I just read Julie Powell's second memoir, Cleaving. It's about learning how to be a butcher while she cheats on her husband. Or tries to get over cheating on her husband. Whatever. My verdict: the bits about the meat are good. Clear voice, fun recipes, compelling. The bits about the men? I don't care. And the bits where she tries to find meaning and metaphor about the men in the meat? Irritating. I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the whole book because of it. I did, and could have done without the whole last travel section as well. But the bits about the meat more or less made up for it.
My initial reaction was actually a lot more harsh - I said some mean things about her while I was reading, wanting her to focus on the interesting stuff and leave the forced introspection out of it. I had a similar reaction to the Julie & Julia movie (I didn't read the book) - I like the Julia bits, not so much the Julie bits. But now that I've sat with it a bit, she's grown on me some. It's her memoir, so she's entitled to write about whatever she wants. (kind of like blogging, no? Which is where she got started, after all. But I doubt I'll be reading that anytime soon.) And it's her life, to fuck up or fix up however she wants. I just wish I didn't have to read about so much of it.
Like: she starts with an interesting description of how to take apart a pig, and then goes off on the symbolism of how the flesh (aka she and her lover) clings to itself and has to be pried apart carefully to avoid tearing a ragged edge...blah blah. Get back to the juicy stuff. More meat, less men!