ARC Review: Milk Fed

Rachel is twenty-four, a lapsed Jew who has made calorie restriction her religion. By day, she maintains an illusion of existential control, by way of obsessive food rituals, while working as an underling at a Los Angeles talent management agency. At night, she pedals nowhere on the elliptical machine. Rachel is content to carry on subsisting—until her therapist encourages her to take a ninety-day communication detox from her mother, who raised her in the tradition of calorie counting.

Early in the detox, Rachel meets Miriam, a zaftig young Orthodox Jewish woman who works at her favorite frozen yogurt shop and is intent upon feeding her. Rachel is suddenly and powerfully entranced by Miriam—by her sundaes and her body, her faith and her family—and as the two grow closer, Rachel embarks on a journey marked by mirrors, mysticism, mothers, milk, and honey.

Pairing superlative emotional insight with unabashed vivid fantasy, Broder tells a tale of appetites: physical hunger, sexual desire, spiritual longing, and the ways that we as humans can compartmentalize these so often interdependent instincts. Milk Fed is a tender and riotously funny meditation on love, certitude, and the question of what we are all being fed, from one of our major writers on the psyche—both sacred and profane.

Title: Milk Fed
Author: Melissa Broder
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Genre: General Fiction, Erotica
Age Range: Adult
Trigger Warnings: Eating disorder, Self-harm, Toxic family relationships, Homophobia, Emotional abuse
Rating: ★★★★☆

Melissa Broder isn’t for everyone, but she is definitely for me. I devoured her previous books and was excited to get a review copy for Milk Fed. Broder knows how to write about such difficult topics while staying sexy, comical, and thought-provoking. This novel is filled with food, sex, and religion.

Did anyone genuinely like anything? Most art was bad. I preferred the work of dead people. At least the dead weren’t on Twitter.”

Please stop here if you get triggered with eating disorders. We follow Rachel, who we are instantly shown to have a bad relationship with food and her mother. She has a daily ritual at a fro-yo shop where she fills her cup just to the brim with plain yogurt. One day, a new girl at the shop assists her and convinces her to get toppings, causing Rachel to binge and become obsessed with the new girl’s lifestyle. Rachel is hungry to find motherly love since her own mother has never shown her the unconditional love she seeks.

“Maybe that’s all that prayer was anyway—a cosmic google. In that case, any iPhone could be a synagogue.”

I loved the bisexuality representation and I always relate to Broder’s writing having spent the majority of my twenties living in Los Angeles. The dating culture Melissa writes isn’t that unrealistic. If you are a fan of Ottessa Moshfegh or Daisy Buchanan, then you will love Milk Fed!

Thank you to Bloomsbury Circus and Netgalley for the arc! This title was released March 4, 2021.

Find Milk Fed: Goodreads | Storygraph
Buy Milk Fed: (UK) Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Amazon UK // (INTL) Book Depository

Melissa Broder is the author of the novels MILK FED (Feb 2, 2021) and THE PISCES, the essay collection SO SAD TODAY, and five poetry collections, including SUPERDOOM: Selected Poems (Summer 2021) and LAST SEXT.

Broder has written for The New York Times, Elle.com, VICE, Vogue Italia, and New York Magazine‘s The Cut.

Poems appear in POETRY, The Iowa ReviewGuernicaFence,  et al. She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for poetry.Broder received her BA from Tufts University and her MFA from City College of New York. She lives in Los Angeles.

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we are all stardust and stories…

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