Cleaving? I’m Seething.
Oh to be Julie Powell. The blogging darling of “Julie & Julia” fame. The gal who cooked her way through “The Art of French Cooking,” getting in touch with her inner Child along the way in her charming, too-small apartment. The gal with the doting husband, who puts up with her all-kinds of culinary crazy.
After reading Powell’s latest novel [which isn't so] “Cleaving,” I’d rather not take her place. I plucked the book fresh off the shelf, not unlike choosing a bacon-wrapped tenderloin from the grocery. Thinking I knew what I was getting, until I was a few bites in. I had recently heard the rumblings that Powell had been having an on-again, off-again affair with an old college friend/flame. Lame. So I started reading with her adultery in mind. And she fessed up to it, in no time.
Between musings about the meat biz [post Julie/Julia and in the thick of her affair she became obsessed with becoming a butcher's apprentice] that are as vivid and violent as the slaughterhouse details in “Skinny Bitch”, travels abroad [again, in the name of meat] and funky recipes I’m not that likely to include in my three squares every day [Braised Pork Cheeks, anyone?] Powell is about as narcissistic, and masochistic as any gal can get.I’m pretty sure she purposely left out any social disease details, which is odd because within the 300+ pages of the book she regales about [in her words] fucking her lover, D [spoiler: his real name reveal, Damien, doesn't take place until the book's end], her husband Eric sleeping with his own lover and sex with anonymous fellas in-between. The tale is also riddled with alcohol. Powell drinks [sometimes alone, sometimes in questionable company] multiple bottles of wine to unwind after hours daily [I'm not really judging on the wine...] and I’m now pretty convinced that her relationship with Eric [which, as far as I know after googling is still a union] is made possible with the aide of vodka gimlets and cases of chardonnay.
I’d also venture a guess that anyone who has seen any media or photos of Powell could describe her in one mediocre adjective: mousy. Again, this may be the booze blowing smoke up her ass, and I’m all for self-love, but she describes herself as sexy too many times for my taste. Here’s a little nibble of her narcissism from “Cleaving,”…
“…I dress in the skirt I got in the Ukraine and a little black sweater, black tights and my tall black boots with their secret red lining…I put on some lipstick, a scarlet shade darker than I usually go with….I don’t get a block away from the apartment before the first man stops me. ‘You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.’…It keeps happening all day. On the subway, in bookstores, in restaurants, on the street. I get whistles, open stares, extravagant compliments from men young and old, wealthy and destitute…Man, what a figure…You have a beautiful face…”
So the parallels I had drawn from Julie & Julia last year: my food blog, my self-proclaimed writing career, my handsome husband that comes to the table hungry and praises whatever is in my Pyrex are better off without her affiliation. What can I say? I don’t fuck around.
Julia Child had an appetite for life. The things Julie Powell has an appetite for makes me lose mine.
“Cleaving” by Julie Powell? Read it and retch.
Visit Heidi’s blog, Kitschen Feast.