Julie Powell writes her second memoir after Julie and Julia, which I had really enjoyed. I almost didn't read this one as I had seen poor reviews. But the first one had bad reviews also, and I liked that one a lot.
Julie Powell is fresh from the success of her first book and also her first affair. She has been seeing "D" for almost two years. Her husband is aware of the affair but they do not split up, at least not permanently. The story picks up as the affair is breaking up. Julie has become fascinated with butchery and is looking for an apprenticeship, which she eventually finds in a small butcher shop two hours out of the city. This eventually leads to travel to Argentina, Ukraine, and Tanzania to discover butchery in other cultures.
my review: I really liked this book. However, I'm not really sure why. I don't approve of infidelity, but worse is the disrespect that Julie seems to show her husband, and he in return. She is obsessed with D, texting him constantly, though aware that he husband reads her texts. He then indulges in his own affair, though more to punish her. The fact that for the most part, they stay together during this and not discussing the affair seems insane. But having never been married, perhaps I just don't understand. Julie doesn't want to divorce Eric, her husband, as she loves him and considers him more than a soul mate. They have been together since college.
I also have little tolerance for women that are obsessed with men as Julie is with D. Even after the affair ends, she continues to text him all the time, waiting for a response. I also get frustrated with people that seem to have such chaos in their lives.
I also am not a huge red meat person (though I did have more than one helping of prime rib at Christmas) and I love animals. The idea of reading about the butchering of these animals is not something that would hold appeal to me.
Yet, all that said, I liked the book. She is a great writer, maybe her honest portrayal of herself and her flaws won me over. And I guess I admired her commitment to such a difficult job as apprenticing as a butcher and her drive to really succeed. She also doesn't seem to rest on her laurels of her successful first book, barely even mentioning it.
The end was not as finished as I would have liked, but this is someone's real life, not a novel.
There are also some recipes interspersed throughout the book. Ultimately, it is the fact that she hides from nothing, whether it is her honesty with her husband about her affair, that she eats parts of meat most of us would balk at, even drinking goat's blood as part of a slaughter ritual in Tanzania, that makes me admire her or at least be able to appreciate her story.
This is not a book I would recommend to everyone, it does not have universal appeal, especially if you have a weak stomach or are a vegetarian. But it is frank, honest, and well-written. One of the great things about my Kindle is that I was able to download a free sample before committing to the purchase. I recommend doing that or getting from the library.
my rating 4/5
- Pub. Date: December 2009
- Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
- Format: Hardcover, 307pp