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Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession
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Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession

2.4 of 5 stars 2.40  ·  rating details  ·  3,462 ratings  ·  923 reviews
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 Fleische
Kindle Edition, 1, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Little, Brown and Company; (first published 2009)
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i hated this book. i read julie & julia &, you know, i didn't think julie powell was the next shakespeare or anything, but she managed to pull together a better book than most bloggers-turned-authors out there. i was engaged with the story. i enjoyed the prose in an auto-pilot brain kind of way. i figured this book would be more of the same--philosophical insights about her personal life shared through a prism of foodie-ness. & i guess that's what it was, but it was also unspeakably ...more
La Petite Américaine
May 16, 2010 La Petite Américaine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chicks who need to get a divorce.

Let's be honest here.

No one likes Julie Powell.

We all bought her first book because of the lovable giant that is Julia Child and the story of a promising culinary project. We had enough of those pleasant distractions to kindly ignore the loudmouth attention-whore Julie Powell, despite the fact that she was running around the background screaming "Look at me! Look at me, damn you!!" (What do you want to bet she was a theater major?)

The problem is, her followup gives us none of the positi
After reading Cleaving, I can't decide if this is a memoir from the James Frey school of memoirs (i.e. details and events are so outrageous as to seem more fictional than not) or if Julie Powell is actually telling the truth and therefore needs some serious serious mental health help.

This really isn't the story of Powell learning to butcher. Instead, it's the story of Powell's trainwreck marriage and personal life, which is so gruesome that you *want* to look away, but you just *can't*. After a
Oh boy. The essence of Julie Powell's new book centers around her two year affair with a sleazy, unattractive loser she knew from college (her husband Eric knows and instead of taking a stand that she end it, just makes passive-aggressive quips about it).

Between all the obsession, there's an alternating story about Julie as she learns the art of butchering. The two stories have virtually nothing to do with each other and I suspect the butchery was just thrown in as some sort of an attempt at a n
Rachel Cooper
I only kept going to the end because I was REALLY hoping that her poor long-suffering husband would kill her. He didn't.
I haven't read or seen Julie and Julia. So I had no opinion on Julie Powell one way or another, except that I think the casting of Amy Adams probably means to an extent at least she was a bit of a sweetheart.

So, to me, the first half of this audio deserves 5 stars. To follow up your momsy bestseller with a book in which you juxtapose butchery and buggery deserves my applause. She is FEARLESS in talking about her desire for rough sex, her extramarital affair, and her obsessions. As well as talkin
May we (I speak for the collective of goodreads here) puh-lease add a "negative" star rating, simply and exclusively for Cleaving? Please! If I could give it less I would, but I will settle for a mere "didn't like it" when indeed I hated it. Why did I finish it? I'm embarrassed to say I was rooting for the husband in the end. I was hoping against hope that he would man up and leave this egotistical, manic depressive, selfish, negative, attention seeking slut I used to call a good writer. How cou ...more
To Julie's Editor: DO YOUR FUCKING JOB!

To Julie's Publisher: All future Powell books will be returned unsold, so don't bother. She was clearly a one-hit wonder.

To the douchebag men who want to bang slutbag Julie: Just run and avoid this hot mess.

To Julie: You had so much potential and you absolutely, positively blew it. Your immature little brain just couldn't help itself and you let your truly sickening view of stranger fucking weigh more heavily in your book (not to mention your life and yo
As Dorothy Parker once said, "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

This book was dense, intensely personal, grotesque, in the same way that a microscope can be grotesque in its intimate examination, and not that much fun to read, which was really the killing blow.

