Last month I listened to Julie and Julia read by the author, Julie Powell. I saw the film earlier this year and really enjoyed it mainly for Meryl Streep hamming it up as Julia Childs.
When I listened to Julie and Julia I became curious about what Julie Powell did next. Typing Julie Powell into Google one of Google's clever guesses was "Julie Powell affair". I was intrigued.
I discovered that after Julie and Julia was published, which presents her marriage as an almost perfect union of two twin peas in the pod, Julia Powell had a scandalous affair and then wrote about it.
Combing the topic of her adultery with butchery she wrote her next memoir Cleaving: A story of marriage meat and obsession. This book has inspired much vitriol, and I became a little obsessed with seeking out this juicy and sometimes hilarious criticism. I read so much about it that I felt like I didn't need to read the book, but I knew I would.
I am now being enjoyably and predictably outraged by the rampant over-sharing in the audiobook of Cleaving, once again read by the author. (Julie Powell has a good reading voice, perhaps because she was an aspiring actor.)
I'm now two disks in and I think I can identify a number of reasons why this book provokes such a strong (and sometimes ugly) response from readers/listeners.
1. It is fully disgusting. I guess you could say that it is explicit and lusty but I say it is gross. (Which I enjoy.)
2. Julie has some very messy, self destructive and hurtful relationships, but she doesn't seem to feel guilty about them. And any guilt she does feel she just seems to resent.
3. It's all true. The mind boggles about how Julie's aged relatives would respond to this book.
4. Julie is not very nice to her husband. But her adulterous actions pale in comparison to the fact that she has published the details of her hot affair, which make her husband seem like a complete sap for not giving her the boot.
5. The butchering bits are long and detailed and the metaphors are labored and once again, gross. Sausages are shaped like penises. I get it.
I am loving being horrified by this book. I can't wait to do the dishes so I can listen to more.