THE CLOCK OF LIFE by NANCY KLANN-MOREN.
In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980's, Jason Lee Rainey struggles to find his way amongst the old, steadfast Southern attitudes about race, while his friendship with a black boy, Samson Johnson, deepens.
By way of stories from others, Jason Lee learns about his larger-than-life father, who was killed in Vietnam. He longs to become that sort of man, but doesn't believe he has it in him.
In The Clock Of Life he learns lessons from the past, and the realities of inequality. He flourishes with the bond of friendship; endures the pain of senseless death; finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right; and comes to realize he is his father's son.
This story explores how two unsettling chapters in American history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, affect the fate of a family, a town, and two boyhood friends.
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1, 1974)): On that first day of school Mama wrapped her hand around mine and we walked together into the classroom at Cobb's Creek Country School.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 113): I picked up the box and situated it on my lap. Its weight was solid against my legs and felt like silent wisdom, handed down
MY THOUGHTS: Beautifully written. Not just a novel that chronicles two of the most significant events in recent American history (the fight for equal rights and The war in Vietnam) the author seamlessly brings the story up to date by setting much of it in the mid nineteen-seventies to eighties when shockingly racial tensions still run rife in the small Southern town of Hadlee, Mississippi.
Very much a coming-of-age story, a novel of a boy's search to find himself, to become the sort of man the father he never knew would be proud of, The Clock Of Life is a compelling story of inequality, of bigotry and bullies but most of all it is a story of friendship, of hope, of forgiveness.
Poignant, at times shocking, always moving, Nancy Klann-Moren tells a wonderful story and yet it wasn't so much the plot as the characters who made this book for me.
Whether lovable or hateable, and there was a tremendous mixture of both, these were characters that I believed in totally, characters that without exception I felt something for, in the case of Uncle Mooks and Grover Peek, characters that for very different reasons will stay with me for a long, long time to come.
Never a big fan of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird which is considered by many as the most widely read book dealing with race in America, in my personal opinion The Clock Of Life is a far better read.
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#2: Read and reviewed on behalf of the author. I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.