Fleishman Is In Trouble
By Taffy Brodesser-akner
What’s it about? Toby Fleishman has been married to Rachel for fifteen years- some of them happy. When he finally asks Rachel for a divorce, he thinks he knows what to expect. He is sorely mistaken. From dating apps, to custody of the children- nothing goes as planned.
What did it make me think about? Anyone who reads this will think about marriage, child care issues. and the role of women in the workplace. I was so impressed with how Ms. Brodesser-Akner was able to turn the “main child care giver” on its head by making the man (Toby) have that role in this story. Toby shoulders most of the childcare responsibilities and this allows the author more freedom to explore the complicated issues of two working parents. Also, she was able to look at the role of women in todays’ marriages. She does have a few things to say about working outside the home versus not working outside the home. “No one had to tell me it was harder to have a job and be a mother. It was obvious.It was two full-time occupations. It’s just math. Because having a job made you no less of a mother; you still had to do all that shit, too. Keeping track of your kids from afar isn’t easier. Entrusting them to a stranger who was available for babysitting by virtue of the fact that she was incapable of doing anything else is not something that fills a person with faith and relaxation. Now that I have worked and stayed home I can confirm all this. Now that I stay home I can say it out loud. But now that I don’t work, no one is listening.” So maybe Ms. Brodesser-Akner has a strong perspective. I did not always agree with her but it sure makes you think.Should I read it? This is a gem! If you can take reading explicit sex scenes then you will really enjoy this novel. It has a lot to say about marriage and the changing (or not changing) role of women in our society. Don’t you just love a book that keeps you turning the pages and then at the end you realize that the novel actually had a lot to say? Be patient with this one- especially when the narrator changes in a trance way. It took me a few pages to get into it but this is a good book! Quote- “It was all such an insult, the Hamptons. It was an insult to economic disparity. It was an insult to leading a good life and asking hard questions about what one should sacrifice in the name of decency. It was an insult to having enough- to knowing that there was such a thing as enough.” “But also, divorce is about forgetfulness- a decision to stop remembering the moment before all the chaos- the moment they fell in love, the moment they knew they were more special together than apart. Marriage lives in service to those moments. “