[Reading] ➼ Fleishman Is in Trouble ➲ Taffy Brodesser-Akner – 1sm.info
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 view, but I was pleasantly surprised that later in the book we get to see everything from Rachel s viewpoint, which is dramatically different from her husband s perspective.There are several things I loved about this book, and top of the list is Taffy s descriptive writing This is a sharply observed look at life in upper class New York City I genuinely felt like I knew these people, their neighborhood, their life I also loved the portrayal of a marriage, and in this case, how wildly different the perceptions were.Which brings me to something that made me uneasy as a reader In the first part of the book, Toby s view of his wife is so negatively skewed that it borders on caricature Because I had read so many of Taffy s articles, I trusted that there was a point to this dark side, so I kept reading But it must be said that if you are sensitive to such portrayals of women, you might get turned off, especially if you don t know that the wife s viewpoint is eventually shared.There is also an occasional narrator, who turns out to be a longtime friend of Toby, but the narration comes and goes and is a bit distracting The narrator is a magazine writer, so I forgave Taffy for this narrative device because I figured it was her way of getting part of her experience in the book.In the end, this is an impressive debut novel about a marriage Highly recommended.Opening Passage Toby Fleishman awoke one morning inside the city he d lived in all his adult life and which was suddenly somehow now crawling with women who wanted him Not just any women, but women who were self actualized and independent and knew what they wanted Women who weren t needy or insecure or self doubting, like the long ago prospects of his long gone youth meaning the women he had thought of as prospects but who were motivated and available and interesting and interested and exciting and excited These were women who would not so much wait for you to call them one or two or three socially acceptable days after you met them as much as send you pictures of their genitals the day before Women who were open minded and up for anything and vocal about their desires and needs and who used phrases like put my cards on the table and no strings attached and I need to be done in ten because I have to pick up Bella from ballet Women who would fuck you like they owed you money, was how our friend Seth put 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 the dating game for years One morning he wakes up to find his kids at his place Rachel dropped them off while Toby was sleeping After an impromptu day of taking care of them, Rachel doesn t return After a few odd days where she remains M.I.A., Toby realizes he s in trouble Relationships are complicated and 41 year old Toby is forced to take a hard look at his, with his ex wife, his children, friends, and others While I can relate to the ambitious career driven woman, Rachel was incredibly unlikable and my feelings about her character didn t change much I had no idea where Fleishman is in Trouble was headed or how things would turn out, but for the most part, enjoyed the journey I also liked the way the book was written Smart and impactful Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 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 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 From The Thirteen Years He Spent As A Married Man, The Thirteen Years Of Emotional Neglect And Contempt He S Just Endured Anthropologically Speaking, It S Like Nothing He Ever Experienced Before, Particularly Back In The 1990s, When He First Began Dating And Became Used To Swimming In The Murky Waters Of Rejection.But Toby S New Life Liver Specialist By Day, Kids Every Other Weekend, Rabid Somewhat Anonymous Sex At Night Is Interrupted When His Ex Wife Suddenly Disappears Either On A Vision Quest Or A Nervous Breakdown, Toby Doesn T Know She Won T Answer His Texts Or Calls.Is Toby S Ex Just Angry, Like Always Is She Punishing Him, Yet Again, For Not Being The Bread Winner She Was As He Desperately Searches For Her While Juggling His Job And Parenting Their Two Unraveling Children, Toby Is Forced To Reckon With The Real Reasons His Marriage Fell Apart, And To Ask If The Story He Has Been Telling Himself All This Time Is True. 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 largely invisible narrator is unsympathetic it s the lack of universality in both the story and the relationship insights Brodesser Akner s characters all come from a narrow slice of wealthy, social climbing NY NJ life these men women marriage divorce problems are very much Upper West Side men women marriage divorce problems And everyone here seems stuck Characters find themselves in time money crunches, feeling neglected, resentful of spouses friends co workers, but those crunches are the product of choices choices that are neither inevitable nor permanent It s irritating that none of the characters seems to recognize that there are alternative ways of living, communicating, parenting Two thirds of the way through the novel, I was dreading a radical eleventh hour perspective shift la Lauren Groff s Fates and Furies and sure enough, it arrives and speeds through an alternate view of the story we ve just read, intended to unsettle everything we thought, with blocks of mostly undigested essay text on relationships again, insightful stuff, but not necessarily relevant Toby and Rachel s marriage is so unusual dysfunctional awful that viewing it from different angles yields limited returns notallmen notallwomen notallmarriages notalldivorces 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 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 I actually dreaded picking up my kindle every time I started to read of this book Maybe, I was in the mood to read a different type of book It may appeal to others, but it was not for me. 