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Extended Audio Sample Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession Audiobook, by Julie Powell Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (2,729 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julie Powell Narrator: Joshua Ferris Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2009 ISBN: 9781600245701
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Julie Powell thought cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the craziest thing she’d ever do, until she embarked on the voyage recounted in her latest memoir, Cleaving.

With her marriage challenged by an insane, irresistible love affair, Julie decides to leave town and immerse herself in a new obsession: butchery. She finds her way to Fleischer’s, a butcher shop where she buries herself in the details of food. She learns how to break down a side of beef and French a rack of ribs, tough, physical work that only sometimes distracts her from thoughts of afternoon trysts.

The camaraderie at Fleischer’s leads Julie to search out fellow butchers around the world, from South America to Europe to Africa. At the end of her odyssey, she has learned a new art and perhaps even mastered her unruly heart.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “From the title to the last page, former blogger Julie Powell’s startling second memoir, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, is smart and compelling…Powell’s steadfast femininity and confident voice are refreshing.”

    San Francisco Chronicle 

  • “Got a hobby you consider therapy? You’ll eat up this second memoir by the author of Julie and Julia. In it, Powell tries to end an adulterous affair by immersing herself in an apprenticeship at a butcher shop—and embarks on a world tour of meat. How she finds her way home is the marrow of this tell-all travelogue/love story. Well done!”

    Self

  • “As intoxicating as baked bone marrow…Powell is reckless, yes, but also incredibly brave as she cuts through the raw flesh of her marriage, exposing every quivering nerve. It is an evisceration not without its insight and hard-won rewards. It’s also funny…The book’s joys are many…In her self-gutting story we see our own fleshy vulnerabilities when it comes to the intricacies of love.”

    Houston Chronicle 

  • “Julie Powell’s follow-up to Julie & Julia paints a visceral, compulsively readable picture of what it looks like when you fully indulge with a fantasy object who isnt your spouse…Powell has honed her writing chops along with her culinary skills, and her extended metaphor is dead on: how we can systematically hack each other apart without ever getting to the heart of our desires.” 

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia | 2/19/2014

    " I rarely read non-fiction, but it seems that I can handle it when it has to do with food. I liked Cleaving. I liked Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. The cover of the book says that it's about obsession, so you shouldn't be surprised. Having such a brutally honest record of an unhealthy relationship is fascinating and instructive, and the bits about butchery are fascinating. And I have to like someone who's so fond of Buffy. I will be interested in Julie Powell's next book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ally | 2/14/2014

    " While I appreciate Ms. Powell's willingness to share the intimate details of her life and marriage, I found myself hating her self-deprecating manner. Several times throughout the book I felt that all she needed was to get over herself, find a good therapist and a couples therapist and get her life back on track. However, I think she is the type of person that thrives on that kind of drama in her life. I like her writing style and the way she approaches the material, but hope that her next book is more informative and less "self-discovery". "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/10/2014

    " sooooo dark and icky. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lauren | 1/9/2014

    " I just couldn't get past how much she whined in this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Robin Moore | 1/7/2014

    " Dreary, self-absorbed and drawn out. This book did not appeal to me at all. I could not fathom the character and how she thought, found all the meat references dry, tasteless and overdone (pun intended). I did not read her other book about cooking with Juliet and believe me, I won't now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 1/2/2014

    " Shamefully addicting, as if you've been a given a fly on the wall pass to a witness marriage hanging by a thread. Yet, strangely meaningful as you see that marriage, love, and commitment are broad concepts that color outside of the boundaries that society draws. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laurel | 12/30/2013

    " As I was reading, I said something like "She needs an editor and an AA meeting, in that order." I'm standing by that. The parts about learning butchery were interesting, but the drama was ridiculous, and the writing was so bad I almost gave up a couple of chapters in. I'm not quite sorry I read it, but it did leave me feeling grateful I'm not Julie Powell. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tori Kuehne | 12/21/2013

    " Disgusting, pathetic excuse of a novel that unabashedly makes a mockery of marriage. I could not wait for this book to come out, as I absolutely LOVED "Julie & Julia", but I HATED this book...it is a disgrace to the publishing world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eva | 12/14/2013

