Book Club Discussion Topics

The Clock Of Life by Nancy Klann Moren

Reading Group Discussion Topics

1.            Uncle Mooks often spoke phrases that held deeper meaning. His famous words “conflicts are for talking out” referred to his bitterness over the Vietnam conflict. How does Jason Lee apply these words in his personal relationships throughout the novel? Do you think they are good words to live by?

2.            Images of the three moneys seeing no evil, hearing no evil, and speaking no evil are spread throughout the novel. Do you feel that seeing, hearing, and speaking no evil is a strength or a weakness?

3.            Samson and Jason Lee often share the opinion of their relatives with one another. For example, in chapter two Uncle Mooks says he hates mocking birds because they steal the song of other birds. On the other hand Samson’s father’s believes they should be the national bird because they are the best Jazz musician anywhere. What do Samson and Jason Lee have in common even though they were raised with such different viewpoints?

4.            In chapter 5 the author shows the people of Hadlee’s reaction to the news that creationism is no longer allowed to be taught in schools. How is it that Jason Lee and his family differ from the rest of the town’s opinions on the matter?

5.            Should Jason Lee’s feelings of resentment over the, “sorry excuse of a hound’s-tooth, one pocket, thick-as-a-carpet, clown suit,” be toward Parnell Boyle . . or his mama?

6.            Cassie goes to a doctor for help after she suffers from depression. She believes that the doctor can fix her when really this just leads to her into a drug addiction. Was the doctor wrong, or was Cassie irresponsible with managing her pills?

7.            How significant it was for Jason Lee to read his father’s journal about the Selma to Montgomery march.

8.            Wally gave Jason Lee books on the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement, and he also included books about the origins of the Ku Klux Klan. He does this so that Jason Lee can look at both sides and learn to think for himself.  Is learning about the origins of the Klan an important part of understanding the civil rights movement?

9.            Jason Lee viewed Parnell Boyle as a slick, unprincipled salesman, but he probably saved his mother’s life by getting her into drug rehab.  Was Jason Lee was too harsh on Parnell or did you agree with his assessment of his character?

10.          When Jason Lee and Samson finally face down the Chubb twins, they feel victorious in the fact that they finally stood up to the bullies. While threatening them with a gun, Jason Lee claimed, “We’re gonna settle this misunderstanding, this conflict, I’d like to call it, in a nonviolent manner.”  Was it a non-violent manner?


11.          Wally defied his wife to help Jason Lee and Cassie after she came back from drug rehab.  Should he have stayed loyal to his wife, or was it time to move on?

12.          Because of Jason Lee’s insistence of picking up a hitchhiker, how responsible do you think he is for Samson’s death?

13.          Toward the end of the book, do you view Jason Lee’s relationship with Mr. Otis as an act of penance, or something else?

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