Nancy Klann-Moren’s novel The Clock of Life was adopted by the Los Medanos College English Dept recently to be used in freshman writing classes. The story has great integrity while it quietly teaches history through a personal coming of age story. Students learn about rural life during a time before the Internet. What was life like in a small town 30-40 years ago in the 70′s and 80′s? In this novel set in Hadlee, Mississippi the central character Jason Lee, a white boy, creates a strong bond with Samson, a black boy. Students at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, CA are Latino, African American, working class whites from 2013 and while there is a merging of ethnicities and a greater appreciation and tolerance of one another, there is also still ignorance at times about “the other”. This novel provides a framework from which bigotry can be discussed safely in the classroom, comparisons can be made and history can be looked at as a living and breathing reality.
The Clock of Life is a personable, smoothly paced, exploration of characters who ring true. It has complexity while spinning an intriguing tale that moves the reader emotionally and engages them intellectually. It is perfect reading for anyone from 16 to 60 and beyond. An intriguing tale. A satisfying read. Buy it, enjoy it and pass it on to someone else. History comes to life while our lives tick tick tick away, unaware that time is passing. Reading The Clock of Life both stops time and moves us forward with deeper appreciation of where we have come and where we can go as a nation. J. Perry