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, particularly festering after reaching 40, for the quick fix again, and again of an ego boost men mostly or intrigue and attention women largely via micro sexual encounters with the strange and alluring Ms Akner satirizes a society that force feeds us a series of instant gratifications daily which ultimately bleed the joy out of monogamous relationships and starve healthy gratitude from and toward the spouse Fault abounds for infidelity of the wife here Fleishman s troubles with women anyway begins after divorce is in the works At some point, earlier than later, a divorcee might face any number of self revelations, such as that meaningful love is elusive that a deeper, intimate joy may well have been attainable in marriage that much as 40 somethings may daydream, they cannot time travel to recapture youth s beauty or the thrill of newness in each sexual encounter and, thatoh thatdating apps and sexting and bodice ripping first encounters in and of middle age, while adrenaline rushes and uber calorie burns, they are emotionally jarring dives into shallowness With the exception of one in a million, the grass that seemed a lush emerald turns out a shade of chartreuse tinted toward yellow Fleishman Is in Trouble was both edifying and enlightening on the human condition in the life and times in which we live, in a way that only social satires can be. Find all of my reviews at 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 choosing to begin telling her story at some point rather than the one she is supposed to be telling If so, this checks all the boxes It also had me like No point in attempting a review I m quite sure I was too stupid to get this book so I ll save the trolls some typing I didn t like the characters I didn t like the writing I didn t like the message or rather the way the message was delivered I didn t like one thing about it and that s my opinion End of story. 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 This is when I m thinking, Is that all this book is going to be about Obviously not, or I may not have grown to admire it for what it truly was an unflinching look at marriage why do we marry what do we expect of marriage what happens when the kids come along When does all the blaming start I am so glad the author included Rachel, Toby s wife s viewpoint We also have a narrator, Elizabeth an old friend of Toby s, who is going through a crisis of her own These sections totally brought the whole book to life.There were moments of hilarity in the book, moments of sadness I didn t feel much joy, but there was resolution for that I am very happy Highly recommend this book, but don t give up too quickly The admiration sneaks up and evolves into an outstanding read lines I d like to share We watch ourselves and our spouses change, and the work is to constantly recall the reasons you did this in the first place.How could you be this far along in life and still so unsettled How could you know so much and still be baffled by it all 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 doctor newly separated from his wife, Toby has arrived at the age of 41 to discover a city suddenly flush with women who want him Now His phone was aglow from sunup to sundown, the narrator writes, with texts that contained underboob and sideboob and just straight up boob and all the parts of a woman he never dared dream he would encounter After enduring a chronically nerdy adolescence and a tense 14 year marriage, Toby is dazzled by this sexual bounty Could it be, he wonders, that he wasn t as To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post https www.washingtonpost.com entert This witty, crude, comic tragic contemporary story mostly worked for me A little shorter would have worked better a little less repetitiveness even betterBUTI LIKED IT I REALLY LIKED IT 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 from several characters, communication challenges, all in the context of being a touchy controversial novel.I imagine readers thoughts are all over the place from disappointment to greatness and everything in between Personally I found this book to be better than my expectations I saw very low reviews come out the door fast So I wasn t expecting much.For me it provokesself reflection,self depreciation, and self defection.Some of the best parts are near the end twisting my thinking and purpose for the first half of the book Life is shortLife is validating affirmingLife lacks forgiveness Life is annoying infuriating Life is disorienting Life is flawed Life is loveModern life is complex with complicated dynamicsTaffy Brodesser Akner gives us a satire of the bare interior of marriage divorce and all the orgasms of life that come with it It s crazy it s light dark it s funny it s sad.Not to everyone s taste..but it fit mine I enjoyed this fiction catastrophe Flawed flawed and flawed Fleishman is in Trouble gives us Toby Fleishman middle age a short 5 5 tall Jewish guy.I ve heard short Jewish guy jokes much all my life I have a couple of very smart, upper middle class short Jewish guy friends They do make me laughso at times I found Toby Fleishman fairly relatable..Other times just obnoxiously annoying.Set in Manhattan the Hamptons, and Israel Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen 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 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 Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, while balancing work at the hospital, his kids, and his new sexual popularity.He also needs to seriously examine what went wrong in his marriage The dialogue is often crass with it s non stop sexual exploits Yet it s shrewdness and insightful wittiness was thought provoking I didn t find this novel ha ha hilarious but I did laugh I rolled my eyes on occasion..but I was very surprised when from time to time gut truthful sentences bounced off the page He couldn t see his own reflection in the mirror any.As an aging past middle age womanI m not so sure I can see my reflection in the mirror any either Instead I reflect inward 4.5 for the entertaining inventive psychologically intriguing worthy insightful look at petty cruelties a look at me colliding with social changes.