The narrator...is longing for a story to tell ... And God, does she tell it well ... a Tinder-age Portnoy's Complaint ... The great trick of Fleishman Is in Trouble is that it cons the reader into siding with Toby. Brodesser-Akner demonstrates how women get suckered into acquiescing to misogyny by suckering both narrator and reader—and then showing us what she's done. When I saw her trick, I was floored ... Brodesser-Akner...uses a lot of intelligence, a lot of anger, a great sense of humor and a whole new variation on the magic we know from her magazine work. The result is a maddening, unsettling masterpiece, and, yes, you will be moved and inexplicably grateful at the end.
... even better than we were promised. Taffy Brodesser-Akner 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 ... Brodesser-Akner demonstrates an anthropologist’s thoroughness in her study of contemporary adult dating and its catalogue of sexual practices, but her prose, ringing with manic energy, is obscenely funny ... With merciless precision, Brodesser-Akner traces the arcing trajectory of doomed affections: the glorious takeoff, the deluded calm, the shrieking descent ... I haven’t felt this much energy sparking off a novel since Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs. ... Conveying the full tragedy of that predicament in a story that’s often blisteringly funny is the real triumph of this book. Few novels express so clearly that we’re all in trouble.
Fleishman Is in Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, meanders amiably until it becomes, suddenly, all sharpness ... Brodesser-Akner, a Michelangelo of magazine profiles (in an echo of Libby, she used to work for GQ and now lives in New Jersey), writes with a thrilling swagger, though her descriptions can feel cartoonish, more intent on charming an audience than on getting it right ... The book channels Tom Wolfe’s fiction—the gonzo, swooshy sentences, the satirical edge—and Roth is everywhere, too ... There’s an electric surge wherever the raggedness of this language touches Libby’s own story ... Brodesser-Akner prods the form of the marriage novel as though it were a sleeping lump on the other side of the bed. What if there were a third character? ... And yet there is, in the end, a redemption at work, achieved not by novelty—the surprise of perspective—but by old-fashioned insight. As a profile writer, Brodesser-Akner kindles empathy for her famous subjects, and her novelistic approach is similar.