First, the tear-jerker portion - we have the grandmother and grandson struggling with Alzheimers and the fear of the future. This is a topic close to my heart, as we are dealing with this horrid disease in our family, so I was interested in the way the characters would handle it. However, at 145 pages, the story just isn't long enough to delve deeply into a subject that heavy and the disease had to progress unrealistically quickly and be dealt with superficially.
Still, I was thinking "that's ok" because the point is really the grandson who is saving his money to buy his grandmother the clock she has admired in the store window - a clock that reminds her of her youth - for Christmas, thus bringing in the Christmas portion. But, as you'll see, that storyline never quite makes it to daylight either.
The second facet - the romance - focuses on Sylvia and Joe, high-school sweethearts separated because of tragic circumstances. Both have returned to their hometown and are looking for a second chance at their relationship. I liked their story, even if it was a little predictable.
There is a minor sub-plot involving Floyd and Doris Culver and their attempt to revive a tired marriage, but again there just isn't time to really flesh out this story.
Then we come to the point where all the characters meet and their stories combine and it's a pleasing ending; a nice "happy ever after" moment that was - dare I say it again - predictable. No problem, I was still "ok" with it. Just because you can see it coming, doesn't mean it's not a good ending.
But wait, what about the clock? You know, the one in the title? It gets relegated to afterthought status and doesn't have the impact it could have, which is sad because the idea had the potential to be a touching conclusion and to shine a little hope into life with Alzheimers.
It's probably hard to believe by now, but I actually liked this story, or at least the possibilities of this story. I was disappointed that so many good ideas got squeezed into such a small box and none of them had the chance to develop.