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Fleishman Is in Trouble

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  33,081 ratings  ·  3,998 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 ...more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Random House
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Elisa Winter I'm about 1/3 of the way through and I don't know why I'm reading it. Who are these awful, awful people? Why on earth should anyone care about any of…moreI'm about 1/3 of the way through and I don't know why I'm reading it. Who are these awful, awful people? Why on earth should anyone care about any of them? Reminds me how lovely it is not to have too much money, or care what anyone thinks, and be comfortable with myself. Happy to be me after all!(less)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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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 ...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 reviewsby people I trusthave 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 isnt that literally every adult character
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 dont 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 doctor
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 ...more
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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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
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
Im 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 Akners 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 ...more
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 hes up for a promotion, and remaining a steady father to his kids, Toby ventures into the world of online dating. Hes shocked and intrigued by the forwardness of many women now, as hes been out of ...more
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,
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.
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
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Im 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 youd believe it!

Personally, I found this constant change of narrators completely annoying and distracting and because of that I feel I didnt 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
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.
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
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, Rachels work requires her to be available 24/7; Tobys job hours are more predictable. Therefore, he has been most invested in their childrens upbringing. The two of them have drifted apart, have separated, and are ...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
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book, I immediately thought this book wasnt 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 ones self.

We meet the wronged husband , Toby, firstly. Now that hes going to get divorced, hes decided he should indulge his libido to the max. This
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taffy Brodesser-Akners debut novel, Fleishman is in Trouble has been advertised as a perfect beach read. Im 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 not a ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Guys, if you want to write a book ask yourselves first: Does the world really need another novel about marriage? Let's face it: probably not.

Fleishman Is In Trouble is a response to the kind of Rothian book about marriage where the anxiety and pain of the men are always prioritized while women are reduced to sex dolls or goddamn awful mother figures with domineering streaks. What this novel intends to do is subvert this narrative by giving us a recently divorced man who appears to be cast into
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
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 Fleishmans 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 Tobys college friends, Libby who is a writer for a Mens 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 laugh
Claire McNeill
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The last 15 pages made me feel like I was watching an Olympic gymnastics finale while on some kind of insane upper & Taffy stuck the landing.
Jaclyn Crupi
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dont think I have ever said this but this book is completely UNDER hyped. I want to tell you all about it and share all the ways its fiery, profound, funny, smart and so brilliantly hefty. I want to explain how it gave me Fates and Furies and The Wife vibes crossed with The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. I want to talk about THE VOICE and PERSPECTIVE because hotdamn! I want to read the draft of this book that Im sure exists where that voice and perspective are different. But at some point Taffy ...more
Betsy Robinson
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this Philip Roth-like tale with a number of twists. It started as the story of poor Dr. Toby Fleishman in a crummy marriage that he wishes were normal. And then changes into something else entirely. But Ill get to that after my one beef:

Halfway through, I got thrown into editor-head by the structural problems of reiterating history in Parts One and Two. The writing has so much energy that I could see how an editor might let this slide: its not dull, theres humor, and a revision
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.
David Yoon
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hand-wringing, affluent, New York jew navigating middle-aged life as a newly single man in a city awash with women that suddenly want to sleep with him? Or an examination of how we've marginalized women's stories in traditional literary narratives.


A novel where the Upper East Side doctor is played off as a slacker not living up to his economic potential and big city mom's drop their kids off at private school armed with kale smoothies and athletic T's that read "Your Workout is My Warmup"
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyc, audio, 2020
Never mind Fleishman, I think I'm in trouble, trying to write a review of this novel. I find it a rather daunting task to write a review of this book that will capture it's essence so I won't aim for essence but just some essentials. I listened to this book on audio. I would recommend against that, given the denseness of the writing. Also, there were many very quotable sections which I would like to be able to go over again to appreciate and to offer here, but cannot.

This novel has a great deal
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I needed some time to digest before writing this review. This book is punchy the writing tight. Its vibrant and energetic but at times I felt like I needed a break to catch my breath. Its super cynical, this book so encapsulates New York City life. I mostly loved the intricate detailing and deconstruction of a marriage and the deep analysis of divorce. It really digs into the complexities of modern life. Marriage, careers, friendships, children and divorce. The pressure of life striving for ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Great book! This explores so many topics - money, ambition, marriage, divorce, gender norms, etc. But ultimately I think this is about women. Despite the title character being male, this book has a lot to say about feminism, the promise of having it all, and what marriage and having children does to/for women. The ending seemed to get a little preachy to me, but otherwise this would be a 5⭐ book. With the ending, 4.5⭐ ...more
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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

This year is proving to be an amazing time to discover debut authors. Across genres, readers have found and championed work by talent...
62 likes · 18 comments
“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.” 22 likes
“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.” 20 likes
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