Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Intriguing read! I haven’t picked up any King for some time now, and this story sounded good from the start. Not the usual King genre (horror and mayhem) although there is certainly mayhem afoot.

An English teacher (Jake Epping) discovers a way to time travel back to 1958. After a “test trip”, which in 2011 only lasts 2 minutes, the man in whose diner the rabbit hole appears tells Jake the reason he revealed it to him. He wants to go back and stop the Kennedy assassination.

After going over the pros and cons, Jake wants to test the theory by making a smaller change. After that gets somewhat botched, he returns, only to go back again (with a new identity) to fix what he botched and then stay until 1963.

The way King captures the era is wonderful. From the East Coast to Texas, the sights and sounds and lingo of the early 1960’s and all it’s prejudices are back in living color, as ugly as some of them were.

I love King’s analogy of how things all ”harmonize”…the people he meets with similar names, music played at certain times, etc. And the homages to some of our favorite time travel movies and books is fun (ala Back to The Future…sports betting to make a living)

I also thought the idea that the past doesn’t want to change was good and somewhat of a new twist on time traveling. We didn’t do the whole “if you meet your grandfather” thing that is boring at this point…we all know that the space time continuum will blow up if that happens. (at least us Star Trek fans know that)

His portrayal of Oswald and Marina is sad, scary and unforgettable. If his research was accurate, and Oswald was as creepy as he makes him out to be, I feel badly for his family. Well, maybe not his mother, but read the book if you want to learn more.

I loved the end, and for me to say that about a King book is huge! I usually am very disappointed in his endings. Then, in his acknowledgements, he credits his son Joe Hill for the end. Way to go, Joe! I promptly requested one of his books from the library.

The only thing I will warm you of is the hand cramps you will have for days when reading this enormous tome (849 pages). I heard it referred to once a “Potter Thumb Syndrome.” But, RISK the Potter Thumb Syndrome and read this book. Especially if you enjoy historical fiction or science fiction. It’s not the typical King horror fare. A very satisfying read!

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