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The Clock of Life

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980's, 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, bu ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published November 2012 by Anthonyann Books
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  96 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Mary Novaria
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lovely coming of age tale set in the south, where racial tensions still run deep. Young Jason Lee transforms from a boy to a young man and is judged by townsfolk because his best friend is black. Jason Lee's birthright sets the stage for his ability to stand up to bigotry: His father marched in Montgomery and Selma. Sadly, Jason Lee never knew the father who died in Vietnam before he was born. He's compelled to learn about his principled dad and to live in a way that would make him proud.

Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is such a good read! I was reluctant to put the book down. The characters sprang to life and I found myself wondering what was happening in Nancy Klann-Moren's Hadlee, Mississippi, throughout my days. ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while a compelling story comes along that tugs at the reader's heartstrings and stirs their conscience, The Clock of Life is that story. Author Nancy Klann-Moren weaves a powerful and captivating tale written in the first person narrative that follows young Jason Lee Rainey's journey of coming of age and self-discovery in the small Southern town of Hadlee, Mississippi from 1974 to 1985.

This story documents Jason Lee's growing up in the South during the tumultuous time period of t
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a beautifully written, profound novel. The Clock Of Life is a coming of age story with a healthy dose of historical fiction. The characters and their relationships are authentic and well-developed. Descriptive phrasing and imagery perfectly captures small town life in the deep South.

The author nailed the deep Mississippi dialect. She includes just enough slang and phonetic spellings to give readers the sound of the accent, without making a parody of the dialogue. (A minor hang-up I had
Jason Pettus
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Nancy Klann-Moren's The Clock of Life is one of those frustrating books I found a chore to even read enough of to give an honest review (for what it's worth, I made it about a third of the way through), because it's a perfect storm of every little thing I dislike in contemporary literature -- a genteel com
Bev Siddons
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Clock of Life
Nancy Klann-Moren

The Clock of Life came into my hands when the president of the Southern California Writer’s Association read the first paragraph to us. I also had the privilege of sitting next to Nancy at the same meeting. Between what she revealed about her novel and hearing the first paragraph, I knew I had to read it.

Jason Lee is the son of a civil rights activist and soldier killed in Viet Nam. His mother, a woman with a strong work ethic, never quite came to grips with bei
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Honestly must admit I started looking forward to Uncle Mooks. He's the type character hard to lose track of after closing a book. Couldn't quite catch up with the mother, and barely Jason. From my memory both were model characters that worked well in this model story. I kept thinking how perfect this book would be for writing classes... it reads that perfected. The dialogue, the showing, the intrigue slipped in, in careful increments, at certain intervals, along with many 'good' examples for str ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough about this book. I have read it three times before posting this. It isn't an easy read. What I mean it hits all the organs! Your head, your heart and your gut!You will be affected by the story. No wonder it has won many awards this last year.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
(Reviewer's note - I am a writer and freelance reviewer. I received no compensation or inducement to review this book. Thank you. vmls)

Nancy Klann-Moren’s The Clock of Life is a rich, wonderful story with a distinctive flavor and narrative, engaging characters, and written with a compassion for some of the darkest days in the history of America.


The Clock of Life is an excellent historical fiction, which takes place in the American South in the last quarter of the 20th century. Reminiscent of To
Frank Mundo
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
THE CLOCK OF LIFE is the debut novel of writer and artist Nancy Klann-Moren. A true coming-of-age novel or bildungsroman, the book details the physical, intellectual and moral development of a boy named Jason Lee Rainey in Hadlee, Mississippi during the 70s and 80s. In typical fashion, the book provides the obligatory firsts you might expect to read in an initiation or development novel – the first school experience, first true friend, first love interest, first car, first alcoholic drink, first ...more
Awesome Indies Book Awards
Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include THE CLOCK OF LIFE by NANCY KLANN-MOREN in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients at

Awesome Indies' Assessment:

The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren is a Southern USA coming of age story about a boy called Jason Lee who lives with his widowed mother and his uncle, who was injured in Vietnam and still suffers from the remains of shrapnel in his brain. The book details Jason Lee’s emergence from inn
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'Jason Lee, the clock of life is always tickin towards the funeral parlor'

`I mean, whatever you do, make sure you stay one step ahead of the second hand.' These are just some of the wise and wily words spoken by Uncle Mooks, our main character Jason Lee's Vietnam War veteran uncle, and this terrifically successful book is just brimming over with such bits of insight and wisdom and humor and a true taste of the Southern lingo. The theme of time ticks through every chapter and phrases such as `Tim
Rabid Readers Reviews
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
“The Clock of Life” is a coming of age story in the Deep South. Written in regional dialect, it follows young Jason Lee from his first day of school to the point where he’s sure if he will or won’t follow his father’s path. Jason’s mother virtually throws him to the wolves at school and two little boys who feel he shouldn’t mix with the black students beat him up. In the same day he learns something shocking about his never mentioned father. “The Clock of Life” is a heartfelt and emotionally ric ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young adult readers and beyond
This is the story of young Jason Lee as he discovers himself, his family’s history and that of those surrounding him. He’ll make friends that others think he ought not to have, save the lives of those that wouldn’t have that helping hand coming otherwise, and even lose someone whom he proudly calls brother…all in the span of about a decade. It’s a lot for anyone to take in, let alone a young boy growing into the man he’s destined to be. Funny thing about destiny though; you never really can see ...more
Lisa Jones
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The South’s ugly past (and present) struggle with racism has been the topic of many novels, but few authors have handled the post-Civil Rights Movement period with such skill as Nancy Klann in The Clock of Life. How did the South handle friendships between white and black students in recently-desegregated schools? What happened to the Vietnam War veterans after their shamed reentries into American society? What was the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War in the pe ...more
Amy’s Booket List
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have to be honest and confess that I am not usually a fan of character pieces. I understand the significance and value of this genre of writing, but I am generally more of a story girl who loves fast moving plots. So when I agreed to review this book, I wasn't expecting to love it. When I got the book, I put it in my pile and left it there for a few weeks. Then I picked it up and barely put it down.

