I received a copy of The Clock of Life from Nancy quite a long time ago. I’ve been meaning to get to it for so long, I made it a point to put it in my January to-read pile.
The Clock of Life tells the story of Jason Lee Rainey growing up in Hadlee, Mississippi, in the 1980s. Only decades after the Civil Rights Movement, the small town of Hadlee is still haunted by the specters of injustices past. Racist attitudes still permeate most of the town, causing problems for Jason Lee and his new best friend Samson Johnson. The son of a prominent civil rights activist, Jason doesn’t understand why people think it’s so wrong for him to be friends with a black boy. Jason Lee never knew his father, but growing up hearing stories of his father’s heroic actions, both in the South and in Vietnam, he also struggles with living up to his father’s reputation.
Nancy has received many honors for her work, most recently she’s been a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Book Awards and Readers’ Favorite Book. She also received an Honorable Mention at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. It’s also been adopted by Los Medanos College for use in their Freshman Composition class.
Although often plagued by some cliche tropes, Nancy’s story is well-told. She definitely knows her characters well, and Jason Lee’s voice is distinct and developed. At times the book feels like it drifts into the wrong era, I got the sense multiple times of being in the ’50s rather than the ’80s. But when I reminded myself that the Civil Rights movements was only two decades ago, I was able to believe that the people of this small town would still be a little backward in their thinking.
The Clock of Life is a touching story about a very tumultuous time in American History. It’s a personal take on the affects of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War on American society.
The Clock of Life