A week of sitting shiva for his deceased, lapsed-Jew father isn't what Judd Foxman wants to do right now. It's going to get ugly if the four grown Foxman siblings have to all live under the same roof for a full week. But there isn't really any choice.
Not that Judd's really got anything better to do - he's separated from his wife after he found her in bed with his boss. Oh, and for that same reason, he's now jobless and living in a basement apartment.
So maybe a week in his mom's basement might not be that bad.
The book's funny, and the sibling love-hate relationships are very realistic. They're each comfortable in their consigned sibling roles, and yet also dying to be something else altogether.
PS: I've seen the 2014 movie version of this (same title, starring Jason Bateman as Judd) and it stayed pretty close to the book, with a few notable exceptions and the usual simplification of the storylines. It should probably tell you something that I sought out the book after enjoying the movie. Additionally, I laughed out loud when Judd in the book remembers his Mom working out in the 80's and trying to get a butt like Jane Fonda's - because in the film Jane Fonda plays the mom.