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'Hammer Head' by Nina MacLaughlin: EW review

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Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter

Current Status:
In Season
Nina MacLaughlin

We gave it a B+

Internet fatigue is a familiar feeling in our computer-dependent world, but not many of us have the guts to stand up against it. MacLaughlin is one of the brave few: At 30, she quit her longtime Boston newspaper job and answered a Craigslist ad for a carpenter’s assistant. In this poetic chronicle of her stumbles and successes at her new vocation, MacLaughlin leans not only on the wisdom of Ovid and John Cheever but on the teachings of her tough, soft-spoken boss, Mary. The book covers a lot of ground without feeling stretched—from a brief history of carpentry to what it’s like to be a woman in a field that’s 98 percent male. At times her prose can be a bit affected, but it never distracts from the book’s heart. B+