Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cleaving by Julie Powell

This last week has been a strange mix of "finding yourself" books for me.  I started with Eat, Pray, Love.  I've seen the movie and didn't love it, I found the book far more engaging and realistic.  Who can disagree with finding inner peace through homemade pasta and wine, meditation and yoga, and lots of sex and travelling.  Not me!  Next I read The Secret Life of Bees.  I loved it, I laughed and cried and cried some more. 

I use those two books to show that I appreciate a good story of personal searching for meaning.  I appreciate the bizarre and unlikely lengths that people go to put their lives back together.  This brings us to Cleaving.  Written by the author of Julie and Julia - which I read, and liked the story and idea of cooking difficult recipes to mirror your life.  Cleaving is a whole other story.

Apparently, after the success of Julie and Julia, Julie's marriage falls apart.  She starts sleeping with another man, her husband gets a girlfriend and she decides to learn how to butcher meat.  As a sometimes almost, I still eat chicken and fish, kinda vegetarian I hadn't expected to be bothered by this but the explanations are graphic (when she compares a cow body to a human body to explain what she is hacking up), and also boring (pages upon pages).  I hate to do this, but I admit, I skimmed over a lot of this stuff.

She also, I think unreasonably, hates women who come into the store and order boneless skinless chicken breast - which happens to  be one of the staples in my diet.  Maybe this is when I started disliking the book.  Or maybe it was when she moved out without breaking up with her husband and travelled to Buenos Aires, then Kiev, Tanzania and Japan all without reason.

*Spoiler alert* there is no happy Disney ending, she does not find any meaning in her travels, or her random men, there is no conclusion and in the thank you section she mentions that most of her family and friends declined reading the book.  I advise you do the same and skip this one.  I wish I had.

1 comment:

  1. I would think that someone who was just stung in the ear by a hornet, would NOT enjoy 'the secret life of bees!' I read that book about 7 months ago and also thoroughly enjoyed it. It was one of those 'deep, inner searching books' but in a light way and was totally enjoyable.