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?"