“Cleaving” By Julie Powell
The subtitle says it all. A story of marriage, meat, and obsession.
Though this is right on the cover, this book still surprised me. In the afterward there is a interview with the author herself. She says that there is a difference between the people introduced to her through her first blog and the resulting book and the people who just saw the movie “Julie and Julia”. I agree with her in that if I had just watched the movie and then read this book I would be confused. The movie as Julie says “is a wonderful film, but it is a considerably cleaned up and simplified version of my life” (pg 4 readers guide). Then I enjoyed her imagery of conjuring up “visions of Amy Adams, 1) coated in meat schmutz and wielding a cleaver, and 2) being tied down and spanked by an adulterous lover”.
Like I said the book, “Cleaving” surprised me. Even after watching the movie ” Julie and Julia” then reading the book “Julie and Julia” it took me a little bit to realize life is never as simple as what they show us in the movies. Still The obsession is what struck me to the core. We all, my self included, could all go down this rabbit hole of building a person up to God like proportions. It is never a good idea and always ends badly.
Though I am surprised by her lack of enthusiasm in saving her marriage. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist, but if you try so hard to stay with a person why not make the marriage work. I don’t think that she ever thought of really leaving her husband when she was having her affair for two years. Even when he started seeing someone else off and on. I just don’t get marriage like this. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. So you are either in the marriage or not. I think that Julie was just afraid of change. That she could not and maybe to this day still cannot leave her husband because that is all that she has known.
Her unwavering willingness to become a butcher is the backbone of the book. I however find it not of consequence. She just uses it to escape. Escape her marriage and her obsession. If she had not found a butcher to apprentice her she would have found some other outlet for her feelings of guilt and debauchery.
This is a person who should be celebrating her accomplishments instead she is self destructing and this just hits a little too close to home for me. Though I’m not in anyway her. No affair, no drunkenness, or bad anonymous sex to try and make my lover jealous. I do have this tendency to get myself stuck and then spiral into self loathing.
In the end I like Julie Powell. Her obsession with Buff the Vampire Slayer is right up my ally, I think if we meet we could be friends. Though I would have to drink more alcohol.
I wish that her marriage was more resolved in the end, but at least she got over her obsession and put her adulterous lover back in the proper realm of being. As far as I know she is still working at the Butcher shop, hacking away at meat. The question still is, what is going on between her and Eric? My world may never know.
Below is her website. Though not very fancy. It’s slightly informative and I know I’ll keep checking back for another book in her saga.
As always, I appreciate your comments or book recommendations. ~Dianna