“Fleishman is in Trouble” is a novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner that was published in 2019. In the book, Toby Fleishman, a recently divorced hepatologist, struggles to strike a balance between his duties as a single father and his professional obligations. The book has garnered significant attention and critical acclaim since its publication, particularly on Metacritic, a website that aggregates reviews from various sources to provide a composite score.
The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the critical reception of “Fleishman is in Trouble” on Metacritic. We will examine the positive and negative reviews of the novel and analyze the themes and issues it addresses. We will also discuss some of the controversies and debates sparked by the novel and its critical reception. By the time this article is finished, readers should have a better understanding of why “Fleishman is in Trouble” has received such positive reviews from critics and readers alike.
About “Fleishman is in Trouble”
“Fleishman is in Trouble” follows the story of Toby Fleishman, a hepatologist in New York City who is going through a divorce with his wife Rachel, a talent agent. The novel explores themes of marriage, divorce, career, and gender roles as Toby tries to balance his job with parenting his children after Rachel disappears. The novel also touches on issues such as infertility, gender roles, and modern parenthood through the perspectives of other characters, including Libby and Seth. The story is also focused on Toby’s experiences with online dating and his reflection on his marriage to Rachel.
Overall, “Fleishman is in Trouble” is a complex and thought-provoking novel that explores the nuances of modern relationships and the challenges of balancing personal and professional aspirations.
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Critical Reception on Metacritic
Using reviews from books, magazines, and websites, a website by the name of Metacritic compiles them and then determines a composite rating based on how well they were written. A higher score denotes more favorable reviews; the score ranges from 0 to 100.
With an average rating of 85 points out of 100 based on 37 reviews, “Fleishman is in Trouble” has received generally positive reviews from critics, according to Metacritic. This indicates a high level of critical acclaim and suggests that the novel is worth reading for those interested in contemporary fiction.
Some positive reviews of “Fleishman is in Trouble” have commended its sharp and insightful writing, its exploration of contemporary relationships and gender roles, and its nuanced and compassionate portrayal of its characters.
The novel has received some unfavorable reviews that bemoan its lack of emotional depth, stereotypical portrayal of gender roles, and pacing. Others contend that the book fails in its exploration of social and political issues like income inequality and systemic racism.
Many reviewers have praised “Fleishman is in Trouble” for its sharp writing, dark humor, and insightful exploration of modern relationships and gender dynamics. Here are some examples of positive reviews and their main points:
“The New York Times Book Review” (Parul Sehgal): “Brodesser-Akner’s humor, honed as a magazine writer, is a sword that skewers at precisely the right points.” The most impressive aspect of this book is how it is simultaneously a domestic drama, a philosophical exploration of love and identity, a feminist manifesto, a workplace satire, and a study of the evolving American male psyche.
In this review, Sehgal praises Brodesser-Akner’s ability to seamlessly weave together multiple themes and genres and commends her sharp and incisive writing.
“NPR” (Annalisa Quinn): “What makes ‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ so good is that it does so many things simultaneously. It’s a domestic drama, an examination of toxic masculinity, a snapshot of our time, a fantastically written page-turner and a feminist critique rolled into one. It’s also very funny.”
Quinn highlights the novel’s ability to tackle a variety of themes while still being entertaining and humorous.
“The Guardian” (Alexandra Heminsley): “Brodesser-Akner has a particular talent for examining modern relationships with laser precision…The prose is acerbic, punchy and so tightly controlled that it could not be called sprawling; yet it provides the space to move between her three key characters.”
Heminsley praises Brodesser-Akner’s ability to capture the nuances of modern relationships, and commends the novel’s tight and controlled writing style.
While “Fleishman is in Trouble” has received largely positive reviews, there are some critics who have been less enthusiastic about the novel. Here are some examples of negative reviews and their main points:
“The Atlantic” (Hannah Giorgis): “While Brodesser-Akner offers a keen sense of the emotional malaise afflicting its characters, ‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ suffers from an unremarkable plot and a lack of structural clarity… Ultimately, the novel fails to justify its structural indulgences, which detract from the strength of its ideas.”
Giorgis criticizes the novel’s structure and plot, arguing that it is unfocused and lacks clarity. She suggests that the novel’s structural experiments ultimately detract from its thematic content.
“The Washington Post” (Ron Charles): “Brodesser-Akner is a wonderfully entertaining writer, but her debut novel is like a reality TV show that you don’t have to watch to understand. The characters are cardboard cutouts, the themes are so familiar that they seem to be floating on the surface of the page, and the climactic revelation is a yawn.”
Charles criticizes the novel’s themes and characters, contending that they are shallow and unoriginal. He suggests that the novel’s climactic revelation is predictable and unexciting.
“Los Angeles Review of Books” (Eric Newman): “In the end, the book is more about Brodesser-Akner and the world she knows so intimately than it is about Toby, Rachel, and Libby. The truth is that you almost always come off as just trying to show off when you set out to write a book like this in the style that Brodesser-Akner has chosen.
Newman suggests that the novel is overly self-indulgent and focused on the author’s own experiences and worldviews. He argues that the novel’s style and structure are more about showing off than telling a compelling story.
Controversies and debates
Despite the mostly positive critical reception of “Fleishman is in Trouble,” the novel has also sparked some controversies and debates. Here are some examples of the debates and disagreements that have emerged:
One of the most controversial aspects of the novel is its treatment of gender and power dynamics. Although some reviewers and readers praised Brodesser-Akner for her nuanced portrayal of the challenges faced by modern women, others criticized the book for reinforcing gender stereotypes and failing to adequately explore the complexities of male-female relationships.
Another point of debate has been the novel’s experimental narrative style. While certain critics laud the novel’s use of various points of view and time periods, others criticize it for being too disjointed and perplexing.
Finally, there have been some debates about the overall critical reception of “Fleishman is in Trouble.” While the novel has received mostly positive reviews, there have been some reviewers and readers who have disagreed with the consensus. Some have suggested that the work is overrated and that the literary establishment has failed to recognize the book’s flaws.
The novel has sparked debates on its treatment of gender dynamics, with some praising its nuanced exploration while others criticizing its lack of engagement with the complexity of the issue. Jo Livingstone argues that it fails to explore the intersection of gender with class and race, while Lionel Shriver defends it by saying that it presents a universal theme that goes beyond gender.
Debatable has been the novel’s experimental narrative approach. While some reviewers praised the book for using various points of view and time periods, others criticized it for being too disjointed and difficult to follow.
In conclusion, “Fleishman is in Trouble” is a critically acclaimed novel that has received mostly positive reviews on Metacritic. A recently divorced doctor in his forties named Toby Fleishman is the protagonist of the book, which follows his quest for purpose and connection in a confusing and disjointed world. The book’s clever humor, perceptive characters, and exploration of difficult subjects like gender, power, and identity are its strong points.
Despite some controversies surrounding its treatment of gender and experimental narrative style, “Fleishman is in Trouble” remains a thought-provoking novel that raises important questions about modern life and relationships. The critical reception on Metacritic has been mostly positive, but there have been disagreements and debates among reviewers and readers. Overall, the novel’s power and relevance in today’s world cannot be denied.
We have an obligation to discuss and assess contemporary literature in a thoughtful and nuanced manner as readers and critics.
By doing this, we can contribute to making sure that crucial viewpoints and voices are heard and that the storytelling medium thrives in the years to come.
So, the reader’s response is requested: what do you think of “Fleishman is in Trouble” and the reviews it has received on Metacritic? Do you share the opinions expressed in the reviews—positive or negative—or do you have your own point of view? Let’s continue the conversation and explore the rich and complex world of contemporary literature together.