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Fleishman Is in Trouble

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  61,822 ratings  ·  6,539 reviews
Recently separated Toby Fleishman is suddenly, somehow--and at age forty-one, short as ever--surrounded by women who want him: women who are self-actualized, women who are smart and interesting, women who don't mind his height, women who are eager to take him for a test drive with just the swipe of an app. Toby doesn't mind being used in this way; it's a welcome change fro ...more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Random House
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Tina Davis I don't think liking them is the point. Still, I felt that there was a lot to like about the book and the writing.…moreI don't think liking them is the point. Still, I felt that there was a lot to like about the book and the writing.(less)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  61,822 ratings  ·  6,539 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
Matthew Budman
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Damn, I wanted to like this novel. Brodesser-Akner is one of our greatest magazine feature writers, and the reviews—by people I trust—have been near-unanimous raves. But I kind of hated it.

There are many, many sharp observations here about men & women & marriage & divorce. The prose is extremely quotable though nowhere near as funny as some readers have suggested (the raunchy dating-app material is mostly just sad). But the problem for me isn’t that literally every adult character except for the
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-releases
Fleishman is in Trouble is the kind of book that makes a mockery of the 5-star rating system. Here is a novel that is equal parts highly relatable and alienating; enjoyable and aggravating (and great bookclub fodder: discuss for hours!). This book wants you to sympathize with millionaire New Yorkers, people whose lifestyle is totally out of reach for most, and to see them as people with feelings and real struggles … but not with the even-wealthier New Yorkers who it casts as villains and ove ...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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

What makes a book literary fiction? Dense writing? Bogged down in unnecessary details? Filled with unlikeable people? Repetitive? Too many pages for the subject matter being tackled? Pretention? An author who has a day job at the New Yorker? Beat-you-over-the-head-super-preachy-but-trying-to-be-cleverly-hidden social commentary? A narrator who feels like an afterthought the majority of the time and who jumps the train off the track by
Elyse  Walters
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This witty, crude, comic/tragic contemporary story ‘mostly’ worked for me.
A little shorter would have worked better -a little less repetitiveness even better...

Truth was seeping through the seams.... while exploring marriage, divorce, friendships, dating, sexing, colleagues, children, siblings, money, narcissism, assholes, annoyances, anger, selfishness, entitlement, play dates, yoga clothes, beef lo mein, women of a certain age, ramblings, points of view
Peter Boyle
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Man there's a lot of sex in this book. It feels like it's on every page. I wasn't offended by it, it just bored me. If Toby Fleishman is not scrolling through revealing pics over horny older women on a dating app, he's thinking about the last time he banged his horrible ex-wife, or when he might bang her next. His friends are no different - Libby is supposed to be the sensible voice of reason but she's still thinking about the affair she had with her first editor. And Seth is a total ladies man, ...more
Claire Reads Books
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m not saying stories about the marital and financial angst of people who make well over six figures and choose (voluntarily!) to live in New York are by nature dull and exhausting, but wow, this one was. In this novel, it seems every unhappy family is, in fact, unhappy in the exact same way, and nothing about Taffy Akner’s storytelling (which is far more suited to the exposition-friendly profiles that made her famous) offers enough insight to make it worth suffering through these characters’ m ...more
Fleishman is in Trouble is a incisive, sharply observed and humorous novel that examines the nature and anatomy of a American marriage, family, divorce and identity at the privileged end of the social and economic spectrum, set in New York. The Jewish middle aged hepatologist, Toby Fleishman, and his wife, Rachel, are getting divorced, retaining joint custody of their children, 11 year old Hannah and 7 year old Solly. Whilst this is an entertaining read, there are aspects that grate and irritate ...more
So much to think about here. This is a book of many layers, a book that keeps on giving. Brodesser-Akner has so many astute observations about marriage and being a woman--particularly interesting is her thesis that a story must be told through the perspective of a man to be taken seriously.

Then she uses her skills as a writer to do just that, beginning her tale through Toby (a man's eyes), who is going through a divorce and using a constellation of characters around Toby to fill in the details.
Karen Flatley
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
A sharp and sardonic novel in which the only nice person is the 9 year old son.
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.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, from-library, to-buy
That was what I knew for sure, that this was the only way to get someone to listen to a woman—to tell her story through a man; Trojan horse yourself into a man, and people would give a shit about you.
On the surface, Fleishman Is in Trouble is the story of Toby Fleishman, a 41-year-old doctor who’s going through a divorce. He’s learning to navigate his new lifestyle—especially dating apps—and trying to balance his job and his suddenly active sex life with his parenting responsibilities to two twe
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Dr. Toby Fleishman is separated from his wife, Rachel, a workaholic talent agent. They have 2 kids, an 11-year old, Hannah, and a 9-year old, Solly. In the midst of their divorce, Toby moves into a mediocre apartment while Rachel stays in their high-end one. In between working at the hospital, where he’s up for a promotion, and remaining a steady father to his kids, Toby ventures into the world of online dating. He’s shocked and intrigued by the forwardness of many women now, as he’s been out of ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites
I adore this novel! There is so much cleverness here - an aching, intelligent cleverness that doesn't cross the line to snarky. While reading, I nodded so much (Yes, that's it! Exactly!) that my neck still aches. Brodesser-Akner writes beautifully and with penetrating insight about marriage and relationships. For a while, I thought I "got" Toby and Rachel, but these characters are so alive they can't be easily pinned down. For me, this was a totally immersive page turner that spun me around and ...more
This was a recipe for disaster, in hindsight.

At first I thought, life hack!!! Because reading books by magazine writers is basically like reading magazines that count toward your reading challenge.

But then this had all the humanity of a magazine profile and none of the charm, which is kinda crazy considering these are fictional characters.

