If you’ve been visiting this site regularly for some years now, you know we are Taffy fans here. (Taffys? Taffinators? Shouldn’t writers have stans too? Like their own Beyhives?) That would be Taffy Brodesser-Akner, known for writing some of the best profiles of the last decade. “New Taffy!” is what my friends and I immediately text to each other whenever a Taffy piece comes out. We react to a new Taffy drop the same way we would react to a new song dropping. Taffy’s writing, however, is much more reliable. Taffy’s writing is never sh-t. And it’s also never short. I don’t understand the people who complain about the length of essays. For me, it’s always a disappointment when a Taffy profile is over, I don’t ever want it to stop.
Which is one of the reasons I love her book, Fleishman is in Trouble, so much. This is an extended profile. This is Taffy using her exceptional skill in profile-writing to write a profile about characters she created. As Beyoncé and Taylor Swift and Ariana stans might say about their faves – ugh, her mind!
Fleishman is in Trouble is more than a profile about people though. It’s also a profile on marriage, on divorce, it’s a profile on identity, and our relationships with our identities. And it’s a profile of anger – who’s allowed to express it, when we’re allowed to express it, or through whom we’re able to express it. This is in my opinion, no hyperbole, a master work, and Taffy is a master at work. All the work she’s been doing for the last 15 years has brought her to this work, this giant of a novel that does so much while still feeling intimate, accessible, and familiar.
I spoke to Taffy last night in Toronto at an event to celebrate her achievement. Yes, she is as empathetic and funny and thoughtful and insightful as you think – and want – her to be. She is also generous. She’s generous with her work in a way that, well, some authors (basically men) aren’t and don’t make an effort to be. Taffy doesn’t make her writing and the process that goes into it mysterious. Her work and her attitude about her work is… available. You know why? It’s because she believes in it. When you believe in something, you’re happy to share it.
Fleishman is in Trouble is available now. It’s TAFFY. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?
Yours in gossip,