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Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
Published by Scribner on February 2, 2021
my rating: 4.5 stars
Goodreads avg: 3.59 (as of 2022-04-23)
The Pisces was my top book of 2018, so I had high expectations for Broder’s sophomore novel. While I didn’t love this quite as much, I still devoured it. While The Pisces felt like a deep exploration of depression to me, Milk Fed is an exploration of disordered eating. Rachel, the narrator, is a Jewish woman who was raised by an overly critical mother and who uses food restriction as a religion, spending all her time thinking about eating.
I found the portrayal of binge eating in this incredibly spot-on, and thought Rachel’s changing relationship with her body — and Miriam’s — was interesting. I think there are going to be some varying views on the fat representation here and I’m not positive where I fall. Miriam never felt like a fully-formed character to me, but I think that was part of the point: Rachel coveted her in an unhealthy way, obsessing over Miriam’s body the way she obsessed over her own.
Much like The Pisces, I’m not sure who I would recommend this to. It certainly won’t please everyone, but if you’re able to let go and trust Broder I think you’re in for a good ride.