Joe repairs homes. With each job, he enters somebody's private world. Revealing a life. Or changing it. The life of a craftsman has its challenges, such as collecting an overdue bill from an irate psychopath - and its charms, such as the blonde in the hot tub. Joe has made every mistake and met every kind of homeowner - the good, the bad, the profoundly weird. For anyone who has ever built (or failed to build) a project from a simple bookshelf to an entire house, these are captivating, quick stories of human comedy.
What is craft? What is botch? Here with warmth and wry wisdom are 99 lessons learned, human encounters, slices of life in the construction zone. Joe Cottonwood, the not-exactly-best-selling author, has supported his family by crawling under houses or climbing on rooftops while writing novels at night. Forty years in the construction zone, building houses one story at a time. Building a life.
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Lighthearted introspections on houses, family, lif
it is a very unique read. All 99 stories are reflections on home repair, society, life, growing older, gaining experience, and the people that populate our world - the kind, flighty, sad, funny, and just plain weird. I normally don't like this style of book, but joe Cottonwood is so humorous - and I've lived through hellish home repairs - that I gobbled this boo's bite-sized portions in two gulps!
I loved the accessible writing of Joe Cottonwood. he is just the type of construction worker I would want working on my house! he is streetsmart, witty, and introspective, and seems to learn from each new experience over the years.
I loved it! it is not polished and professional, but just like a great-uncle is telling me stories of his glory days.
this book is great! it flows, in a manner of speaking, but each of the 99 stories of home repairs, relationships, moving on and growing up stand on their own, so you can either - as I did - flip the pages speedily or pick it up and put it down. Well worth the nearly 12 hours and the credit.
A life of dignity and intelligence in the trades
I already have recommended this book to several people who will appreciate how Mr. Cottonwood uses his experiences as a tradesman as a framework to respectfully - and often lovingly - describe a wide variety of characters.
99 Jobs reminded me of Hard Scrabble, Observations on a Patch of Land, by John Graves. John Graves describes his experiences in trying to ranch on a hard scrabble tract of land in the Cross Timbers region of Texas in a way that highlights the integrity of good people doing honest work.
Mr. Cottonwood's narrative voice is very distinctive, and it takes a few chapters to settle into it, but once you do, you can't imagine anyone else as the narrator of his story.
Building a full life.
I was genuinely sorry to finish the book because I felt that I had come to the end of a long visit with a wise and gentle friend. 99 Jobs is a book that can be enjoyed on several levels.