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Fleishman Is in Trouble

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,545 ratings  ·  452 reviews
If you could do it all over again, would you? Should you? One man finds out in this finely observed, compulsively readable, and occasionally raunchy novel of marriage, sex, and dating for readers of Jonathan Franzen, Lauren Groff, and Tom Perrotta.

Recently separated Toby Fleishman is suddenly, somehow--and at age forty-one, short as ever--surrounded by women who want him:
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Random House
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,545 ratings  ·  452 reviews

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May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This is indeed a very readable novel with really interesting characters. There are a lot of people in their early forties having mid-life crises in this novel. And I was really interested in those crises as they are very interesting. The prose is so dense, almost too dense at times. This is one of those novels where there is so much story to tell and I wanted to know all of that story but I question the structure. There is a narrative device of a third party narrator that honestly drove me to di ...more
Ron Charles
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Believe the hype. “Fleishman Is in Trouble” is even better than we were promised. Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a New York Times Magazine writer, brings to her first novel the currency of a hot dating app and the wisdom of a Greek tragedy. The result is a feminist jeremiad nested inside a brilliant comic novel — a book that makes you laugh so hard you don’t notice till later that your eyebrows have been singed off.

As the story opens, life sounds like an erotic carnival for Toby Fleishman. A New York do
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining (almost existential) Exploration of Marriage at Midlife

This wonderful novel was written with keen powers of observation, mordant wit and subversive humor. It delightfully and incisively deconstructs marriage at middle age, showing the incompatibility of ye olde bride-and-groom institution with the egocentric, puerile, and device-driven lives of so many modern-day spouses in their late 30s, early 40s, especially those with kids.

The novel is most profound on the constant need, parti
Bonnie Brody
Toby Fleishman is a 41 year old jewish doctor, 5'5" tall, and sort of a shlemiel. He is soon to be divorced from Rachel, the wife of his nightmares. Despite earning close to $300,000 annually, he wears frayed shirts and feels like he's poor compared to his neighbors on the Upper East Side. He has two children and is trying to have a productive social life (sex and more sex) but Rachel doesn't adhere to the separation agreement and drops the kids off at any old time, even the middle of the might. ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won a kindle e-book edition of this novel in a Goodreads Giveaway. Unfortunately, it was not the book for me.

The main character, Toby Fleishman, is 41 years old, a doctor, short, going through a divorce, and learning about internet dating sites. It covers marriage, children, divorce, internet dating, the affects of divorce on children and much more. Unfortunately, the pacing was slow and I did not care for the characters.

This novel was not poignant, memorable, or even thought-provoking to me.
Tyler Goodson
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
“I would write my book, and it would have something in it that Archer was incapable of, which is all the sides of the story, even the ones that hurt to look at directly—even the ones that made us too angry to want to hear them.”

Toby Fleishman is in trouble. Rachel Fleishman is in trouble. This is a story about that trouble: their marriage and divorce and life (and sex) after marriage, their kids and their nervous breakdowns. It’s a novel so specific and funny and playful that it at first belies
Isabella Biedenharn
I will be thinking about this book for a long time. So good.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut novel, “Fleishman is in Trouble” has been advertised as a perfect beach read. I’m not entirely sure how marketers determine what qualifies as a beach read, but this is no light, frothy, confection of a book and not much time is spent at the beach. In fact, Brodesser-Akner recently questioned why her book was being marketed as a beach read. “I am confused as to why our taste for what we like would change in the location we read it, or the season.” So if the book is n ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the content and subject matter of this novel (marriage, divorce, relationships in the digital age), I had difficulty with the presentation of it--told from a friend of Toby's during most of the book. It felt more like a "report" of things that happened to him instead of the reader being involved. So it was slow going for me at the beginning. Clearly the author is a talented writer and the pain of divorce and custody arrangements are certainly relevant given the ease (and burden?) ...more
Susan Wille
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I started out loving this book.. I was captivated by Toby and his family life, his children, his relationship with Rachel. I was also fascinated by his career as a hepatologist, and this side story about the woman that needed a liver transplant. I have to say at times this novel was very confusing because it would switch into the character of Elizabeth and I wouldn't realize who is narrating the story for part of the book. I also felt a drag on a bit in the end, Way too much conversation between ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Via my book blog at

Taffy Brodesser-Akner's first novel is a considerable undertaking, giving us a detailed account of Toby Fleishman's life story, after fifteen years of marriage to Rachel. The narrator of the story is one of his college friends, Elizabeth, a journalist who lives in New Jersey. Libby is also married and questioning her satisfaction with life. The third friend, Seth, has yet to find a wife and enjoys a life of freedom and fun.

