Cleaving: Book summary and reviews of Cleaving by Julie Powell

Cleaving

A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession

By Julie Powell

Cleaving
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2009,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

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 Fleischer's, a butcher shop where she buries herself in the details of food. She learns how to break down a side of beef and French a rack of ribs - tough, physical work that only sometimes distracts her from thoughts of afternoon trysts.

The camaraderie at Fleischer's leads Julie to search out fellow butchers around the world - from South America to Europe to Africa. At the end of her odyssey, she has learned a new art and perhaps even mastered her unruly heart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"How on earth could New York recipe nut Julie Powell top the triumph of her first book, Julie and Julia ....The answer is, of course, that she couldn’t. But she has had a jolly good stab at it — literally. .... Powell's book is highly readable, but there is something about it that doesn’t quite hang together. ... Ultimately, Powell is saved by her beautiful writing, effortlessly ­filling pages with virtuoso descriptions of animal slaughter and human travail. .... Still. I can't help feeling her eyes might have been slightly bigger than her stomach on this one." - The Sunday Times (UK)

"My God, I would hate to read this book if I was poor old Eric (husband). He comes across as slow and steady, and sometimes cuddly. But what his wife wants is brutal — or, at the very least, vigorous — sex with her lover, and she keeps on telling us about it...." - The Spectator (UK)

"As long as Powell's story stays within the picturesque micro-community of Fleisher's, all is well. Her narrative is vivid, well structured, intense and moving. It is when she ventures out into the untidy precinct of the rest of her life that things go wrong." - Daily Mail (UK)

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Author Information

Julie Powell Author Biography

Photo: Kelly Campbell

After a misspent youth involving loads of dead-end jobs and several questionable decisions, Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia, has found her calling as a writer-cum-butcher. She lives in Long Island City, Queens, when she isn't in Kingston, NY, cutting up animals.

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