Julie Powell thought cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the craziest thing she'd ever do - until she embarked on the voyage recounted in her new memoir, Cleaving.
Her marriage challenged by an insane, irresistible love affair, Julie decides to leave town and immerse herself in a new obsession: butchery. She finds her way to Fleischer's, a butcher shop where she buries herself in the details of food. She learns how to break down a side of beef and French a rack of ribs - tough, physical work that only sometimes distracts her from thoughts of afternoon trysts.The camaraderie at Fleischer's leads Julie to search out fellow butchers around the world - from South America to Europe to Africa. At the end of her odyssey, she has learned a new art and perhaps even mastered her unruly heart.
©2009 Julie Powell; (P)2009 Hachette
A story for humans. We aren't perfect, we do have faults, well, at least most of us.Chick lit isn't my usual read, but this one was a great choice. The author's reading was great, her voice is not that of a professional reader, but that just makes it more real.
I loved this book. It's VERY different from Julie & Julia, a much darker and real book. Julie shares the realities of a very difficult time in her marriage and not many people would be so honest and open about their own shortcomings. I hope Julie Powell will continue to write. She has a real gift for laughing at herself, even in the worst of times.
The only thing that redeemed this book was that it was read by the author. After reading Julie and Julia I knew the author was a little crass but this book should never have been published. I feel terrible for her husband and even for her lover that their lives have been laid bare before the world. Despite lots of statements to the contrary I don't think the author knows who she is yet and it is sad to read of someone who is so adrift. The story is not worth your credits!
Cleaving isn't like the first book. It's mostly about the author's obsessive love affair. She isn't so likeable any more. She seems to wallow in cheating on her husband. Yes, the book is written well but a lot of yuck. Yuck being her obsession with butchering meat and her obsession with cheating on her hubby. Really, this was kind of a downer. Not what I look for in the books I read.
There was so much controversy over this follow-up to the beloved "Julie and Julia" that I decided I had to give it a listen...I'm glad I did, but I do have to admit that I can see where all the controversy and yes, Julie Powell backlash originated from...if you've made it to the point where you're reading this review (amongst the others) than my guess is you know the onus of the hullabaloo surrounding this memoir: Julie Powell isn't the angel of modern domesticity that was cleverly marketed to us. In fact, she's not a very nice person at all. In "Cleaving" (regardless of what you end up thinking of this book, you still have to admit, that's one heck of a great title) Julie pursues her desire to learn the nearly lost art of butchery with her just as passionate desire for a man that isn't the sainted spouse, Eric, from her first memoir. Many previous fans and critics (even the NPR book critic I might add, which shocked me!) have absolutely roasted Powell on what on the surface does seem like a self-centered, self-indulgent, tawdry recounting of the affair with little regard for the husband that seems to never tire of putting up with this woman's selfishness. This was my first reaction too. In fact, I stopped listening to it for awhile because I was so nauseated by her behavior. Yes, she does vaguely admit to some concept of knowing what she's doing is "inappropriate " - but what bewildered me was that there's never a moment in the whole Re-telling where she says to herself "I should stop doing this because it's MORALLY WRONG and I'm hurting lots of people by doing it." You're certainly not going to walk away from this book liking Julie Powell - and I do find it interesting that she apparently hasn't written anything since - but I will say what I think some people are missing in Cleaving, namely, that this couldn't have been an easy story to tell. Powell comes off as being a deeply self absorbed and flawed woman in the BEST moments of the story, and a needy, selfish stalker in the worst parts, one who is so clueless that she doesn't get that, while her husband might love her so much he's willing to endure anything from her, her lover is more than done with her (even after a year of constant and continuous rejection of all her attempts at contact, she STILL thinks this guy wants to receive a travel journal from her!). I can't help but admire someone who was willing to share a tale so personal, especially one that made them look like such a complete ass. There's certainly a "we are all flawed humans" quality to it all, and the fact is that sometimes, we flawed humans DONT make the right choices, we ARE sometimes self-centered and indulgent, and we DONT always learn our lesson, no matter how deep or hot emotional water our choices land us. I will also say this too: I think that Ms Powell wants to see herself as a tragically flawed, romantic heroine, a "beautiful disaster" archetype, and what I ended up taking away from this story was, she isn't anywhere near as unique and special as she wants to believe she is...she's simply a woman who fell out of love with her husband and doesn't want to admit it, not because of a sense of commitment to him or her vows, but because she likes having both a steak waiting at home for her for dinner and a juicy angus burger to bite into for lunch.
I didn't like the affair and marriage troubles being broadcast so loudly through the book. I loved the butchery parts of the book but I could not get past the rest. She did a great job reading though.
I thought her first novel was very cute and enjoyed it. Now, after having listened to her new book, I find out they pushed back the release date of the book so that audiences would continue to see the Julie and Julia movie......this Julie is nothing like the sweet and zany Julie in the first book. She is whiny, self-indulgent and without morals.....SAVE YOUR CREDIT! Oh...and it also feels a bit like she tried to make this book a new version of Eat Pray Love (which is FANTASTIC)......she didn't succeed.
Many of the reviews were very helpful to me. Julie Powell as the narrator, she did a good job. Heck it was her own story so I wouldn't of wanted some other narrator to do it.
It did take some really great courage for her to write about this/these experiences.
She was very honest and I give her credit for it, but I think she has come off very arrogant and selfish, by wanting her cake and eating it too.
A memoir written by an unscrupulous, self-absorbed woman with no perspective on why she does what she does with her life or how her choices affect her family. Not even remotely interesting, just irritating and sad. I definitely wouldn't consider reading anything else by ms. Powell. Possibly by her husband, though. I'd be interested to know why on earth he apparently stayed with her.
While I don't think it is as good as the first novel, I still found it unable to put this book down. There are some troubling things about the main character personally, but don't we all. I loved her continuing goal setting and zest for life. The chronicles of her adventures also makes this book a must read.
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