And I am always Team Woman, so reading a book about a newly divorced couple from the man's perspective...also disastrous.

I managed to resist hating these char
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-most-loved
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
Andy Marr
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been throwing out a lot of five-star ratings in recent months, and it's starting to freak me out. For a while, I started to think I was getting soft in my old age, but I've just looked back at the last ten books on my read shelf and, yep, they really were good reads. This one was probably a hundred pages longer than it needed to be, but even the redundant sections were so well written that I couldn't help but give full marks. ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m exhausted!
This book was a pain to read and also a pain to rate and review. Unexpectedly dense. Layers and layers. Different points of view. Different time lines. Flashbacks. Dreams. Even different narrators, if you’d believe it!

Personally, I found this constant change of narrators completely annoying and distracting and because of that I feel I didn’t get to know the characters well enough. Every time I came back to this book I had to read a few of the pages I had already read. Also I was
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an incredible novel about a marriage in crisis. I've been following Taffy's writing in The New York Times and was thrilled to hear she published her first book.

I didn't know much about the story before I picked it up, and I'm not sure if that helped or hurt my reading enjoyment. The book starts from the perspective of Toby Fleishman, who is separated from his wife, Rachel, and is navigating life as a single parent. At first I thought the entire story would be told from Toby's point of vi
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
The writing was pretty good, but the characters were all so annoying and unsympathetic. There were a few parts that lulled me into believing something worthwhile might be right around the corner. It never came.
Michael Finocchiaro
I enjoyed this novel pretty much, but sometimes rich people's problems just seem so remote to me that I disconnected.
Fleishman Is in Trouble revolved primarily around Toby and Rachel Fleishman's dissolving marriage and Toby's friend Elizabeth/Libby's outside observations of its demise. Most of the book is in the third person following Toby, but there are significant portions in the first person as well. Toby is a liver specialist at the hospital while Rachel is a ladder-climbing publicity agent
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-read, usa
This is a novel about the good old midlife crisis brought about by the insight that as time passes, options dwindle because past decisions tend to influence the present - and it's also a book about people being sometimes unwilling and always ultimately unable to fully grasp what it means to walk in somebody else's shoes. Told by his college friend Libby, we hear the story of hepatologist Dr. Toby Fleishman who wants to divorce his wife when she suddenly disappears, leaving him to care for their ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book, I immediately thought this book wasn’t going to be for me. I was reading it for a book club event, so I knew I had to finish it.
Well, this book got under my skin and totally grew on me and by the final page, I thought, Wow, this book was so phenomenal!.

This book is about marriage and divorce and parenting and about finding one’s self.

We meet the wronged husband , Toby, firstly. Now that he’s going to get divorced, he’s decided he should indulge his libido to the max. Th
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
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
National Book Award Longlist 2019. The Fleishmans have Upper West Side problems. Toby is a physician specializing in hepatology (liver diseases) making a ‘paltry’ quarter-of-a-million per year. Rachel is the primary breadwinner as an agent in the entertainment business. Not surprisingly, Rachel’s work requires her to be available 24/7; Toby’s job hours are more predictable. Therefore, he has been most invested in their children’s upbringing. The two of them have drifted apart, have separated, an ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novel is almost like a snapshot, a section cut out of the pie graph of life. It covers the life of, predominantly Toby Fleishman and his wife Rachel and how both of their lives change after they marry and then how their lives change again after they separate.

At the beginning of the novel, they are estranged and heading towards divorce. They have joint custody of the two children. Rachel drops the children off with Toby and then effectively drops off the grid. Toby, certainly not from lack o
Mark Porton
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fleishman is in Trouble: by Taffy Brodesser-Akner is an intricate story involving Hepatologist, Dr Toby Fleishman’s separation from his wife, Rachel, at the age of 41. They have young children and are living in New York. This book is in 3 parts and is narrated by one of Toby’s college friends, Libby – who is a writer for a Men’s Magazine.

The first part was very, very funny indeed, as it spent much time recounting his exploits on various dating/sex apps and it genuinely provided me with some lau
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the soon-to-be divorced
Shelves: 2020
Our friend came over the other night to tell us she's getting divorced. She's insane. Not all the time! Her soon-to-be-ex, it turns out, is insane all the time, and she's been dealing with some ugly stuff. But she's just insane right now.

Towards the end of a marriage there's an inevitable period of denying your feelings, and it always lasts way longer than, in retrospect, it should have; when you finally give up, there's a dam-breaking moment. "As God as my witness, I'll never deny a single fee
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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.

Articles featuring this book

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
61 likes · 19 comments
“Rachel and I, we’d been raised to do what we wanted to do, and we had; we’d been successful, and we’d shown everyone. We didn’t need to wear apocryphal T-shirts because we already knew the secret, which was this: that when you did succeed, when you did outearn and outpace, when you did exceed all expectations, nothing around you really shifted. You still had to tiptoe around the fragility of a man, which was okay for the women who got to shop and drink martinis all day—this was their compensation; they had done their own negotiations—but was absolutely intolerable for anyone who was out there working and getting respect and becoming the person that others had to tiptoe around. That these men could be so delicate, that they could lack any inkling of self-examination when it came time to try to figure out why their women didn’t seem to be batshit enthusiastic over another night of bolstering and patting and fellating every insecurity out of them—this was the thing we’d find intolerable.” 32 likes
“It was like those T-shirts all my daughter’s friends were wearing to school now, the ones that said THE FUTURE IS FEMALE in big block letters. How they march around in broad daylight in shirts like that. But the only reason it’s tolerated is that everyone knows it’s just a lie we tell to girls to make their marginalization bearable. They know that eventually the girls will be punished for their futures, so they let them wear their dumb message shirts now.” 28 likes
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