The most compelling part of this book is the way Jason, the son, discovers himself while discove
Anne Monteith
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is reminiscent of “To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and is one book that will remain on my Kindle. Set in the 1980’s in a small Mississippi town it is story about a boy’s coming of age in a place where things haven’t changed much since the civil rights movement.

When Jason Lee Rainey starts school he takes up for a black boy and in doing so he becomes the life-long enemy of twins who are bullies and this is also the start of his friendship with the black boy, Samson Johnson. He tell
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
With the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in the news, now is the perfect time to discover THE CLOCK OF LIFE by Nancy Klann-Moren.

This intriguing story deals with the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, in the 1980s where racial attitudes were steadfast. The story focuses on Jason Lee, a white boy, and his strong friendship with Samson Johnson, a black boy. In addition, Jason comes to know his larger-than-life father, who was killed in Vietnam, through stories from those around him. Ja
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Synopsis: "In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980's, 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 ine
Felicity Terry
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. Not just a novel that chronicles two of the most significant events in recent American history (the fight for equal rights and The war in Vietnam) the author seamlessly brings the story up to date by setting much of it in the mid nineteen-seventies to eighties when shockingly racial tensions still run rife in the small Southern town of Hadlee, Mississippi.

Very much a coming-of-age story, a novel of a boy's search to find himself, to become the sort of man the father he never
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of books set in the South or about the South. I've found them to be generally funny or serious so I'd either have a good laugh or a good cry. I expected a good cry from this book but I didn't. It's a lovely coming of age story but it lacked richness. It provided many sentiment narratives yet it didn't invoke a full heartfelt emotion in me. I'm shock because it's easy to get me emotional so this says a lot about the read. I think the author was giving examples of the effects of racial i ...more
Karen & Gerard
The Clock of life by Nancy Klann-Moren is a real good coming of age story about a young white boy who befriends a young black boy in the south. This book had my attention all the way! I really enjoyed the main character and the story line was well told. Great writing that I think both young teens and older people would enjoy.
(Gerard's review)

The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren is about Jason Lee desiring to be as brave as his dad and do the right thing no matter what. It shows the effects of
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books that I have read in many months. In fact I liked it so well that I stayed up most of the night finishing it.
I took me into world so different from mine and I found it most fascinating. Growing up about this same time period, it makes me realize how lucky I was to live in an area where we were not prejudiced against those not like ourselves. I
would recommend this book for teens on up.
Aug 12, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: guest
Author's guest post at my blog:
Randy Stone
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brief history lesson

I am not an American and this is the second book I have read recently on the same subject, racial discrimination around 60s and 70s. This book was very easy to read and gives an insight to the attitude of a bigoted minority in those years.
Joe Vitucci
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. A boy growing up in the South with his mom who gets addicted. He befriends a black in school, and they become blood brothers. His dad was in the march on Selma for civil rights, and later killed in Vietnam. And so on and so forth. Good story. Well told.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it

A heartbreaking coming-of-age story, where growing up is tough and the shaping of a boy into a man is fused with tragedy.

The story

In the southern states of America in 1974, the world is still very much a segregated place. Young Jason Lee has his first taste of how it can be on his first day of school, where, being his own independent person, he befriends one of the black boys in his class.

He and Samson grow up together, best friends and blood brothers, sharing everything and fighting to protect

Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren is a fictional account of real life struggles in the south after the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War. During this time of great change, Jason Lee Rainey is growing up amidst racial tension in Hadlee, Mississippi in the shadow of his late father, a passionate white Civil Rights activist who died in the Vietnam War. Jason Lee has same convictions as his father but he is faced with the brutal evidence of continued racism all around him. With a vibrant ca ...more
Andrea P.
May 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

This book reminded me a tiny little bit of To Kill A Mockingbird. I really enjoyed this story, it's really about a boy who is growing up during a time of change, and yet in a town that refuses to accept this change. I thought Jason Lee's character was strong and despite some obstacles he learns a lot about himself over the course of the novel.

As much as I really enjoyed reading the story, and got into everything that was happening, I
Christine Staszko
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I did end up enjoying this book by the end but not tremendously. I struggled trying to figure out where it fit in with other books I've enjoyed and what it was that made me like it enough to recommend. I realized it reminded me of some of the better books I was assigned to read in high school about serious issues like race equality. I'd begrudgingly start reading the book, hardly finding any interest in the story at all. It was only when the author hit you with shocking scenes that reinforce the ...more
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While traveling for her work as an advertising and marketing executive, Nancy began writing short fiction for fun. She soon started taking writing classes and attending writer’s conferences and workshops. The goal was to create unique stories told in a distinctive voice.
Her short stories are eclectic and poignant. They were her primary genre until the day she read an excerpt in a class and the ins

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