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Fleishman Is in Trouble

A Novel
Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women).” (Elizabeth Gilbert)

“This is a remarkable debut from one of the most distinctive writers around.” (Tom Perrotta)

A finely observed, timely exploration of marriage, divorce, and the bewildering dynamics of ambition from one of the most exciting writers working today.

Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost 15 years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.  

As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place. 

A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope. 

Advance praise for Fleishman Is in Trouble:

“Blisteringly funny, feverishly smart, heartbreaking, and true, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an essential read for anyone who’s wondered how to navigate loving (and hating) the people we choose.” (Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

“From its opening pages, Fleishman Is in Trouble is shrewdly observed, brimming with wisdom, and utterly of this moment. Not until its explosive final pages are you fully aware of its cunning ferocity. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut is that rare and delicious treat: a page-turner with heft.”(Maria Semple)

©2019 Taffy Brodesser-Akner (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“This glorious debut has the humor of Maria Semple, the heart of Meg Wolitzer, the lustiness of Philip Roth, and a voice that is pure. It’s wild and wonderful and goes in so many directions, each with profundity - my favorite thing that novels can do. How does one's favorite journalist become one's new favorite novelist? With this book.” (Emma Straub)

“This portrait of modern love and marriage is blisteringly funny, searingly accurate, wincingly painful, and - ultimately - both heartbreaking and humane. Fleishman Is in Trouble reminds me of the great novels of the 1960s and 1970s - just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women). Taffy Brodesser-Akner can write the pants off any novelist out there. She’s a star, and this book is a work of utter perfection.” (Elizabeth Gilbert)

"Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s sharp debut novel is packed with humor and heart. In it, the titular trouble begins when Toby Fleishman realizes that Rachel - his wife of 15 years, from whom he’s now separated - is missing. Where has she gone, and why? This book will have you racing through the pages to find the answers.” (Southern Living)

What members say

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How Disappointing

I started this book optimistic since the excerpt that was featured on The Cut was very interesting. But with each passing section I found the charters less and less likable. Toby reveals himself to but such an asshole that I had to stop the book multiple times. Maybe him being “flawed” was the point of the book, but in other novels when a charter is that unlikable there is usually one trait or relatable thing that keeps you around...not here.

Overall, the book is a contrived narrative on what a middle aged woman thinks people who get divorced feel, while trying to make “deep” charters. I was very disappointed, and feel like I just wasted all the time I invested. Don’t waste your time or money, just think about how people going through a midlife crisis act and mix in a little divorce.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Tedious

Unlikable characters, long repetitive sentences, disgusting midlife behaviors. For those reviewers who found this "genious," good for you for finding value that completely eluded me.