The Clock Of Life

Nancy Klann-Moren

Book Cover

GENRE

YOUNG ADULT DRAMA HISTORICAL FICTION

1980s & '90s

    Core Theme

    COMING OF AGE, JUSTICE, FRIENDSHIP

    TIME PERIOD

    1980s & '90s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, STAND BY ME, IN COUNTRY

    CHARACTER LIST

    • JASON LEE RAINEY: (15)
    PROTAGONIST, SELFLESS,
    ASPIRING, STRONG MORAL CODE
    • SAMSON JOHNSON: (15)
    SIDEKICK, FUNNY, CHARMING,
    OUTSPOKEN
    • J.L.: JASON LEE’S LATE
    FATHER, HONORABLE, LEADER,
    VETERAN

    Logline

    The Clock Of Life is a coming of age story that explores how two unsettling chapters in our history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, affect the fate of a family, a town, and two boyhood friends.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Hadlee, Mississippi

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Year Published: 2014

    Starting Description

    During the 1980's two boyhood friends, one white, one black, must navigate through the old, steadfast attitudes of a small Mississippi town. The protagonist's father was killed in Vietnam and the boy longs to become the kind of man he never knew.

    Ending Description

    In the end the protagonist finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right, and comes to realize he is his fathers son.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity, Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending, Meaningful Message, Philosophical Questions, Coming of Age

    Plot - Premise

    Quest

    Main Character Details

    Name: Jason Lee Rainey

    Age: 15

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Honorable, Naive, Perseverance, Selfless, Underdog, Aspiring, Complex, Empathetic, Engaging, Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Samson Johnson

    Age: 15

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Complex, Empathetic, Funny, Adventurous, Charming, Masculine, Outspoken, Skillful, Engaging, Honorable

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Uncle Mooks

    Age: 35

    Gender: Male

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Aggressive, Clumsy, Complex, Crazy, Honorable, Lone Wolf, Outspoken, Underdog

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Cassie Rainey - Mama

    Age: 35

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Complex, Flexible, Gracious, Outspoken, Secretive, Selfless, Aspiring, Blunt

    Brief

    Adolescence is hard, but for Jason Lee Rainey, growing up in the Mississippi South with a Black best
    friend at his side is definitely much harder. With Jason’s late father being a Civil Rights activist, he
    searches for the meaning behind his social and political involvement, all while dealing with the old,
    steadfast Southern attitudes about race.

    What We Liked

    A touching coming of age story, The Clock of Life doesn’t shy away from important historical events
    that enrich the narrative and give the story relevancy, tying it to today’s reality in a strong way. At the
    same time, it takes pride on giving its characters depth and reason - or purposeful lack thereof. The
    depiction of racism and violence found here, while disturbing, may find resonance in lieu of current,
    still very present, prejudicial ideals. The sheer absurdity of it is enough to evoke discussion within the
    audience and prevent said ideals to go any further, thus making the film/TV series a catalyst for
    change.
    Film: A film would deeply benefit from the same thorough ties between the everyday events of
    Hadlee, Mississippi, and previous historical landmarks witnessed by the protagonist’s late father. The
    perfect recreation of three decades - from the early 1960s to the mid ’80s - is crucial to the story,
    establishing concurrent timelines that inform one another in various ways. The same can be said
    about the characters of Jason Lee and Samson, set to be portrayed here by different actors
    throughout the childhood and teenage eras of the story.
    TV: The structure of the book, divided by different years and events, suggests a perfect translation
    into a TV series. The historical backstory would also find its space here, situating the main narrative
    with more depth. Stand alone episodes could recreate Jason Lee’s parents’ life back in the 1960s, not
    just as flashback sequences.

    Synopsis

    Hadlee, Mississippi, late 1970s. Country white boy Jason Lee Rainey starts in a new school and
    quickly becomes best friends with Samson Johnson, a black boy. The Chubb brothers, racist as they
    come, harass them from day one, yet it does not stop the two boys from creating a deep bond. At
    home, Jason Lee lives with his protective and outspoken mother Cassie and his uncle Mooks, who
    needs to be cared for after being wounded in Vietnam. Jason Lee’s late father, J.L., was a Civil Rights
    activist who died in that same war. With his family not really speaking about his father’s legacy, it
    becomes very difficult for Jason Lee to learn more about it. Meanwhile, the mother is involved with a
    new man, Mr. Boyle. Their relationship leads her to a nervous breakdown due to unresolved issues
    with J.L.’s death, and she goes away to a hospice.
    Now the man of the house, Jason Lee finds a hidden box in his mother’s closet that contains,
    amongst J.L.’s belongings from the army, his father’s diary. By reading it, Jason Lee learns more
    about the details of his father’s activism, including his involvement in the Selma to Montgomery
    march and of his good friend nicknamed Spam, learning that his father had a great friendship just like
    his and Samson’s. Jason Lee’s newfound knowledge gives him the strength to stand up to racism -
    something his father would’ve done. One day, Jason Lee and Samson pick up a hitchhiker with
    Samson’s old car, and the mysterious guy ends up leaving a knife in the back of the truck. The
    hitchhiker turns out to be a Chubb visiting from out of state. When he attacks Samson to get the knife
    back, Samson ends up killing him. Samson gets killed soon after during an altercation with the
    remaining Chubb brothers.
    Jason Lee copes with the tragedy by fully embracing his father’s ideals. He teams up with Reba, a
    young girl he grew up with who’s starting to see him through different eyes, and together, they locate
    Spam. Jason Lee promises to become a lawyer for the NAACP and he now goes by J.L., like his
    father. His decade-long search for his roots have finally come full circle.

    About The Author

    Nancy Klann-Moren is a former marketing executive who took up writing as an outlet on long flights while traveling for work.