From Publishers Weekly
Powell flounders in her latest cooking-themed memoir. Trying to end an affair, the married Powell leaves town and seeks distraction in a butcher shop. She explores her obsessions with meat and with her lover—but listeners will quickly tune out. Her sarcastic inflections, flat tone, and nervous voice that worked reasonably well with Julie and Julia
sound supercilious and affected here. The clunky performance cannot redeem the uninspired prose, and Powell—who compulsively cheats on her saintly husband—is difficult to empathize with. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Dec.)
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The author of the charming, riveting, thrilling—and successfully filmed—Julie and Julia (2005), in which Powell recounted her year spent cooking all the recipes in Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, has turned to butchery! As she relays in her new memoir, after her “year with Julia,” she apprenticed in a butcher shop in upstate New York and learned the trade from the inside out, from sinew to steak. Another prominent theme here is the stress placed on her marriage to the understanding, even noble Eric (as he was depicted in the previous memoir) by their mutual infidelities. It’s a grim book. Powell’s fans happily voyaged with her through Julia Child’s cookbook, but taking the journey through her learning the “art” of butchery is another matter. Graphic, even gross, detail about “breaking down” a beef or pig carcass and about her adulterous sex life (Do we really want to hear about her phone sex with her lover?) blocks any sunshine from emerging from these pages. The previous book made “foodies” of us all, but this book may convince us that vegetarians have had the right idea all along. --Brad Hooper