Book Review: ‘Cleaving’.

I just finished reading Julie Powell’s second memoir, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession.

You might recognize Powell’s name from her first book, Julie and Julia, which I read and loved. Because of that, I was looking forward to reading the sequel, and I wasn’t disappointed.

While Powell’s first book was much about the beginnings of her marriage and her issues with dedicating a year to cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, I was sold that Powell was a sweet, loving wife.

Cleaving derails that image and although shatters any innocent images I once had of her, it makes her real. She opens up about the, now public, affair she had with a man she calls “D”, complete with sexy details and honest confessions.

What Powell did in Cleaving, I hope I can do in How To Make Lemonade: tell my stories of love and dating failures with a sense of real honesty that doesn’t come across too innocent or, on the other hand, too slutty.

To Eric, I am beloved. The Julie I am with him is mercurial, both too much and too weak, someone to be coddled and feared, kept in line, depended upon. The Julie who D knows is someone just a little different. A coconspirator. A playmate. Mischievous, sexy, thrillingly amoral. Someone to whom you’d murmur, as you slid inside her, and felt that answering clench, “Isn’t this the best thing in the fucking world?” The me I feel I am with D is unfamiliar, exhilarating, someone I am constantly sidling up to, excited and frightened. But which one of me is real, the cherished, starstruck girl or the sultry, winking woman? I don’t know these days, have not since the first day D tossed me back onto his bad.

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