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Jul 12

Review: Hammerhead: The Making of a Carpenter

Posted on July 12, 2017 at 3:51 PM by Elizabeth Land

Biographies and memoirs are quite popular at York County Public Library. Whether they are picked up because the reader wants the chance to learn from someone else's mistakes without having to make them or because the subject is of special interest to the reader, they offer everyone a chance to meet real people grappling with real situations.

Hammerhead by Nina MacLaughlinI prefer memoirs because unlike biographies, which attempt to cover the entire breadth of an individual's life, memoirs just focus on a few important episodes. They offer life lessons in easy-to-read nuggets that are perfect for summer reading. Which is what made me pick up Nina MacLaughlin's Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter.

It’s not every person that can completely break with their life as they know it in pursuit of happiness. After zipping through this highly readable and enjoyable memoir, I can safely say that Nina MacLaughlin is one of those people who took the leap and successfully found her passion.

MacLaughlin’s initial life trajectory led her to become a journalist, which turned into a desk job maintaining a newspaper’s web presence. While she thought of her life as a success at first, the urge to create something that was real eventually led her to quit her job out of the blue. With no clear path and no other skills, MacLaughlin began the job search. A whim led her to apply as a carpenter’s apprentice with no experience whatsoever. Somehow, the woman who took her on saw a spark and hired her. Thus began the journey MacLaughlin relates in her memoir.

Packed with poetic language — the kind a journalist might learn after years on the job and a childhood obsessed with classic literature — the memoir describes the everyday trials and joys of making something out of nothing. Her journey speaks to anyone who has ever found themselves reconsidering their path, or anyone curious about what it takes to become a carpenter. Hammer Head is a quick and enjoyable memoir, and just right for the last bit of summer vacation left to many of us. Reserve your copy today by visiting our online catalog.