The Clock

James Lincoln Collier, Author, Collier Collier, Author, Collier, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15.95 (161p) ISBN 978-0-385-30037-7
In 1802, factories are being built across America, and 15-year-old Annie must go to spin at the local mill so that her improvident father can pay for a clock. However, the mill's corrupt overseer, aptly named Hoggart, makes improper advances toward her. With neighbor and potential sweetheart Robert, Annie gathers evidence against Hoggart, but Robert dies in a suspicious accident and Annie must struggle on with little help. Her eventual triumph over Hoggart has a bitter taste: Robert is dead, and she cannot yet follow her dream of becoming a schoolteacher. As in My Brother Sam Is Dead , the Colliers dramatize abstract historical issues in a realistic, small-town setting; they show changes in women's roles, in material goods and even in ways of seeing time (differences between sun time and clock time), as these topics affect the townsfolk's everyday lives. The novel thus succeeds not only as historical fiction, but also as a riveting story of the tragic romance and hard-won victory of one teenaged girl. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
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