Author: Stephen King
Release Date: November 8, 2011
What if you could go back in time and change one significant event in world history—Hitler’s rise to power, Kennedy’s assassination, or even 9/11? Would you do it? Jake Epping, a thirty-five year old English teacher who teaches GED classes in his spare time, is going to find out. It all begins with an essay Jake assigns his GED class to write: tell him about a moment that changed their lives. One student, Harry Dunning, writes about the night his father killed his entire family—mother, brothers and sister—in a drunken rage. His entire life changed forever because of that event. Jake realizes that life turns on a dime, and anything, literally anything, could change the future. Not long after that, Jake’s friend Al tells him a secret; his storage room is really a portal to go back in time, back to one particular day in 1958. Once Jake’s shock wears off, Al asks for his help; he wants Jake to take over his plan to stop Kennedy’s assassination. Jake agrees and takes on a new persona, that of George Amberson. His journey takes him across the country, from
Lisbon Falls, Maine to Jodie, Texas (where he finds love) until he finally lands in . Now George has to change our history, giving us a new future. But will it be the one we hoped for? And how willing is the past to change? Dallas, Texas
Stephen King manages to do it again in this heart-stopping read. It has all the elements we’ve come to expect from a King book—it’s long (849 pages long), it contains its fair share of cryptic characters and our protagonist has to go up against unbelievable odds to succeed in the end. One thing missing from this book was the typical Stephen King gore and gross-out factors. That was actually a refreshing change. King’s writing is so powerful that you can practically smell the unpolluted air of the 1950s. He painted an idyllic portrait of a world that no longer exists and now, I wish I could live in it. As usual, King finds a way to bring former places and stories into the current book. Whether it’s a brief mention or a full-out correlation, King has a knack for reminding his readers of stories maybe long forgotten. This time, King a found an interesting way to bring two of the characters from his book It into the story. I really loved this, because It is one of my favorites (yes, the one with the creepy clown). 11/22/63 did drag a bit in the middle, though at more than 800 pages, I would have been surprised if it hadn’t. Finally, 11/22/63 turned out to be a rather poignant love story, which took me by surprise. King doesn’t always write effective love stories, but this one snuck up on me and shocked me. I even shed tears as I read the book (I’d like to say a few tears, but it was actually s lot of tears).
If you are a King fan, this is a must-read. It has everything we, his fans—King’s Constant Readers—love about a Stephen King story. And quite frankly, if you aren’t a King fan, you might want to give this one a shot. It’s not scary, unless changing the past to change the future terrifies you. This might be just the book to ease someone into the strange world of Stephen King. And once you are in, it’s pretty hard to get out.
My grade for 11/22/63: