Study Guide

This Is Where I Leave You Mortality

By Jonathan Tropper

Mortality

Are you ready for a big surprise? A twist ending? Here goes: This Is Where I Leave You … deals with the theme of death. We know. It's a shocker, what with the whole book taking place while the Foxman family is sitting shiva for their dad, Mort. As you might imagine, Judd spends a lot of time thinking about death and mortality. Sometimes he wrestles with guilt over his absence during his father's final days. Sometimes he freaks out a little about the way that we deteriorate as we get older. And sometimes he just wants to focus on the next few days. All this is to say, you're not going to understand death after reading this book—no book's going to give you those answers. But if you're looking for an honest, heartfelt, and occasionally hilarious look at the way we grieve, this is a great place to start.

Questions About Mortality

  1. In your opinion, what kept Judd from visiting his father when he was sick? Does the text provide any evidence?
  2. Do the Foxman children handle their grief differently? What evidence do you see that they're even feeling grief at all?
  3. How do Judd's dreams help him make peace with his father's death?
  4. How does the current condition of the Foxman home reflect Mort's death?

Chew on This

Mort's death doesn't precipitate Judd's midlife crisis; it helps him get through it.

This Is Where I Leave You is concerned not just with death itself, but with the inevitable decline that precedes it.

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