Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cleaving *Review*

Riding on the heels of her first book, author Julie Powell's Cleaving: A Story of Meat, Marraige and Obsession was ripe to be a best seller. Turning in her kitchen apron for a butcherhouse cleaver seemed a natural progression. But instead of a fairly good book, which I was hoping for, I encountered a car wreck from the very beginning.

Julie's profanity laced, self indulgent, embarrassingly over honest memoir is not good at all. If Ms. Powell had stuck with the "meat" of the story there might be some redeeming qualities about it. On this topic, meat, Julie is passionate. She sees a slab of animal flesh as a work of art just ready to be sectioned, deboned, and frenched. And she seems to be good at it.

It's when she moves to the marraige and obsession parts of her book, which is the vast majority of pages, that this reader wishes it would qualify as a short story. Julie shares way too much of her failing marraige and subsequent affair with her lover D. Much more than I, or anyone else needs to know. When Julie tries to come across as honest and clever in her confessions she comes across more like pathetic and desperately in need of a therapist.

The only redeeming quality of the book was reading about the author's travels to Argentina, the Ukraine and Tanzania. Here we meet some likable characters and learn a little about their culture. If you could excise the rest of the fat out of this book you might have a grade A cut of a book. Since you can't, I would recommend you not even bother with this porker.