Summary and book reviews of Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is in Trouble

A Novel

by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner X
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
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  • Published:
    Jun 2019, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp
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About this Book

Book Summary

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 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 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.

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 had never given him even a first glance. No, these were women 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 ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Although the characters are a narrow group of firmly elite and upper-class Manhattanites...the greater themes will most likely resonate with many readers. All in all, Fleishman is in Trouble is an astute look at the complexities of long term relationships—both romantic and platonic—and what it means to grow and change while simultaneously staying devoted and committed.   (Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"[A] sharp and tender-hearted debut ... While novels about Manhattan marriages and divorces are hardly a scarce commodity, the characters in this one are complex and well-drawn, and the author's incisive sense of humor and keen observations of Upper West Side life sustain the momentum. This is a sardonically cheerful novel that readers will adore.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Firing on all circuits, from psychological insight to cultural acuity to narrative strategy to very smart humor. Quite a debut!"

Author Blurb Emma Straub
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.

Author Blurb Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
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.

Author Blurb Maria Semple
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.

Author Blurb Tom Perrotta
Fleishman Is in Trouble is a marvel, full of shrewd observations, barbed wit, and deep insight. Taffy Brodesser-Akner reveals the twisted hearts of her characters - and the twisted soul of contemporary America - with an eye that is at once pitiless and full of compassion for our human foibles. This is a remarkable debut from one of the most distinctive writers around.

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Beyond the Book

Metals and the Human Diet

Chocolate cake adorned with gold leafToby Fleishman, of Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, is a hepatologist, a doctor who specializes in treating the liver, gall bladder and pancreas primarily. At one point in the novel, he diagnoses a patient with a genetic disorder called Wilson's disease. This rare condition causes copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other organs, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, clumsiness, confusion, and, if untreated, death.

I was surprised to learn that we all ingest—and require—small amounts of copper in our diet. Copper aids in the absorption of iron, contributing to healthy blood and bones. It is naturally absorbed into plant matter, which we then eat either directly, or indirectly through the animals we ...

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