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Fleishman Is in Trouble

A Novel
Written by: Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
Categories: Comedy, Satire
4 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST

“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.” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)

“Funny, dirty, sly, irresistible.” (New York)

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 15 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.

Alma’s Best Jewish Novel of the Year 

“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.” (Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest)

“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.” (Maria Semple)

©2019 Taffy Brodesser-Akner (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"This is a listen for anyone who's married, divorced, dating, and/or cares about women. It's an outstanding audiobook delivered by an exceptional narrator, Allyson Ryan.... Ryan's performance is spot-on throughout. She captures the essence of each character and never misses a beat in expressing the author's insights into life as a woman in the 21st century." (AudioFile Magazine)

“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.” (Emma Straub) 

“This portrait of modern love and marriage is blisteringly funny, searingly accurate, wincingly painful, and - ultimately - both heartbreaking and humane. Fleishman Is in Trouble reminds me of the great novels of the 1960s and 1970s - just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women). Taffy Brodesser-Akner can write the pants off any novelist out there. She’s a star, and this book is a work of utter perfection.” (Elizabeth Gilbert) 

"Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s sharp debut novel is packed with humor and heart. In it, the titular trouble begins when Toby Fleishman realizes that Rachel - his wife of 15 years, from whom he’s now separated - is missing. Where has she gone, and why? This book will have you racing through the pages to find the answers.” (Southern Living

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • B
  • 2019-08-22

drag

It's amazing how little can happen in so many words. The voice narrator was alright, given the content she had to read she did well. The narrator in the story is not credible at all. She can't know their state of mind at this depth by just hearing it from them. There's no ending, which the narrator warned us about. There are a few worthy thought provoking pieces and quotes, but not for the length of the book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paige
  • 2019-07-05

Not uplifting but still complex

Despite this being listed in the comedy section, I did not find myself laughing at this book. For starters the narrator spends most of the book speaking like an angsty, sarcastic teen which took quite a bit to get used to. The writing itself was very repetitive.

Now onto the good stuff:
It takes a long time for this book to reveal what it’s about. It takes an unapologetic look at what it’s like for a women to be successful and how that impacts society and marriages. I think it speaks to some greater truths that take a while to unfold and when they are it’s in a delicate and artful manor.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MHK
  • 2019-06-30

Beautiful, funny, and moving

6/5 stars. Perhaps the best book I've read so far this year. I'm so glad I disregarded the negative reviews.

If you don't like Roth, Updike, or even Frantzen, you should skip this one.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Madeleine
  • 2019-06-24

How Disappointing

I started this book optimistic since the excerpt that was featured on The Cut was very interesting. But with each passing section I found the charters less and less likable. Toby reveals himself to but such an asshole that I had to stop the book multiple times. Maybe him being “flawed” was the point of the book, but in other novels when a charter is that unlikable there is usually one trait or relatable thing that keeps you around...not here.

Overall, the book is a contrived narrative on what a middle aged woman thinks people who get divorced feel, while trying to make “deep” charters. I was very disappointed, and feel like I just wasted all the time I invested. Don’t waste your time or money, just think about how people going through a midlife crisis act and mix in a little divorce.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexandra Cohen
  • 2019-08-13

Fleishman is trouble

This was one of the worst books I ever listened to.
Went nowhere,repetitive, boring .
Story was awful, not a bit funny.
Completely unremarkable, I do not know how it is getting any buzz.
I feel used that I completed it.
Do not wasted your time!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Molly
  • 2019-06-28

Wow, much darker than expected

I am a Taffy Brodesser-Akner fan and had eager anticipated this book. In the beginning, it exceeded all expectations— it was the type of book I did more housework so I could keep listening to. But then...it went from funny to repetitive to depressing to annoying. Maybe I, a 40-something married woman, am not the intended audience. Or maybe I couldn’t emphasize with the characters because I don’t live in Manhattan and their lives seemed so...self-absorbed. At any rate, in the end it came off as a shallow, whiny, bitter repeat of all the cliches of midlife crises and upper middle class angst.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy A
  • 2019-07-08

14 hours I can't get back

Truly such a waste of time. These characters were self-involved, whiny and unsympathetic. The book essentially went nowhere. I kept waiting for something substantive, but there was nothing.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • patty15 in OC
  • 2019-06-26

Tedious

Unlikable characters, long repetitive sentences, disgusting midlife behaviors. For those reviewers who found this "genious," good for you for finding value that completely eluded me.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Christina Rentz
  • 2019-07-20

Will make you think!

Funny and scary and depressing but most of all true. Modern life and its incessant pace.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kimberly Bufkin
  • 2019-07-11

This story is fresh, blunt, relatable, and awesome!

Immediately found this book after hearing the author talk about it... so grateful for it!
I am a 40yr old woman, divorced, business owner, and mother and I am astounded by the truth that this story conveys, but more so in a companionate, messy, and completely ELOQUENT way! So relatably written!
The insight is outstanding yet, not judgmental, and even... hopeful!
I would think to describe it as a coming of age or womanhood, (or marriage counselling?)... but really, it could be summed up as a coming to *acceptance* and I love and appreciate that! Bravo and THANK YOU

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-10-11

Confusion undermines the story

Structural issues undermine the nascent feminist message. What shines through more completely is how toxic Upper East Side New York life can be. Are we down here in the muck supposed to sympathize?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful