The following discussion questions for This is Where I Leave You were created by our member Julie. We freely share our original discussion questions, but please consider including a credit and link to our website.
- On page 57, the Rabbi says, “Your father wasn’t a religious man. But toward the end, he regretted the absence of tradition in his life...” Judd didn’t think that sounded like his dad. Later, you discover the shiva was arranged by his mother. Why would an atheist choose to take part in a religious tradition? What kind of traditions does your family take part in when a loved one dies. Does religion play a role in them?
- According to Judd, “It just happened” would be the perfect epitaph for Phillip. And whenever he sees Phillip, Judd feels a “wave of loss and regret.” How does being the youngest sibling affect who Phillip is and his role in the family. Talk about the personalities of siblings in your family. Does birth order have an impact on who you become as an adult?
- Hillary Foxman is a famous psychiatrist and expert on parenting. Because of this Judd admits, “Predictably, my siblings and I were screwed up beyond repair.” Do you think Hillary was a good mother? How can an expert on parenting raise such an imperfect family?
- Talk about Paul's life-altering event. Why did he defend Judd? Why didn’t Judd defend himself? Do you think Paul was justified in blaming Judd?
- Alice, Jen, and Penny are three romances in Judd’s life. Talk about these relationships. Is Judd a hopeless romantic? Is loneliness unbearable for him? Does he define himself through his relationships?
- Judd says, “You need GPS to follow the sex lives of this family. I wonder if love is this twisted for everyone or if our family is uniquely talented at making such a mess of it.” Talk about the marriages, infidelities, and love lives of the Foxmans. Are they unique in their ability to screw up their loves?
- “Some families, like some couples, become toxic to each other after prolonged exposure.” Do you think Judd is right? Is seven days way too long to be with your family? Or is it because stressful circumstances, like the death of a parent, bring out the worst in people?
- Judd has a recurring nightmare involving a missing limb. What does this represent? Why did it keep repeating in one form or another?
- What do you think happens to Judd as he rides off in the car. Where does he go? What will he do?
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This is Where I Leave You discussion questions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.