Study Guide

This Is Where I Leave You Love

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I could report the rest of the conversation, but it's more of the same, two people whose love became toxic, lobbing regret grenades at each other (2.24)

Love and hate are a lot closer to each other than you might think. All it takes is one flipped switch for the passion that fueled your love to get redirected into hate. It's the emotional equivalent to the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Love made us partners in narcissism, and we talked ceaselessly about how close we were, how perfect our connection was, like we were the first people in history to ever get it exactly right (3.9)

Ugh. Don't we all know couples like this? They're so in love with being in love that the whole world is just one giant third wheel to them. This energy can fuel a relationship for a short time, but you have to find more common ground if things are to last. And if your friends are going to keep you in their newsfeed.

And even if you didn't fall in love in the eighties, in your mind it will feel like the eighties, all innocent and airbrushed (6.1)

Of course, Judd really did fall in love in the eighties—you wouldn't be raving about Pat Benatar or Depeche Mode so much if you didn't. However, he does make a valid point on the connection between nostalgia and love. (But what about Millennials? Aren't they going to feel like they fell in love in the '90s?)

I blame Hollywood for skewing their perspective. Life is just a big romantic comedy to them, and if you meet cute, happily-ever-after is a forgone conclusion (6.43)

Judd has a serious beef with romantic comedies, arguing that they set unreasonable expectations for love in the women in his life. As for us, wethinks the Judd doth protest too much. You know, because movies never give men unreasonable expectations.

The world is suddenly brimming with young nubile women, and I can't leave the house without falling in love. I intuit whole personalities from a single smile, live out entire relationships with the woman sitting in the next car at a red light. (13.2)

It doesn't take much to make Judd fall in love, because he's so in love with the concept of love that he can't get his mind on anything else. Of course, it probably doesn't take much to make him fall out of love, either. We get the feeling that the guy doesn't go on a lot of second dates.

Jen and I had still loved each other, maybe not with the same hormonal ferocity that we did back when we'd first started dating, but no one really stays that way, do they? (21.3)

We've got some bad news for you, kids: no couple stays in the honeymoon stage forever. Every relationship hits the point that Judd describes here, but the ones that last (like Mort and Hillary) manage to exchange their passion for partnership. (With maybe a little bit on the side, but who's judging?)

"I'm not using her. Not any more than she's using me. Isn't that what love is? Two people who fulfill needs in each other?" (23.9)

Oh Phillip. What a mature view of love … not. Still, there's definitely some truth to it. Most of Jen and Judd's issues stem from their unwillingness to be there for each other when they needed it.

I flash back to Horry and Wendy, looking at each other in this exact spot a few hours ago, this haunted pool that seems to pull dead and buried love to its surface. (27.31)

While most of the focus in This Is Where I Leave You stays on Judd and his lady-friends, Horry and Wendy are trapped in a hopeless romance on par with Romeo and Juliet. Okay, or at least Grey's Anatomy.

That's love in real life: messy and corrupt and completely unreliable […] I want someone who will love me and touch me and understand me and let me take care of them, but beyond that, I don't know. (32.4)

In the end, Judd realizes that love is not something he can control or predict. In other words, he's powerless over it—putting him on the road to recovery, 12-step style. Remember, Judd: the first step to love recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I loved being in love—the deep kisses, the urgent sex, the passionate declarations, the late-night phone calls, the private language and inside jokes, the way her fingers rest possessively on your forearm during dinner with her friends. (40.3)

After you stop gagging, let us remind you: this is the same guy who complains nonstop about girls who love romantic comedies. Judging by this passage, we're willing to bet that Judd owns at least one copy of How Harry Met Sally.

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