I’m thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for superb debut Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Thank you to Anne Cater and Wildfire Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
A blistering satirical novel about marrriage, divorce and modern relationships, by one of the most exciting new voices in American Fiction.
Finally free from his nightmare of a marriage, Toby Fleishman is ready for a life of Tinder dating and weekend-only parental duties. But as he optimistically looks to a future of few responsibilities, his life turns upside-down as his ex-wife Rachel suddenly disappears.
While Toby tries to find out what happened – juggling work, kids and his new, app-assisted sexual popularity – his tidy narrative of a spurned husband is his sole consolation.
But if he ever wants to really understand where Rachel went and what really happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen it all that clearly in the first place . . .
About the author:
Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. She has also written for GQ, ESPN the Magazine, and many other publications.
FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE is her first novel.
Oh my goodness, I absolutely adored this book! I’m not sure where to even begin with just how powerfully honest and insightful Fleishman Is In Trouble is. I’d heard a lot of good things about Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut novel, but I still didn’t quite know what to expect when I started it. It isn’t a fast paced read by any means, taking a few chapters to settle into the story, but once I did I could not put it down until I’d finished the very last page.
I think this is a book that will appeal to readers with…slightly more life experience, shall I say? It most definitely isn’t a book for everyone, that’s for sure. But I loved it! Beautifully written, it is a brutally honest and insightful story about marriage, divorce and modern relationships.
For the majority of the book we see life through the eyes of Toby Fleishman, a man who believes he has never quite reached his full potential or had enough ambition to rise to the top. Unlike his now ex wife, Rachel, who works long hours and is constantly on the lookout for the next opportunity, Toby has been content to just drift along. But now, newly single Toby is beginning to see things from a different perspective. Now 41, he embraces the online dating scene, suddenly finding himself to be more desirable to women than ever before! Free from the responsibility of a wife and family, he begins to make the most of his newfound freedom. But then his life is turned completely upside down when Rachel disappears…
Now in sole charge of his children and feeling sorry for himself, Toby must somehow learn to navigate this new world he finds himself in. With the help of his family and friends, Toby juggles work, children and his new dating app social life, dining out on his role as the poor, spurned husband whose ex wife has left him in the lurch.
But then the novel is turned on its head as Rachel takes over the narrative. And her version of events is very different to the ‘woe is me’ way Toby painted things. Taffy Brodesser-Akner delves into how gender roles have changed and how a modern marriage is a very different beast to what it used to be. Toby feels emasculated by his wife being the main bread winner, unable to accept what he considers to be his ‘lesser role’ in the family dynamic.
To be honest, Toby comes across as totally self absorbed throughout the majority of the story and isn’t an easy character to like. He holds his wife in such low regard, never really appreciating her at all, taking both her and their marriage for granted from the very beginning, right up until it crumbled beneath his feet.
But then Rachel isn’t without her faults either, neither party truly taking the time to talk to each other, to understand how the other one was feeling.
It’s hard to believe Fleishman Is In Trouble is a debut novel. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s writing is so sharp and accomplished, with her powerfully honest portrayal of relationships holding a mirror up to modern day society as a whole. A thought provoking, easily relatable novel (especially to those of a certain age), I can certainly see why it has received so much well deserved praise!
A stunning debut novel that I would highly recommend.
Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
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