THE CLOCK by James Lincoln Collier

THE CLOCK

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Annie Steele wants to be a teacher, but her spendthrift father keeps the family in debt; after he buys a factory-made clock, she's forced to work at the local textile mill. Time now has definite boundaries: meals must be on schedule, and life is regimented by minutes. At the mill, she finds old friends Hetty and Robert, as well as new ones among the wild New York orphans recruited as cheap labor. When the vicious overseer, Mr. Hoggart, ``pesters'' Annie sexually, she complains to adults who ignore her pleas. Meanwhile, Robert finds out that Hoggart is stealing wool; this and his protection of Annie lead Hoggart to engineer Robert's ``accidental'' death. Bravely, Annie perseveres in trying to prove Hoggart's guilt. The irreversible changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution are well defined here: hard work for wages on a relentless schedule replaces endless household chores, while at home father's word is still indisputable. Annie is feisty and remarkably healthy; a little more emphasis on the cruel working conditions for women could have been made. Still, a good introduction to a pivotal point in social history, though it lacks the subtlety and dimensions of Katherine Paterson's Lyddie (1991), which handles the same themes with more artistry and skill. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-30037-9
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1992




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