Toby is a hepato
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, ebook
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

I am quitting this novel at 27%. I have mixed feelings about it: I like the writing, but the subject matter is a little off-putting at times and nothing has yet happened, apart from the protagonist's wife failing to return from a yoga retreat. Toby has recently separated from Rachel after a marriage he spends a lot of time musing about, and in the intervening months has been sleeping with and sexting various women he meets on datin
Greg Zimmerman
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
First appeared here: https://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.c...

Just when you think everything that could possibly be done with the "traditional" marriage/divorce novel has been done, there's this: Journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner's debut novel about a couple in New York City. It's a story that feels fresh and original, and it's utterly engrossing and often very, very funny.

Fleishman Is In Trouble is a novel primarily about marriage, yes. But it also takes on themes of ambition, modern parenting,
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
What a dense, complicated novel FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE is. There is so much packed into the novel, and what the reader thinks the book is about continuously morphs into different yet surprising things. It is certainly a blockbuster, and I can see it doing extremely well this summer, but it is not for everyone. All of the characters are pretty uninteresting and unsympathetic. They are rich, yet sad (a story as old as time), and this makes the dense nature of the book frustrating as you more just ...more
Hannie Han Han
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This year I turned 40 and became unmoored, that journey from “WTF is going on!?!” to “okay, I think I’ve got this,” has been brilliantly captured in this book. No the book isn’t about me—I don’t know the author—but at the same time, I guess it is about me. It’s about all of us, especially women, especially those of us midway through our lives, who grew up with Generation X and are trying to keep up with Millenials. Who are we? What is this life? How are we supposed to be happy? Because it seems ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, this book was nothing I thought it was going to be. I was utterly annoyed for most of the first half. Reading about a doctor (Toby)who happens to be short and a little overweight perhaps suddenly becomes attractive to so many women on his dating apps. His ex-wife (Rachel) makes more money than him and is more driven toward climbing career ladders. She pays him support in their separation and Toby splits child care with Rachel. Toby is the one who is more present for his children and isn
Alison Hardtmann
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Toby [Fleishman is in trouble. He and his wife, Rachel, are in the middle of a divorce and while on-line hook-up apps have provided him with plenty to distract him, he's left with caring for two kids who aren't doing well with the divorce when his wife drops them off at his new apartment and disappears. He's also the financially disadvantaged spouse, being only a well-established specialist at a prestigious hospital, which in the wealthy enclaves of Manhattan, makes him contemptuously low-income ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Toby Fleishman is in trouble. He and his wife, Rachel, are in the middle of a divorce and while on-line hook-up apps have provided him with plenty to distract him, he's left with caring for two kids who aren't doing well with the divorce when his wife drops them off at his new apartment and disappears. He's also the financially disadvantaged spouse, being only a well-established specialist at a prestigious hospital which, in the wealthy enclaves of Manhattan, makes him contemptuously low-income. ...more
Donna Hines
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
War of the Roses meet Mother Theresa and incorporate all that marriage and divorce entails while learning to re-love again!
Love is blind! Love doesn't hurt! Love is compassion and compromise!
Yes, well tell that to Toby who just separated from Rachel his wife of 15 years.
He assumed a bumpy but somewhat smooth forward progression until she dropped off the kids and never returned.
Perhaps a taste of his own medicine?
Perhaps a workaholic using patients to hide behind his homemaking responsibilities?
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Growing up, I wanted to be a long-form magazine writer. In high school, I used to sit in the aisles of my library, devouring profiles in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Esquire. I still read those profiles, and, in recent years, have discovered that my favorite such stories are always written by the uber-talented Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

