It's bad enough to have a cougar for a mom—it's even worse when she's a celebrity psychologist. Hillary lives every day like she's on Dr. Phil, dispensing emotional and sexual advice whether you want to hear it or not. It should come as no surprise, then, that she's not exactly a traditional mother.

No Limits

Sometimes her openness leads to mind-bogglingly awkward moments. For example, there's the time when a young Judd walked in on his parents making love. Instead of stopping, Hillary chooses the moment to give him a quick primer on adult sexuality. Thanks, mom.

But you have to take the good with the bad. All of the Foxman children are perceptive and intelligent in their own unique ways. Although they're often annoyed with Hillary's attention-hogging antics, low-cut shirts, and "surgically enhanced cleavage" she's always emotionally available for them and always makes them feel loved and wanted (4.4).

Enter Dr. Foxman

In many ways, Hillary's big plan—to lie to the kids that their dad requested that they sit shiva—is the perfect balance between her psychologist side and her maternal side.

As a psychologist, Hillary created the perfect plan to create a catharsis in her "patients"—and, hey, you never know, she might have another book to write now. But as a mother, she knew that her children "needed each other" and wouldn't be able to properly mourn their father's death unless she took action (47.68). And they desperately needed to mourn their father, who had been dying a slow death for almost a year.

So when you put aside the revealing dresses, the long-winded speeches, and her "TMI" approach to sexuality, you're left with the realization that Hillary really is a good mom. She certainly has her quirks, but she's there for her children when it counts.