In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980s, 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.
When I think about books influenced from the South, names that come to mind are Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston to name a few. As we read their stories now, they take us back to a place in time that for some it reminisces good or bad but for others there is only a captured sentiment. After reading this book, I would gladly put it right alongside with them. From the very first page, you are taken back to a time that seems so distant yet it really wasn’t that long ago.
Despite this being a work of fiction, you find yourself getting swooped up in the spirit of the story from its historical references that at times inspire you or frustrate you looking back. Whether people acknowledge or not, there is much of history that has been a crucial dynamic of its lasting influences such as Civil Rights and its influence in the South or Vietnam and how it has affected so many emotionally integrating back into mainstream life.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put the book down. This was a well written story that embodied a spirit and culture of the past that rarely now can be captured as so eloquently. The way she developed the characters and/or their relationships with each other seemed seamless. You felt like you knew them and were there experiencing the story with them. If your mind was an open canvas, her literal words painted the most beautiful story of life, friendship, and the inspiration of those who had the fortitude to open their heart bending the rules to the social norms.
Reviewed by Michelle Bowles
Publisher: AnthonyAnn Books
Release Date: 11/12/12