The Clock of Life
by Nancy Klann-Moren
published by Anthony Ann Books
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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. (from Goodreads)
This is a wonderful debut novel from author Nancy Klann-Moren. In what has been compared to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, we learn the story of Jason Lee Rainey as he grows up in a still segregated Mississippi. On his very first day of school, Jason Lee becomes friends with a black boy, Sampson, which immediately makes him some very strong enemies. Jason lives with his mom Cassie and his Uncle Mooks, who was injured in Vietnam, and is a little “off”. His father, who served and died in the same war, is a source of wonder and mystery to Jason. As the years pass, Jason Lee’s friendship with Sampson becomes stronger still and they become “blood brothers”. Jason also slowly starts learning more about his dad from his dad’s best friend Wally. In a box of old books given to him by Wally, Jason finds his dad’s old journal. Through this journal, he learns about his father’s work in the civil rights movement, including the March on Selma. Jason Lee grows into a remarkable young man through this story.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and finished it pretty quickly. The author has produced an extremely well written and researched piece of work and I was not surprised to learn that this novel will be used in classrooms starting in September. I would definitely recommend this book. It was a captivating story set in one of the difficult periods in our country’s history.
4 out of 5
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Bloody Sunday Mural (Photo credit: qbix08)