Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Cleaving by Julie Powell

Title: Cleaving

Author: Julie Powell

Publication Date: November 2010

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company

Pages: 336

ISBN: 9780316003377

This review is my opinion and I have not been compensated for it in any way.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

Like many others, I fell in love with Julie Powell when I read Julie & Julia, her memoir detailing her ups and downs while cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I loved the book so much that I saw the movie when it came out in theaters. I now own the movie and watch it regularly. 

Julie Powell's first book is the one that inspired me to start cooking, and actually enjoying it. That book earned a spot on my bookshelf of "books that have inspired and shaped me as a person and a reader."

So it wasn't a surprise that I was curious about her second book. The topic (the art of butchery) was not incredibly appealing to me. Neither was the idea that she had an affair. But, I found the book half price at a Borders store closing sale and picked it up. 

With all that being said...I have to now say that I was less than impressed with this book. In fact, I'm downright angry that I wasted so much time on it. 

In the beginning (like the first 30 pages) I thought the whole thing was kind of interesting. Reading about the ins and outs of butchery was fascinating (at first). But that didn't last long. It got old.

Especially because what the book is really about is her 2 year affair and her subsequent obsession with the guy. Her and her husband, Eric, were stepping out on each other throughout the book and it had nothing to do with the art of butchery.

I tried, I tried desperately to find some correlation between the two parts of the story. The only thing I was able to gather was that she was not only trying to distract herself and her readers from her whoring around and let me tell doesn't work! It doesn't distract her or us!

After her and D, her lover, break up she still text messages, calls, writes letters, sends gifts and is all around creepy. She starts sleeping with random people in dark hallways. THEN she decides she has to travel through Argentina, Africa and other various places.

At first, I could understand. I have someone in my past who was able to control my thoughts and actions. He was able to get under my skin and make me do things I wouldn't normally do. He even came into my life within the last few years and made me question certain choices in my life, i.e. my marriage. However, for me, my love for my husband was so strong that I was not tempted away from him. This guy's control over me was over. For Julie Powell, unfortunately, she had not severed those ties yet.

What bothered me the most though is that there is no real resolution to any of this at the end of the book. That is what made me angry. I was just mildly annoyed before the end of the book.

I have a problem with weak individuals and this book made me think of her as weak. So...I'm choosing to TRY to forget I ever read this book and only think of Julie Powell as cute little Amy Adams in the movie Julie & Julia.

If I were you, I would pass this book up. Don't read it. Don't be tempted. Just walk away. It's not worth it.

I give this book 1 star and would give it negative stars if I could. Blah. Time to move on!
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