When this movie came out, I saw it nearly immediately and fell in love with it. It is for sure one of my favorite movies of 2014, and high on my list of favorite movies of all time. It was so raw and real, and the dysfunctional aspect of the family it follows is relatable, I think, to anyone in some way or another. I actually had no idea it was a book, though, until very recently when I was browsing Book Outlet and stumbled upon it and I knew immediately that I had to purchase it. I will say after having read the novel, I think the film did a wonderful job of keeping the themes from the novel, which makes sense since Jonathan Tropper, the writer of the novel, also wrote the screenplay for the film.
The book follows Judd, who, after finding his wife, Quinn, in bed with his boss, Wade, splits with her and moves into the basement of some couple’s house, quits his job, and then finds out Quinn is pregnant. Things aren’t going very well for Judd and then things get even worse when he finds out his father, who had been battling cancer for a while, passed away. Judd then has to go back to his childhood home where he is forced to be around his family who he has avoided for quite some time. This is made even worse when it is revealed that his father’s dying wish was for the family to sit shiva, a Jewish practice where the family stays together for seven days in the deceased’s home and receives visitors. Judd is then forced to reconnect with his two brothers, Paul and Phillip, and sister, Wendy, who are all facing their own struggles with their own personal and professional lives. Paul and his wife Annie have been struggling to have a baby, which is all Annie has ever wanted, and Paul is struggling to keep the family’s business alive. Phillip, who’s always been a bit of a man whore, is “engaged to be engaged” to an older woman, Tracy, who’s very much like his mother, but as always, he’s having trouble staying faithful and also keeping a job. Wendy and her husband barely speak, he’s constantly off traveling, and she’s left to take care of their three kids alone, so being back home, around her old sweetheart, Horry, brings back old memories and feelings. And his mother, Hillary, may or may not be hiding a secret of her own with her best friend, and Horry’s mother, Linda.
I loved this movie and I loved this book. Like I said, I think they did a great job of staying true to the novel with the movie, but the novel was definitely more “R” rated then the movie and definitely more of a man’s perspective with divorce and family and relationships and sex, whereas the movie felt a little more neutral. I also feel like certain characters who were more prominent in the book were less so in the movie and vice versa. For instance, Wendy’s character seemed to play a larger role in the movie then she did the book, whereas Phillip and Horry play larger roles in the book then in the movie. I think each of the characters and their struggles are very relatable and raw and the emotions and everything that each character goes through are things that families deal with everyday. This book is very honest and all about loss, love, family, and learning to deal with the good and the bad.