99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses by Joe Cottonwood | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses

99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses

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by Joe Cottonwood
     
 

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Joe repairs homes. With each job, he enters somebody's private world. Revealing a life. Or changing it.

Here's blue collar writing, finely crafted, about good hard work-and some bad work, too. Meet proud carpenters and working-class hippies. Meet clients who flirt, cheat, seduce, fight-and clients who warm your heart. Learn the taste of sewage, the jolt of a live

Overview

Joe repairs homes. With each job, he enters somebody's private world. Revealing a life. Or changing it.

Here's blue collar writing, finely crafted, about good hard work-and some bad work, too. Meet proud carpenters and working-class hippies. Meet clients who flirt, cheat, seduce, fight-and clients who warm your heart. Learn the taste of sewage, the jolt of a live wire. Drive to the emergency clinic with a wooden stake through your hand. Feel the satisfaction of work that is honest, simple, strong-sometimes perfect.

"A house is alive. It breathes. It expands and contracts. It ages. Sometimes it falls sick, and then I'm a doctor of houses. I probe intimate cavities. I study the bones, the nerves, the flesh of an old house where generations of remodels have built upon themselves. The structure tells a story: tragedy, comedy, or heartwarming family drama as day-to-day life slowly, inexorably leaves an imprint over the attic, on the walls, under the sink-or in the crawlspace."
-From 99 Jobs

Ninety-nine stories that are gritty, funny, wise. And always deeply humane.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/17/2014
In this gritty and entertaining memoir, Cottonwood presents readers with a collection of anecdotes—some more serious than others—about his experiences working odd jobs as a contractor, carpenter, plumber, and electrician. As the titles suggests, the work wasn't always easy, but it brought Cottonwood into contact with a variety of colorful characters and situations—e.g., when the author takes a job rewiring an illegal rental for a "crazy man"; when he gets a job changing light bulbs on a college campus; and when he salvages a clawfoot bathtub from a wrecking yard in San Jose, Calif., only to let it sit unused on his unfinished bathroom floor for six years. Cottonwood's prose is lively and his stories often charming. Readers will find it easy to relate to the author and his experiences, which are likely to appeal to anyone who has worked a less-than-perfect job.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-28
A general contractor and author looks back on a 35-year career contending with a variety of houses and people—most in disrepair.Beginning when the author was just starting out as a novice handyman in the 1970s, this collection of short essays roughly progresses through to the present day, when, despite numerous tumbles off ladders and at least one impaling, Cottonwood is still plying his trade. The many blue-collar jobs that Cottonwood (Clear Heart, 2009, etc.) wonderfully describes in his latest offering may involve worm-gear saws, ladders, lighting fixtures and the like, but they're really all about people. Some are wealthy, some poor, but all are frail in some way and in need of some proper shoring—that includes the ace carpenter himself. Each vignette confidently stands on its own, whether several pages long or only a few paragraphs. The robust snapshots of the carpenter's working life toiling in crawl spaces and basements around Northern California over the last four decades consistently play on important themes of mortality, class and personal fulfillment. Elegant entries like "A Working-Class Hippie" and "The Airplane Room" touch on the often ephemeral nature of close human relationships. A vague sense of melancholy pervades much of Cottonwood's work, even in the midst of relative triumph, such as when Cottonwood receives a check for a job well-done: "This simple act always fascinates me: the transfer of wealth. So casual. So vital. A rich man of immense power, a tradesman with none. What if he refused?"Expertly crafted narrative nonfiction that reveals the framework of people's lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780615909448
Publisher:
Clear Heart Books
Publication date:
11/10/2013
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.64(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter,
plumber, and electrician for most of his life.
He is the author of nine published novels including Famous Potatoes and Clear Heart.

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