The book Handcrafted by Clint Harp is categorized as "Cabinetmakers-United States-Biography. Furniture making-Anecdotes."
I don't have a lot of experience reading this genre but every now and then I come across someone's journey through craftsmanship and enjoy living vicariously through their writing.
In Clint's first book, we follow his life journey towards where he is today, as a woodworking television star, featured on HGTV's Fixer Upper and Wood Work.
I thought the book was not much more than a commercial. Here we have a guy who's risen to stardom, and probably needs to ride the wave a little longer, as we see many celebrities do, and publish a book. I have, and still have, never seen Clint on TV, so I had no attachment or knowledge of his personality on those shows.
My parents picked up the book for me for Christmas, waited in line for him to sign it, and he included a note that said: "To Matthew- Thx. for teaching the kids!!! [signed]- Clint Harp." Wanting to be a polite gift recipient, and grateful for anyone who expresses gratitude for what educators do, I decided, commercial or no commercial, to give it a read.
And, it took a few pages for me to realize it wasn't a commercial. Once, I got past that hurdle, it took a few more pages of, "Okay, life story...everyone has one." And then, shortly before the halfway point, it became, "Yes, everyone has one. This is so relatable!" The book started as a boring, store-brand white bread, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but shortly transformed to your favorite bakery's homemade peanut butter & jelly sandwich and fresh-from-the-oven bread that takes your favorite familiar flavors and resonates them throughout your body with savory delight.
Clint goes way back into his childhood and spells out a complex life story filled with an almost crippling level of instability. We watch Clint reflect on that instability and its effect on both his strengths and his weaknesses. Clint does an excellent job writing about how his attitude around the unstable events of his life develop. I'd say he does a good job of putting the reader in his shoes, but he goes even further; you really end up getting into his head. You can feel yourself experiencing the same growth he was experience in his "just-another-life-story."
Interestingly, the development of the text moves pretty well along with the development of our main character. I've never quite rooted for a character in the way I ended up rooting for Clint as I continued to read of his trials and tribulations. Meaningful lessons are incorporated throughout in the most humble-non-lecture way possible and I found key take-away inspiration in every chapter.
Just one example is his "I'll figure it out," attitude. As a frequently insecure "figure-it-outer" myself, I found his take on those scenarios to be uplifting. Following his narrative on his own borderline frightful experiences, gave me a boost of confidence in my own endeavors. There are many more specific takeaways, but you'll have to read it for yourself. This is a spoiler-free post.
He hits a home run for me when he writes, "And I share it not because I think it's the most amazing story ever (it's not), but rather because I hope that my experiences might push you forward in yours (they do)." For me, his mission was accomplished, and it was a far cry from a commercial. I know he'd be happy to hear that I'll be passing it on to the next person, and our local public library for others to enjoy.
Although, now I feel like I may actually have to watch him on TV....
Nah, millennials don't watch TV... maybe YouTube. We'll see.
About "Hawk Shop"
The Hawk Shop is the maker-space for Republic-Michigamme students and is available for use to 6th-12th grade students under the course title Industrial Arts. The shop operates using the original woodworking equipment to the building and is continuing progress to upgrade the shop to develop trade skill sets for today’s workforce.
The Hawk Shop exposes students to the diverse fields within skilled trade, and capitalizes on students strengths and interests to prepare students for entering a skilled trade position, and/or to utilize maker skills as a healthy creative outlet.