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The Smash-Up Reviews

The Smash-Up by Ali Benjamin

The Smash-Up: a deliciously dark satire

Ali Benjamin

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: riverrun
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication date: 23 Feb 2021
ISBN: 9781529409314

A family is upended when their small-town life becomes the latest battlefield in the culture wars in this of-the-moment novel for readers of Meg Wolitzer and Fleishman Is in Trouble

4 stars out of 5
18 Feb 2021

"Read More Benjamin is an absolutely brilliant satirist"

This amazing, dramatic, hilarious debut adult novel from a bestselling children’s writer is about modern America, and by extension modern everywhere...

Benjamin is an absolutely brilliant satirist and deftly juxtaposes the battlegrounds of marriage, parenthood and middle-class aspiration with the fight for truth and justice in the bigger political picture.


3 stars out of 5
Johanna Thomas-Corr
7 Feb 2021

"For all its abundance of themes and ideas, The Smash-Up feels empty because it lacks characters who are fully human"

The Smash-Up is a talking points novel, by which I mean it strains hard to say everything about American politics, activism, social media, Me Too, marriage, capitalism, domestic terrorism — I could go on. Publishers are comparing it to Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble (2019). Both books place the angst of affluent Gen Xers under the microscope; both conceal a feminist jeremiad within a comic structure; and both take pleasure in taunting a male protagonist. Maddy’s flirting includes sending Ethan smutty gifs, wearing his shorts and calling him Daddy.