Counter Clockwise

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
September/October 2010

By Jason Cockcroft, Reviewed by Hayden Rasberry

Counter Clockwise book cover

Counter Clockwise, by Jason Cockcroft;
Katherine Tegen Books: New York, 2009;
$15.99

Have you ever read a book that has changed the way you look at your life? A book that opens your eyes? Counter Clockwise did that for me. Suddenly, you don’t take everything for granted. Most days I wake up, look at the clock, get dressed and head downstairs. I am in the same house, same place; I am with the same people. It’s a secure feeling, like a rooster crowing at the break of day. I always took that for granted, waking up in the morning and having a house and parents that care for you. I never quite realized how lucky I am, that my life is intact and doesn’t just break apart suddenly. Like shattering a thin layer of ice.

But some people aren’t so lucky. They set out one day and take the wrong step and suddenly things shatter. This happens in Counter Clockwise, by Jason Cockcroft. A bus that is just going too fast hits Cornelle, Nathan’s mom. The bus tries to stop but it’s too slippery, and right there in that split second life will never be the same for Nathan or his family. The author captured those seconds when the bus slides but can’t stop. My heart beats as if I am there living the life of Nathan.

Every single person has the right to choose his or her step. As I write this I choose to tap this review out. I don’t have to but I do. Changing the course of my life in a small way but still changing it. Anybody can accomplish anything because they choose the steps they walk. Nathan’s mom made the wrong steps. Why does it have to happen to her? Only fate can tell. Nathan is overcome by grief; he can’t understand why this had to happen to him.

One night after school he goes to a bonus class. By the time it’s finished it’s dark. As he waits for his dad, something odd happens. He meets a Beefeater who helps keep the crows away at the Tower of London. He remembers his father telling him his grandfather was a Beefeater. His dad was always embarrassed having his father dress up for a job; in Nathan’s dad’s view not even a job. The creature says his name is Bartelby. Nathan follows him and Bartelby starts changing the dates and papers at the school’s office. Nathan tells him to stop. He says that Bartelby is ruining somebody else’s work. Bartelby turns with a glint in his eye and says, “What would we do if everything were perfect?”

That line was interesting to read. It’s true. What would we do if everything were perfect? In India they sew beautiful rugs. They purposely make a mistake so their work is not quite perfect. So the work has character.

Then something unimaginable happens, Batelby takes Nathan back in time, counterclockwise, to the day his mother died. He is confused and scared. He walks along and sees his mother about to walk across the road. He runs toward her and then everything is a blur of sirens and shocked people. Nathan begins to move back and forth through time’s mazes. Will Nathan lose himself in the past? Or will he be able to move forward, into the future?

Counter Clockwise Hayden Rasberry

Hayden Rasberry, 11
Yarker, Ontario, Canada

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