Book Review: Cleaving

CleavingCleaving by Julie Powell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had two very different reviews from two trusted friend sources. I haven’t read Julie & Julia (nor seen the movie), although I always think I have, because I read “My Life in France” which is very different (I’m guessing).

Friend #1 said she really enjoyed the butcher parts but was annoyed with the Buffy references. Friend #2 said the butcher parts made her consider vegetarianism, but the Buffy references made her think of me. (Come to think of it, that doesn’t mean the Buffy references weren’t annoying. May need to ask for clarification.)

My take? I loved the butcher parts and briefly decided that I might need to apprentice myself to a butcher, just like the author (who was really working hard on that whole “Cleaving” metaphor, am I right?), or at the very least, learn to make my own sausages. The Buffy references were cute at the beginning, but got annoying, especially when I kept finding places where really awesome references would’ve been super appropriate. (What? I’ve seen all seven seasons at least a dozen times.)

Overall, I didn’t like the author very much. The way she treated her long-suffering husband was a little appalling. She is a barely-functioning alcoholic who seems to be looking for something that doesn’t exist.

I really liked the first part of the book (minus the stuff about her personal life which was sordid without being interesting), and loved hearing all about her apprenticeship.

Once she finished up at the butcher shop, I found myself wishing the book was over, too. It felt drawn out for the sake of a word count and a pre-existing contract. It certainly didn’t make me want to read her first book.

I’m glad I read it (really, really liked the butchering stuff), and equally glad that it was a library book (although I wouldn’t mind having a few of the recipes).

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