Sunday, May 30, 2010
I hope they don't make a movie out of Julie Powell's second book, Cleaving. I've just finished reading this latest memoir-ish offering from the author of Julie and Julia, upon recommendation from my sister. I haven't seen the Julie and Julia movie (nor actually read the book - yet) but I'm sure it's innocuous enough. I have read excerpts of Powell's Julie/Julia Project blog, which is comically entertaining while providing ample evidence of Powell's questionable sanity. And Powell's success at turning a passion for cooking into a way out of a shitty job is pretty enviable to those of us stuck in shitty jobs ourselves.
Cleaving would be an okay book if its author was content to merely chronicle her obsession with learning the butchering trade. I didn't grow squeamish at Powell's descriptions of turning animals into entrees; after all, I grew up in a family of fisherpeople, so I know that flounder don't come from the ocean ready for the pan in uniform rectangular blocks. Heck, I've even eaten meat that had a name, courtesy of my sister & brother-in-law's sheep herd. But when Powell's tale turns to the way she rips her husband's heart apart, even if figuratively, via an affair that fulfills some masochistic need she didn't realize she had, I found myself not wanting to read the gory details. Oh, sure, Powell suffers because she sees how she makes her husband suffer. As a reader, though, I didn't want to suffer along.
I acknowledge that many writers use their craft as a form of therapy. Powell surely earned enough from the success of Julie and Julia, though, to afford a real therapist to work out her problems with. Maybe I just don't read enough (any) mainstream writing to appreciate the appeal and marketability of the sort of writing Powell is paid to indulge in.
And maybe, if Powell is the masochist she claims to be, she'd be interested in trying my job for her next book.
Posted by intelliwench at 5/30/2010 08:07:00 AM