‘The Pisces’ by Melissa Broder – The Modern Woman’s Lover


‘The Pisces’ by Melissa Broder (2018) – 270 pages

Here is a comic coarse take on modern love. Our heroine Lucy is 38 and has just broken up with her long-time boyfriend. She is staying in her sister’s beach house on Venice Beach dog sitting and supposedly working on her dissertation on Sappho. In her spare time Lucy attends a love addiction therapy group for women who are all boy-crazy like junior high school girls.

‘The Pisces’ is all about Lucy the narrator’s voice of which some will find refreshingly honest and candid while others will find it self-centered and anxiety ridden. Although the novel makes it clear that Lucy is 38 years old, just by her interests and attitudes expressed, I would have guessed her age at about 16.

On the beach she meets Theo the swimmer and she is immediately attracted to him. He seems different, cooler than the other guys she meets. I won’t give away a major plot point of the story, but let’s just say there is something fishy about Theo.

‘The Pisces’ is a hot and steamy romance story told from the woman’s point of view with lascivious, explicit, and nasty sex scenes.

There are many New Age references in ‘The Pisces’ regarding such items as horoscopes, rose quartz crystals, and magic candles. There is talk of Internet memes and texting, and everyone is relentlessly up to date. There is also talk of getting nails and toenails done in a salon. Since my interest in New Age stuff and getting my toenails done is about zero, this probably was not the right novel for me. So perhaps you readers should take my following criticisms of ‘The Pisces’ with a grain of salt.

The other characters, the women in Lucy’s support group and her previous lovers before she meets Theo, are interchangeable ciphers. That these characters are not developed even to the point where we can tell them apart is one of the major problems with this novel. It is not really worth the effort to keep track of the little backstory these peripheral characters have.

As for Theo, he is a guy who is just too good to be true like the hero of an old TV Western or a police drama. This cardboard wonderfulness of Theo subtracted from my interest in him. But perhaps that is the point, that Theo is an unrealistic love interest.

‘The Pisces’ was the wrong novel for me.


Grade :    C



9 responses to this post.

  1. I think this is the wrong novel for me. Guess the author had to expunge something from his psyche😁

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Yup, wrong for me too. What tempted you to choose it?

    Liked by 1 person


    • Hi Lisa,
      Yes, the title alone should have scared me away. I’m always searching for my next novel to read, and when I read a few positive reviews of something I’m swayed. I should have read some of the one-star reviews at GoodReads first, and then I would never have read The Pisces. 🙂 These one-star reviews were quite enjoyable after I read the novel.



      • *chuckle* I have learned not to take any notice of 5-star reviews – they are mostly written by people who have received ‘a free copy in exchange for an honest review’. I read the 3- and 4 star ones which are often much more reliable, I find.



  3. This has had a lot of buzz on social media, which is usually a turn off for me. Your review indicates my gut instinct about this one is right. It’s not for me either.



  4. Well, I enjoyed your review very much, though I personally was enthusiastic about this book. She is such a good writer, and I loved her dissertation subject, But I have reservations: there are so many masochistic heroines in contemporary novels, and this was one of them. It does make me long to read Doris Lessing or Margaret Drabble, someone with a strong voice!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Hi Kat,
      I read your review of ‘Pisces’ . It shows how two people can have contrasting views of the same novel. Recent novels by young female writers that I have totally enjoyed have been ‘Swamplandia’ by Karen Russell, ‘West’ by Carys Davies, and ‘Fates and Furies’ by Lauren Groff (Although I did not care for her story collection ‘Florida’ very much.
      I never did get into Doris Lessing very much, but am a fan of both Margaret Drabble and her sister A. S. Byatt.



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