Study Guide

Wendy Foxman in This Is Where I Leave You

By Jonathan Tropper

Wendy Foxman

Like her brother Judd, Wendy is going through a minor midlife crisis. (Seriously, you'd think that these kids would be better prepared for life, given the fact that they had a psychologist for a mom.)

When you think about it, Wendy and Judd are going through similar struggles. They're both:

  • having difficulties with their spouse
  • struggling with the reality of having kids
  • rekindling a relationship with a past love

Of course, the particulars of their circumstances differ a bit:

  • Judd is dealing with Jen's affair, while Wendy is frustrated by Barry's laser focus on work
  • Judd is terrified at the prospect of his first child, while Wendy is exhausted by the reality of having three kids
  • Judd is having a fling with his college crush Penny Moore, while Wendy is continuing her long affair with Horry, the love of her life

When you break it down, it becomes clear that Wendy is having as tough of a time as our humble narrator—if not tougher.

Judd still has an open future ahead of him. Sure, he has a baby on the way, but he still has the freedom to start his life over again. Wendy, on the other hand, doesn't have that option. Horry's condition is too severe for her to consider running away with him. She tells Judd that she envies "women who would leave to find something better," but doesn't want to put everything that she's worked for at risk (48.21).

This shouldn't end on a bummer note, though, because the truth is that Wendy is a strong woman. She might not be living the life that she expected. She might not be with the man she thought she would. She might not be the same person she was in high school. But she doesn't become bitter or resentful, like Judd. She just keeps on keeping on.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that Barry is raking in the big bucks. Sorry guys—have to keep it real.