The butchery sections were interesting, even poetic, but the heavy-handedness of her constant relation of how she saw her marriage and affair in comparison with what she learned as a but
Elevate Difference
Julie Powell wrote a blog called the Julie/Julia Project, which was turned into a book entitled Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, and last summer Julie & Julia hit the big screen as a movie featuring Meryl Streep. Admittedly, Julie & Julia was a heartwarming, sticky sweet account of Powell’s mission to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The blog/book/movie led us to believe that Powell was a somewhat quirky woman who loved to cook, occa ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'll give Julie Powell one thing: She's brave. She's incredibly flawed and puts everything out there in this book. And I do mean everything. I guess there's such a thing as airing too much of your dirty laundry! I won't be spoiling anything by telling you this, since it's all revealed early in the book, but Julie -- who wrote lovingly about her marriage in her first book, Julie & Julia, does an abrupt about face in this book. It's a real shocker, this one. After she got famous, her life fell ...more
Julie Powell's life is falling apart and it is ALL HER FAULT. She's cheating on her husband with a man she previously cheated on him with in college. She falls in love with the man and even considers leaving her husband for him, even as the lover pulls away from her and stops returning her calls. As the book progesses, she continues to pull away from her loving and supportive husband and desperately and needily clings to the lover, stalking him and purchasing $300 french scarves for him even aft ...more
This is the problem with getting most of my books from the library. I walk in without a specific book in mind, browse around, think "why not?" and end up with a disaster.

I'm not a huge fan of Julie Powell anyway. So, she cooked her way through a cookbook. So, since when is that remarkable? There was a time, in our not-too-distant past, when folks used cookbooks on a regular basis. This was considered normal.

BUT. This is neither here nor there.

I had some hopes for "Cleaving" because I thought
this book made me furious. i read julie & julia and liked it well enough, although i felt like there was no strong resolution of the narrative like you need - even in a memoir. then i saw the movie and like most people thought meryl streep was amazing and julie was eh.

after some thought i decided this was because julie powell is fundamentally a little bit unlikeable. i think they cast perky amy adams in it to try to counter that quality she has, but to no avail. she's just got enough of a w
When we last saw that saucy Julie Powell, she was a sweaty rosacea mess of marrow-crusted fingernails and damn-near oozing butter from her pores, at the finish line of a year-long Julia Childs' marathon fraught with self flagellation, hard liquor, and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" quotations.

"Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession," is what happened after the book deal and the movie deal: More restlessness, in the key of the restlessness that prompted her first project-turned-blog-turn
Stop ranting about the evils of Julie Powell. I've been reading a lot of horrible reviews of this book, and I can't help but think these readers are just barking up the wrong tree. Either these people loved the quaint life promoted in Julie & Julia too much, they take literary achievement too seriously, or they just plain have no experience to relate to. If you have never lost an important relationship in your life due to your own destructive nature, keep scrolling down the reading list. You ...more
Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, by Julie Powell

Julie Powell's penchant for whining carries from her previous novel into "Cleaving." While reading the book, I actually felt very bogged down and depressed, especially after seeing page after page of her whining about her troubled marriage and pathetic affair. I call her affair pathetic because even after it's clear the other man doesn't want her, she stalks him, writes to him, texts him, and doesn't give up for two years (and th
Remember Julie Powell? Cute, sweet, Julie Powell so adorably portrayed by Amy Adams in the film Julie and Julia? Well, that Julie Powell and the one in Cleaving bear only a couple of resemblances: the hangdog husband Eric, and an annoying tendency to whine. In Bad Mother, Ayelet Waldman talks about how people with bipolar disorder make the best memoirists because they tend to overshare-- to lack the inhibition that makes most people stop talking about the most intimate details of their lives. Wh ...more
It has been a long time since I read Julie & Julia (although I saw the movie much more recently). I was confused about people who'd read the book more recently talking about how Julie was unlikable. But I can get that. I don't readmemoirs about people I want to be friends with - I'm fine with them being slightly unpleasant since I won't have to deal with them once I'm done with the book. Ms. Powell is very self-centered, obsessive, and it's uncomofrtable watching how she hurts her husband an ...more
Irena Smith
I have one word to say about this book: TMI. Picked it up because I was absolutely charmed by Julie's spontaneous, totally profane, utterly engaging voice and madcap humor (and indifferent attention to, um, kitchen cleanliness) in Julie & Julia. I was hoping to find more of the same in Cleaving, but nooooo.... apparently, such is the sense of false intimacy fostered by blogs that in this book Julie decides we want to know EVERYTHING about her personal life. Not just the cooking, not just the ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
So if you enjoyed Julie & Julia, you shouldn't spoil that experience by reading this book--or even the rest of this review. Cleaving aspires to boldly lay bare the inner workings of a global industry and an intimate relationship, but it falls short in both spheres. Though Powell is at her best when writing about meat, these sections are too few--and too graphic--to sustain the story. "The squeamish--morally and otherwise--should read elsewhere," advises the New York Times Book Review. Powell ...more
Jamie Langes
Raw and Oddly Engaging...

