In the tradition of some of the great Southern writers, Nancy Klann-Moren brings us Jason Lee Rainey, a white boy growing up in 1980s Hadlee, Mississippi, where simmering racial tensions provide a bumpy road for Jason Lee and his best friend, Samson Johnson, who is black. The author skillfully blends the two boys’ growing friendship and the taunting and violence they encounter as a result with Jason Lee’s gradual discovery of his late father’s activities during the Civil Rights Movement. Klann-Moren also provides a vivid reminder of the lasting effects of the Vietnam War in Jason Lee’s well-drawn Uncle Mooks, a Vietnam vet who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. Much more than a coming-of-age novel, The Clock Of Life is a beautifully written story of one boy’s quest to reconcile the past with the present as he dedicates himself to working toward a better future. Diana J. Ewing.