    " a bit more TMI than i expected. but i enjoyed the bits about butchery! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deanna Peterson | 11/29/2013

    " I was so excited when Julie Powell published another book. I did not like Cleaving very much. It was mean spirited and ugly. TMI and things that she shared with readers would have been best shared with a close friend or therapist. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristin Ross | 10/29/2013

    " I wish I could give a zero rating. I effing hated this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin | 8/19/2013

    " The parts about learning to be a butcher were really interesting but I found the narrator to be whiny and I didn't like her very much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenni | 5/20/2013

    " I would have given it 1.5 if I could. The parts I liked (butchery, knowing how food gets from farm to table), I REALLY liked. The parts I hated (Julie & Julia meets Eat, Pray, Love with too many Buffy the Vampire Slayer references), I super duper hated. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katie | 4/23/2013

    " Too horrible to continue reading! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caroline | 2/25/2013

    " Blah. That's really all I got from this book, besides the fact that I now think all butchers are snobby. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Norma | 9/13/2012

    " TMI. Who needs to know what parts of her body her lover (not her husband) prefers? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dana | 8/25/2012

    " I'd give it 0 if I could. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Anderson | 5/25/2012

    " Wow - a much different book than Julie and Julia. I still liked it very much and hope she continues to write. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melissa | 1/27/2012

    " Hated this book. She is so brazen with her adultery and seems unwilling to give up on her lover regardless of how badly she hurts others. Plus, the whole exceptionally descriptive butchering process gave me the willies. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sue | 12/25/2011

    " What a train wreck! And yet I couldn't put it down "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy Sheridan | 8/22/2011

    " glad I wasn't the only one who found the author to be a self-centered jerk. I kept thinking that if she was such a foodie, she couldn't possibly be all bad. But alas, she is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meghan | 5/4/2011

    " Julie is pretty honest, which is good, because without that she would be pretty unlikeable. Still, she is good with words and I find myself more interested in eating meat after reading it. Not sure what that says about me... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 4/24/2011

    " Infidelity disaster porn. I can't believe this book got written, and that I read it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisebee98 | 4/15/2011

    " I had to force myself to finish it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 4/5/2011

    " Absolutely painful to read -- she is so into herself as a person / author / butcher / cook. I could go on and on about how horrible of a person she is and how poorly she treats other people in her life - but it is not worth my time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 4/5/2011

    " Not at all like her 1st book. Dark and moody and I didn't expect that. More of her sex life instead of being a butcher. . . well, I guess she butchered her sex life, marriage and relationships. So, yes, she cleaved. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 4/4/2011

    " glad I wasn't the only one who found the author to be a self-centered jerk. I kept thinking that if she was such a foodie, she couldn't possibly be all bad. But alas, she is. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/3/2011

    " I don't usually write any comments on goodreads but this book was so awful that I just had to have it noted. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Guin | 4/3/2011

    " I have not put down a book halfway through in a long time. In fact, I try to finish whatever I start reading out of principle but this book was so bad, I will not. Awful writing, horrid woman. Blech. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 HKd | 3/31/2011

    " Butchery, adultery, travel, recipes .... an unfocused and self-indulgent book. I couldn't read more than a chapter or two. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marjie | 3/31/2011

    " The curse of the second book strikes again. I wish Julie had hied herself to a therapist rather than foisting all her personal issues on the reader. There was way too much information on that front. I did enjoy the meat/food/travel bits. "

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About the Author
Author Julie PowellAfter a misspent youth involving loads of dead-end jobs and several questionable decisions, Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, has found her calling as a writer-cum-butcher. She lives in Long Island City, Queens, when she isn't in Kingston, NY, cutting up animals.
About the Narrator

Joshua Ferris received a BA in English and philosophy from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His fiction has appeared in the Iowa Review, Best New American Voices 2005, and Prairie Schooner. He was born in Danville, Illinois, grew up in Key West, and now lives in Brooklyn.