Clear Heart

Rated 4.75/5 based on 8 reviews
When carpenters work for bigshots - and fall for beautiful women - who gets nailed? "It's funny, very tender, and enormously, tremendously human. In fact, Clear Heart just might be one of the most human books I've read in a long time." —Colleen Mondor, Bookslut More
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About Joe Cottonwood

Joe Cottonwood was born in 1947, bent his first nail in 1952, and wrote his first story in 1956. He's been a writer and a carpenter ever since.

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Reviews of Clear Heart by Joe Cottonwood

Audrey Driscoll reviewed on Oct. 8, 2012

I’m not a guy, and this is definitely a “guy book.” Still, I found it engaging and entertaining. Once I started reading, I realized I had no idea how the book would end and I kept reading to find out. The things I liked best were the details about how the construction business works and the fact that the female characters aren’t physically perfect types. Come to think of it, no one in this book is perfect, physically or otherwise, and that’s part of its charm. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by a man in which romance was such a significant component; the author certainly has a different take on that aspect than what is found in the usual love story. Altogether a good read, which I would recommend to anyone. I acquired this book as a free download during Read An Ebook Week 2012.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
Missouri Mo reviewed on July 7, 2012

Oh good. I see I'm not the only Cottonwood fan. We must be a small but passionate group. I fell in love with all the characters. Well, almost all. The bad people, you want to wring their necks. The good guys, you want to invite them over for beer and barbecue.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
Arlene Radasky reviewed on Oct. 16, 2010

Clear Heart by Joe Cottonwood, is a story about life. Just that, life. There are no car chases or gunfights or deadly diseases, although there is one race with death that had me praying for a positive outcome.
Wally, a building contractor is just existing, each day a struggle to overcome the death of his wife as well as her betrayal. His highest hope is to create a house that is as close to perfect as possible for an impossible client, while his own life and home are in chaos.
His best friend, Juke, is a misfit with no responsibilities and seemingly no cares except to do his best work for his boss, Wally.
A fateful accident introduces Opal, the force that causes a catharsis, the healing and growing that takes place in this tale of life.
Abe, Opal's son, an immature high school grad who was accepted into Princeton until he pulled a trick on the wrong man.
And last but not least is Frog Girl, Amanda, a pregnant, seventeen-year-old run away.
Throw all these personalities into a pot and stir, add a few side characters for spice and the race to finish the perfect house as the fire. Let it stew. With these ingredients, it simmers, boils, and simmers again. Just like life.
As a member of the audience, allowed a peak into the life of these people, you are shown all the imperfections of Wally and watch as he was able to say good bye to his wife and fall in love again. Watch as Opal realizes she does not need the perfect man, a banker or lawyer for a partner. Watch as Abe and Juke both mature into men who, after being tossed around the water, floundering a bit, learn to grab hold of life and realize what is important. Watch as Frog Girl discovers the mystery and bonds with her unborn baby and makes better and stronger decisions as her life continues.
There were times I did not like the characters, just as in real-life. Some decisions were made that would not be the decisions I would have made, but usually, after some learning and searching, things got back on course again.
I did not like Opal very much, all the way through. I thought she learned the least and did not really understand the minor miracle that was happening in her life. But that is just like real-life, too.
Joe Cottonwood has either been a carpenter or done incredible research. The details are sometimes overwhelming, but embellish the story and add a "scent" (I could smell as well as feel the redwood).
All in all, when I finally got the very end and looked back, I was amazed at the depth of this book. A story does not always need a car chase to be an excellent tale. I really liked Clear Heart.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Ray Mullen reviewed on July 22, 2010

Entertaining story. Well told. Being in the construction business, I recognized some of the guys.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
Laura Juitt reviewed on April 13, 2010

Entertainingly and elegantly written.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
ReaderGuy reviewed on April 8, 2010

I haven't smiled this much since the first time I read "Cannery Row." And the outlook is similar. Outstanding.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Rose reviewed on Feb. 19, 2010

I was so engaged by these people, I never wanted it to end. Please write more. They're so alive.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
JayJay reviewed on Nov. 24, 2009

I'm a carpenter, and he must've stolen his ideas from my construction crew. Very true story, very funny.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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