“11/22/63” by Stephen King
Synopsis: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.
5 out of 5 stars
I put off reading this book for a long time because I felt sure it wouldn’t interest me. I don’t care much for politics or political history and I was really afraid this would end my great love affair with Mr. King.
I should have known, I could not have been more wrong.
I don’t even know where to start with how much I loved this book. It ranks right up there with one of the best books I’ve ever read – hands down. This is not the Stephen King who wrote “The Shining” and “Pet Semetary” and scared the daylights out of me. This is the King who wrote “The Green Mile” and made me cry while reading it.
“11/23/63” is the story of Jake Epping who travels back in time from 2011 to 1958 with the help of his friend Al who has found a portal of sorts in the back of his restaurant. Al’s plan was to stop the JFK assassination, which then becomes Jake’s mission. He has to lay low for a few years before the event, but he has the opportunity to right some other wrongs in the meantime.
He lives for those some of those few short years in a small town in Texas, falling in love with the town and falling in love with the librarian at the high school where he works as a teacher while he waits and watches Oswald and the road that leads him to JFK. There was obviously a huge amount of research that went into this book. I don’t know if the facts are 100% correct and to be honest, I don’t care. The story is what interests me, the fiction. The story of Oswald’s descent into murder as written in this book is exceptionally well done. The details and the characters are brought to life in such a way that the writing must mix fact with fiction.
This book also relies heavily on the “butterfly effect” – that can be defined as “The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever” by the Urban Dictionary. I often wonder if I could go back and change the past, would I? After reading this book, my answer is a resounding no.
“11/22/63” is a massive book but didn’t feel like a long read. The majority of the books I read are loaded onto my tablet so I don’t have to carry around a stack everywhere I go. The book is over 800 pages long, and kept my attention for every one of those pages. I didn’t want it to end, but at the same time I did so I could find out what happened next. While “The Stand” remains my all time King favorite, “11/22/63” is a very close second.
The cover for this book is perfection.