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Julie & Julia author relocates to a butcher’s shop


When I saw the headline – Julie & Julia author takes job in butcher shop – I was thrilled. Excellent, I thought, now we won’t have to suffer through any more ridiculous books about trying to cook an over-complicated French recipe every day. Sadly, we are going to have to suffer through another book from Julie Powell.

Julie Powell’s new book is not for the squeamish, in more ways than one. It opens with her in the back of a butcher shop, flecked with blood and reeking of meat. She’s busy slicing a raw, slippery liver with a foot-long knife.

By the end of the book, another internal organ — her heart — has been filleted: Powell dissects the pain caused by her two-year affair with an old college flame that sent her into an emotional tailspin and almost sunk her marriage.

I think I’ll give this one a miss, especially as the book “reveals the pain of loving two men at once, of her fondness for sadomasochism and even a bout of self-punishing sex with a stranger.” What about the pain of cutting off a finger while chopping up some mutton?

Although I suppose when you are down in the dumps, a butcher’s shop isn’t the worst place to end up. There’s a sharp object in your hand, you can handle some flesh very roughly, and you walk away from your job with blood on your shoes which always alarms the vegetarian community.

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Richard Davies

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