Friday, December 11, 2009

Cleave this

I followed "Julie and Julia" back when it was just a blog, "The Julie/Julia Project," and I didn't dislike Julie Powell or her half of the popular movie.

But I find the reaction to her new book, "Cleaving," about her affair and her year spent working in a butcher shop, pretty interesting. The book itself sounds like a wee bit TMI, and since she made us like her husband Eric so much in "J and J," it's hard to imagine how much her cheating must have hurt him.

My pal Linda has read the book, and delves into the situation in her usual thoughtful and smart way for NPR.


Jackie Danicki said...

I read a personal essay Julie Powell contributed to a wonderful anthology, "Behind the Bedroom Door" (edited by Paula Derrow, featuring essays from some of my friends), about women and sex. I've never felt more repulsed by someone for whom I used to have enormous empathy.

The overall impression of the essay, which was the CliffsNotes version of this book, is that Julie Powell is incapable of being honest with herself. She seems to have almost zero self-awareness, which is shocking when you consider her work. I finished the essay and wished Eric would dump her ass, and that she would get into therapy for NPD.

I don't know Julie Powell - we met once at a literary event a few years ago - and I hesitate to judge someone when I myself have misbehaved in my time. (I didn't do what she did, but I've been selfish, told lies, and hurt people.) But she seems terribly proud of all this, and feels that telling this story about herself is more important than avoiding further harm to the man she claims to love so much. If she were capable of explaining that, of making sense of it, perhaps I wouldn't be so disgusted with the whole exercise.

naginata said...

I laughed til I cried when I saw this comment!
"@Jonathan: If "Cleaving" is ever taught as fine literature, I will personally write a letter of apology to Julie Powell, which I will seal in an envelope moistened with my own tears."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to Linda's review. I might have bought the book if not for that. I thought the first was a little silly and self-indulgent but was considering this one.
Ron in San Diego