I follow her work the way sports junkies follow their favorite athletes, so it was no surprise that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her debut novel,
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
3.5 rounded down

For yet another book focusing on the internal lives of objectionable, well-off New Yorkers this was pretty good and I can see it being a hit this summer - the tone is just right and the writing breezy enough for the pages to fly by. It lost me a bit in the middle (hence the rounding down) but overall Fleishman Is in Trouble is a solid and amusing debut novel.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, faves-2019
Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

This was fantastic - compulsively readable (I polished it off in less than a day because I couldn't leave it at home while commuting to/from places), funny in so many of the details about relationships, New York, teens, and the various other details that make up the characters' lives, and sharp in the human way that none of its main characters felt like either the good guy or the bad guy - they all felt fully realized. If you're a fan
Caitlin Kunkel
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed reading this and also found it deeply unsettling. Five stars for fictional upheaval!!!!
Lisa Taddeo
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations and Fleishman Is in Trouble exceeded them, smashed them. I would say Phillip Roth meets Flannery O'Connor, but that would be reductive. Taffy Brodesser-Ackner meets Taffy Brodesser-Ackner.
I don’t know why I liked this book.. it could be confusing at times when it kept swapping from 1st to 3rd person. All I know is - I just needed to know what happened to Rachel to make her abandon her 2 children. Who does that??? That part with the Chinese food delivery? I literally laughed out loud!
Do you want to know why I gave this book five stars? It was because Taffy Brodesser-Akner gets it so absolutely correct. Toby Fleishman is in trouble. Rachel Fleishman is in trouble. We are all in trouble. The war between the sexes is one of mutually assured destruction. A woman can be better than a man in everything, yet, she will still have to tiptoe around the fragility that is the Y chromosome. And a man who wants to "have it all" had better have an A-1 partner by his side. He will be punish ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it

The entire internet seems to be buzzing about this book, and I love the author's essays and profiles, so I was psyched to read her first novel. But it left me a little bit cold. It centers on a 41-year-old man, in the process of divorcing, who's trying to be a good dad to his kids and a good doctor where he works, except he’s obsessed with hooking up with women via dating apps. Like I really needed about 80 percent less of this guy and his horny thoughts.
Shoshana G
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up-fiction
I put off writing this review because even though I enjoyed it and would recommend it, I don't really know to to describe my reaction to it. I think I took the beginning too literally and therefore was jarred when perspective changed, but I thought this was mostly a funny and also interestingly contemplative portrait of two people and how their perspectives are totally different.

I read an e-ARC through NetGalley.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Toby is going through a divorce from his wife of 15 years. We watch him discover the whole new world of dating apps and struggle as a single dad. We hear about Rachel, his shrew of an ex-wife. But then, one day, Rachel disappears. Is she dead? Missing? Having an affair? We eventually learn the truth—and discover that there are two sides to every story and that everything isn’t always how it appears.

I *loved* this book. I was excited to read it, because I absolutely adore Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s
Ashleigh Ruhl
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An artist strung together the words in this ambitious novel, but it isn't a pretty story. It's an insightful, playful, and disturbing look at falling in and possibly out of love in the modern day.

Fleishman's third-party narrator is a woman named Elizabeth, a character with her own dramas and biases at play who recounts a couple's (the Fleishmans) divorce, sex life, and marriage.

Expect to be engaged by punctuations of sharp and comical wit, but brace yourself for what I personally found to be an
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Play Book Tag: Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner - 4 stars 5 14 Jul 15, 2019 04:59PM  
Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. Prior to that, her work appeared in GQ, ESPN the Magazine, Matter, Details, Texas Monthly, Outside, Self, Cosmopolitan and many other publications. Fleishman Is In Trouble is her first novel.
“I’m not a perv,” Seth said, even though there were literally hundreds of women who would absolutely have classified Seth as a perv.” 0 likes
“He didn’t feel bad for her anymore. Instead, he just felt foolish, the way quiet, smart people can make you feel dumb just for existing.” 0 likes
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