Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

‘It didn’t matter where I lived — Mid-City, Mid-Wilshire, or Miracle Mile. It didn’t matter where I worked; one Hollywood bullshit factory was equal to any other. All that mattered was what I ate, when I ate, and how I ate it.’


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.

What I thought

This was a very strange, but captivating novel. I honestly wasn't sure whether to read/review it or not, but I read an article in Hazlitt and another in Vogue, which dives deep into the novel, and why Broder wrote it, and I felt more comfortable reading it after.

Living with an eating disorder, I thought I might find this triggering, but I didn't. You might, however, so proceed with caution. I ended up finding it pretty relatable.

Themes of love, longing, and desire were well conveyed by Broder, and I really loved the introduction of Miriam, who not only filled the physical gap for Rachel by giving her permission to eat, but in a sense, permission to love as well. 

Much of eating disorders are about permission, and having Miriam as this vehicle to show that was interesting. 

I was gripped from beginning to end.

by Petra Collins

Melissa Broder
is the author of the novels Milk Fed 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,, VICE, Vogue Italia, and New York Magazine‘s The Cut. Her poems have also appeared in The Iowa Review, Guernica, Fence, 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. 

Milk Fed is available for purchase at Indigo and on Kobo. Check GoodReads for additional retailers.

FYI I purchased my copy of Milk Fed so this was not written in exchange for a free copy