So many people have reviewed this book and thought it was horrid. I have an alternative perspective and it's actually a book I have read several times (I like Julie & Julia too, but this book is not in the same vein, so if you are looking for the Julie in that book, she's not here in Cleaving).

Perhaps on purpose (and I may be giving too much credit to the author & editors), but this book is very raw. It's about butchering, yes, but the storyline offers a look at
I love books. I love food. I love books about food. I even liked "Julie and Julia" very much, because the author was so darn likeable. But "Cleaving" is awful. Maybe I have less sympathy for a rich authoress who is cheating on her nice husband than I did when she was a struggling temp who just loved Julia Child. Maybe it was the endless meat/sex metaphor, because ten thousand pages of THAT won't get old. Maybe it was the racist travel-to-find-myself plot (actual last line for a chapter: "I pin m ...more
At the end, I was so bored with the book that I skimmed all of her travels and read the end to see how she wrapped things up and called it a day. Who knew that obsession and kinky sex could eventually become so tiresome? I enjoyed her butcher shop apprenticeship but the meat saga also became tiresome once she traveled abroad since she primarily observed. Plus I was waiting for some epiphany that never came. Still self-absorbed and Buffy-obsessed at the end, just more resigned to her fate.
Julie Powell is an engaging writer. But Julie Powell should never again write about herself.

Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame has written the second installment in her culinary journey, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession. Despite the success of her first novel, Julie is still having a crisis of self, this time one that involves an affair with a long-time acquaintance, a person we know only as 'D'. Rather than using food as a means to self-discovery, this time Julie uses food
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Powell is back... and this time she's chucked Mastering the Art of French Cooking in favor of extracting the internal organs of various animals. Don't forget, she's also cheating on her husband and obsessing about entrails. There's just no end to her versatility - in one book she's a spunky gal downtrodden by a dead-end job but nurturing her soul through food (Julie & Julia) and in the next, she's cleaving a pig head in two with a skil-saw before having gross anonymous sex in a hallway ...more
Wow, I was so fired up to write a review of this book and then I found one that says everything I have been sharing: Basically, I liked Julie & Julia, so when I found Cleaving at a neighbor's house in a box, I picked it up. Yeah, there was a reason it was on the street. It is a self-indulgent and narcissistic account of her journey to become a butcher, with elements from her personal life added for "spice," haha. I was shocked to read in the acknowled ...more
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Julie Powell was born and raised in Austin, Texas, where she first fell in love with cooking — and her husband, Eric. She is the author of a cooking memoir, Julie & Julia, which was released in 2005. Her writing has appeared in Bon Appétit, The New York Times, House Beautiful, and Archaeology Magazine, among others. She lives in Long Island City, Queens.
More about Julie Powell...
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living Fort Oglethorpe (Images of America: Georgia) The Quest of the Peace Stone Series: Where Magic and War Thrives

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“Like the muscles knew from the beginning that it would end with this, this inevitable falling apart... It's sad, but a relief as well to know that two things so closely bound together can separate with so little violence, leaving smooth surfaces instead of bloody shreds.” 25 likes
“My brother wrote another refrigerator magnet poem, when he was probably nineteen or twenty: 'When the flood comes/ I will swim to a symphony/ go by boat to some picture show/ and maybe I will forget about you.' How did he know way, way back then? How is it I know only now?” 3 likes
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