cover image Milk Fed

Milk Fed

Melissa Broder. Scribner, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-9821-4249-0

Broder (The Pisces) delivers a bittersweet and erotic account of a woman’s intertwining relationship to food, her mother, and her sexuality. Rachel , a lapsed Jew who works at a Los Angeles talent management agency by day and does stand-up comedy by night, has suffered from anorexia since childhood. But things begin to change after her therapist suggests she take a 90-day communication detox from her overbearing and controlling mother, whose own relationship with eating and fatphobic comments have long contributed to Rachel’s body image troubles. After Rachel meets Miriam, a food-loving Orthodox Jewish woman, and embarks on a passionate affair with her, Rachel breaks her self-imposed “Spartan regimen,” rediscovers life’s simple pleasures, and tries to figure out what will bring her true happiness. With luscious descriptions of delectable foods and fantastical romps through Rachel’s imagination, the novel oscillates between serious and playful, obsessive and free, and explores the difficulties of loving oneself in a world that prizes thinness above all else. This poignant exploration of desire, religion, and daughterhood is hard to resist. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore & Co. (Feb.)