It’s been a long week.
I could write about the rumor mill at Corporate Behemoth, about all of the “The massive layoffs are going to be Friday. No, Monday. No, Tuesday and Thursday” comments. And I could chat it up about the clandestine spreadsheet being forwarded to and fro that will take your start date, your salary, and your accrued vacation and spit out the amount of your probable severance package. I could even casually mention that the word on the street is that between 40 and 50 percent of the people in my building will get the axe.
But I won’t.
Instead? I’m going to write a book report.
Like most women in the United States, I saw Julie and Julia last summer. I loved it – found it very engaging and uplifting, and who could say a bad thing about Meryl Streep’s performance?
Not me. Loooooved her.
But Julie and Julia was the first movie ever where people came up to me out of the blue and announced that a character made them think of me. Friends and coworkers and acquaintances all said, “OMG, Cha Cha. Julie in the movie is so funny and she’s a writer and she just totally made me think of you! You have to see this movie!”
Flattering? Yes. Almost as much as that time in eighth grade when somebody told me that I looked like Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. From behind. With my perm.
So, anyway. I loved the movie. And seeing as how I can’t seem to listen to the radio in my car anymore, I am at the mercy of the public library for audio books of all sorts. Since their selection is sparse at best, I often listen to stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise read. And so it was with Cleaving, Julie Powell’s latest book.
Cleaving picks up where Julie and Julia left off. Our narrator is over having cooked up a storm, over having sold a book that got turned into a movie. She’s now obsessed with learning the art of butchery. Good enough.
She’s also obsessed with her lover. And she’s still married. And her husband knows about the affair but she can’t stop seeing the other dude. So her husband starts seeing another woman. And Julie doesn’t blame him. And meanwhile she’s learning how to take an entire beef carcass and turn it into, like, food.
And all the while I’m listening to this, I think, “I can’t believe all those people thought that I was like Julie! I would never fuck around on my man!”
Which is probably a very narcissistic and superficial view of the book. Really, she was being incredibly brave and authentic by telling the part of her story that could be viewed as shameful. She was honest. She used writing the book as therapy. I feel like I should commend her for her self-awareness … although it made me uncomfortable and felt self-indulgent.
But mostly? I thought Cleaving was a treatise on the dangers of marrying your high school sweetheart.
And so what did the library have for me after Cleaving? Well, Julie and Julia. Because while I saw the movie, I never read the book. And I wanted to see if the icky impression I had after Cleaving would remain after Julie and Julia. I was looking for my palate to be cleansed.
Did it work? Umm?
Julie and Julia is funny in a self-deprecating way. And I learned all about French cooking. But really? I didn’t finish the book actually liking the author, which was a shock only in that after seeing the movie, I felt like we could be BFFs. Because in the movies, everybody could be your BFF – that’s why they’re called chick flicks.
But books? Well, they’re a bit more complicated. Like life. And that’s cool.
What have you been reading lately?