The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren is a coming of age story in the American south. It is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird and brings to life the idea that what is right is better than what feels right.
From the very beginning, Nancy promised a good book with little hints dropped here and there for tension and angst. The main character, J.L., is a young boy in the south in the 80s. His father died in Vietnam, his uncle was wounded in Vietnam, and his mother likes to keep her secrets. And the first friend he makes at school is a black boy. At first I didn’t really love J.L. In fact, it took the majority of the book for me to actually care about him. But Uncle Mooks I absolutely loved. He’s the wise character giving the young man advice as life goes on, but he’s hidden in a man with shrapnel in his brain and therefore slow thoughts. The other side characters also had wonderful quirks and felt very natural. J.L. has a lot of chances to choose a path, right or wrong. Ultimately that was what made me fall in love with him, his fervor for doing the right thing.
All the promises were fulfilled. The ending had a strength to it that I wasn’t expecting. But it felt like the book was trying too hard. Like it wanted to be To Kill a Mockingbird and not its own thing, or that it wanted to cover too many concepts. All in all I enjoyed it, but it fell a bit flat.
Some of my favorite lines:
“‘I just don’t like bein told how to think or how to live my life by a bunch a hypocrites.'”
“‘If you live your life right, you don’t need no church.'”
“Figuring out what’s right and wrong seemed as hard as holding on to water.”
I received this book from the author for review.