11 Apr 2013



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.

#1: Removal of any part of this post without my express consent is considered copyright infringement. This post was created by and for Petty Witter @ Pen and Paper. If you are reading this post on any other site please contact the original blog owner/reviewer.
#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.


Sandy M. said...

Wow, I do like To Kill A Mocking Bird, so I'll certainly look for this book if you consider it to be better. Thank you for the review! :)

Kelly said...

Although I did enjoy To Kill A Mockingbird very much, I think I'll pass on this one. It's always nice to see your reviews, though.

Yanting Gueh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yanting Gueh said...

Sorry about the deleted comment. Had a typo and couldn't bear to leave it there ...

I am curious to give The Clock of Life a try now. I also have To Kill A Mockingbird on my to-read list, and I'm looking forward to reading that one, too. Thanks for the review. One more book to read ~ yay!

brandileigh2003 said...

I like coming of age stories esp when they are beautifully written

Jean said...

Well then, I guess we'll have to look for this one.

I wonder what it is about southern writers that gets us going.

Suko said...

Wow! This sounds like a must-read. I can't believe I hadn't even heard of this novel before venturing to Pen and Paper.

Bookingly Yours said...

Yikes! The book cover looks like those old books I have from my grandma, not good. But I love reading fiction books incorporating histories. Maybe I could pick this up one day. Great review!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh that does sound like a good read and I do think this one needs to make my wishlist. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

I have to confess to never having read 'To Kill A Mockingbird', it wasn't even part of the syllabus when I did GCE's at school!, so I would be reading this book with no preconceived ideas or expectations.

It is a sad fact that racial tensions still run deep in parts of the US, however, no more so than they do here in the UK, I suspect.

Given that our own past reputation with regard to black slavery isn't anything to shout about or be proud of, this is probably a book that should be read and absorbed as a reminder of those times and as a signal that we should move on as equals in today's multicultural societies.

Nice review and thanks for sharing this great find,


Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Well you made me want to read this one! It sounds so good and I can't wait to dive into the story! Thanks for sharing your review. Excellent!

Bo said...

While not really my cup of tea, this was a really thoughtful review. I have always leaned more towards fantasy / sci fi than straight fiction, but it does sound like an incredible story.

Tammy @ Bo's Book Nook

Betty Manousos said...

this sounds like a great read.

to kill a mockingbird is a widely read book in america though. even in u.s. high schools.


The Bookworm said...

wow, I'm going to have to look for The Clock Of Life.