- Paperback: 310 pages
- Publisher: Centerline Media (November 9, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0975421239
- ISBN-13: 978-0975421239
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,184,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Carpenter's Notebook -- A Novel Paperback – November 9, 2005
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" ... heartwarming, even inspirational novel written with a superbly engaging flair for original storytelling by author Mark Clement." -- Midwest Book review
" ... wise, touching, and as satisfying as a hard day's work well done." -- Bret Witter, Editorial Director, HCI and Publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul
"Home Improvement is a thread that runs through our lives. Mark has woven it into very rich and unique story." --Dean Johnson, co-host of Hometime
About the Author
Mark Clement is a carpenter, father, author, and magazine editor. In his pursuit to build a good life and a good business he created the story for The Carpenter's Notebook. While he improved homes, he realized that he could improve his life. He has shared his knowledge of building how-to with radio and TV audiences, appearing on the Discovery Channel's Home Matters, DIY Networks Tools & Techniques, and PBS's American Woodshop and American HomeShop.
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Other reviewers have summarized the story itself, so I'll just sum up my reaction to it. I grinned a few times, teared up enough to have to stop and wipe my eyes a few times (it's really hard to read through tears, you know), and made a list of the people -- male and female -- to whom I need to send copies of this book.
I learned a lot, too. I've been hanging around the construction industry for quite a few years as a journalist, but I didn't know you could safely wait to put shingles on a roof until after the drywall was up. My construction-related vocabulary expanded, and I bet I even could build some of the projects Gideon so carefully describes and illustrates. (Well, I could if I had the skills. And the tools.)
You can tell from the vivid imagery and emotion that author Mark Clement has been there and done that. He must know the smell and feel and look of newly sawn wood; how could he describe it so well otherwise? The scene in which 19-year-old Gideon sets some huge number of fence posts left me feeling exhausted and thirsty, too -- and aching for the kid and the mess he was in.
Son Brendan's constant soul-searching as he looks for a magic key to save his marriage indicates some pretty deep introspection on the author's part, as well. Or maybe roofing in the hot summer sun provides some kind of metaphysical experience that transcends ordinary thought and understanding of the human condition. (I suspect that for me, though, it would provide heat stroke.)
"The Carpenter's Notebook" may not be "LI-tra-chur," but the book is a wonderful, satisfying read. It offers a terrific story, an interesting approach to presenting the story, and some really cool projects to build. (If you have the skills, of course. And the tools.)
Brendan loves his wife, but seems unable to reach her, unable to rekindle the love they once shared. Brendan has a promise to fulfill to his now passed father. He promised to take his old shop and turn it into an art studio for his mother. It is during the keeping of this promise that Brendan turns his own life around.
Brendan's father had recorded much of his work. Finding his old clipboard and his papers, Brandan reads the words that his father penned so many years ago. Using his tools, and comparing his work to life, Gideon records small morsels of wisdom to lives challenges and speaks of what really is important.
These words and the strength that Brandan takes from them turns Brandan around to see what truly is important in life, and in doing so brings his family back to him.
A touching work that will open the eyes of any willing to see.
The story is told by a writer, Mark Clement, who obviously understands and appreciates all of those tender, confusing and funny moments in life when the head and heart try to come together. He's found a bridge for this occasional gap in life. There's strength that comes from acting on a feeling, and there's strength that comes from finding meaning in the action. This book definitely finds a personal, creative and touching way to make a connection between the two.
It often appears to take great courage to reexamine one's own life. The Carpenter's Notebook finds the warmth and humor in exploring one man's journey through the process. I think any reader will find tremendous value in the journey as well. I did!