Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clear Heart: A Real Page Turner

I don't read much.  And I rarely—like once every other year—read fiction.

So when Joe Cottonwood asked if he could send me a copy of his book Clear Heart, I said yes, but with some amount of trepidation.

What if I didn't like it? I'm not a critical person and I don't like to say negative things, except when it comes to exercise or eating okra, and I knew he would appreciate it (though he did not ask) if I would write a post about it.

Well I didn't like his book....I LOVED his book. In fact, I couldn't put it down and sped through it faster than it takes me to read a magazine.

It's about a 55 year old ex-hippy carpenter named Wally—his bond with his workmen, love for his work, respect for wood, relationship with a "perky Presbyterian" and her kids, Job-like patience, and determination to build the perfect house, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

But more than that—it's about the connection and interaction between men who are true craftsmen, their good-natured joking, routines and habits (like sometimes getting too friendly with female clients), temperaments, and respect for one another's capabilities.  It's male bonding at its finest.  

And it's filled with endearing characters like Juke, FrogGirl, Abe, Opal (okay, Opal kinda drove me crazy--that chick needs a chill pill!), and fast-paced, nail-biting mishaps.

It's about second chances, belief in the things that truly matter, mentoring, teaching, and friendship.

And it made me want to ask Wally:  "You hiring?"


The Great Ethan Allen said...

interresting! My wife is alwasy telling me to find something to read so I can read with her. Like you , I don't read much ( unless you count my wood working magazines, for the articles, of coarse, not the pictures) I'll have to see If I can find this at the bookstore.

Bob Tinsley said...

Hey! There's nothing wrong with okra! Especially fried! (says the guy who wouldn't touch it until he had been on the planet for a half-century.)


DonP said...

On the way down to Berea for WIA I spent a few days at Pleasant Hill. The restaurant served pickled okra as an appetizer. Just another reason every one should go.

Kari Hultman said...

Me and okra, we had a bad run in. I tried cooking with it many years ago and obviously didn't know that you don't boil it and use it as a side dish on its own (I'm told it's okay in gumbo). The resulting substance was something I call "slickery."

Kari Hultman said...

And don't get me started on capers.

Jim said...

I LOVE Capers.... I'd have them on popcorn if I was allowed to have popcorn.

Kari, love your blog and you do us sawdust addicted proud.

Kari Hultman said...

Sorry Jim, I don't think even breaded and fried can save capers. ; )

...but sounds like you love them as much as I love ice cream. :o)

Brad Ferguson said...

sounds like a good book, I'll have to check it out, it reminds me of a great book, House, by Tracy Kidder, its about the process of building a House and the craftsmen who do it.

Joe Cottonwood said...

Thanks for the great review, Kari! And I'm with you on okra.

One little point for people searching in bookstores: You won't find my book. For the time being, at least, it's available only from Amazon.