I really could not stand Julie Powell's first memoir, Julie & Julia. Yet, when I saw her second book on the new releases shelf at the library, I thought, "what the heck, might as well read it." And this is the effect that mass-marketing will have on my impressionable little brain. I did not want to read this book, but I allowed myself to be bullied by the publishing industry. I suppose, at least, I didn't spend my money on a new copy. In Cleaving, Powell has set aside Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and taken a job as a butcher. As she hacks and mangles all sorts of meat, she is also balancing her crumbling marriage with Eric, the perfect husband, and her obsessive love affair with D, a narcissistic jerk who she just can't stop thinking about. Early on, we learn that Eric is actually in fact aware of her extra-marital tryst, and in turn is having one of his own. Yet, for some reason, the two are determined to keep their marriage together - though they don't seem to do a single thing to help ensure that will happen. Instead, Powell (as she did in her first book), goes on and on about what a saint he is, and talks about the inexplicable magic that is their perfect coupling. Then she pounds at a side of beef, and throws in a couple juicy recipes. Anyone who relished Powell's self-centered whining in Julie & Julia, will be in absolute heaven reading Cleaving. It is nothing, if not a tribute to selfishness. But, hopefully, I have learned my lesson. When she comes out with her third inexplicable best seller, even if it's free from the public library, I will force myself to stay very very far away.