Friday, January 6, 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King

"November 22nd, 1963 was a rapid-fire sequence of indelible moments: Shots ring out; a president slumped over; a race to the Dallas hospital; an announcement, blood still fresh on the First Lady's dress. But what if President John F. Kennedy didn't have to die; if somehow his assassin could have been thwarted? For Maine schoolteacher Jake Epping, those hypothetical what if's become real possibilities when he walks through a portal to the past. Without special skills and still unfamiliar with his new/old surroundings, he struggles to discover a way to change the history he left. Like its Under the Dome predecessor, Stephen King's 960-page novel shows that this master of suspense is back at the top of his game."
(from Goodreads)

my thoughts:

I really stepped outside of my comfort zone on this one! I'm not usually one to pick up a Stephen King novel, but I'm always on the hunt for a great time-travel story and this one came highly recommended...and I have to say that everyone who said "go for it" was right.

How many times have we watched with horror the famous Zapruder film footage of JFK's limousine ride past the Texas Book Depository that fateful day in Dallas and wished fervently....please, God, PLEASE! Don't let this tragedy happen!

In this thrilling novel of suspense, Stephen King takes us on a journey back in time to the late 1950's and early 60's to explore the possibility of changing the course of history.

Armed with the knowledge of the assassination, Jake Epping steps through a strange portal in time to the year 1958 to attempt to find out the truth about JFK's assassination. Was Lee Harvey Oswald the lone shooter? Did he have an accomplice? He soon finds that there are forces working against him....ominous forces as we learn that "the past is obdurate." It doesn't want to change. And for every change that is put in motion, there is a "butterfly effect." Ripples of change occur...but is it for the best?

At times humorous and nostalgic with Americana in the late 50's, and other times chilling and suspenseful, this ride through time has many threads of story that intersect -- I found it got a bit tedious and rambled overmuch! I just wanted to get to the day of the assassination to see how it would all play out. But King's storytelling kept me glued to the pages and I felt like I had a front row seat to watch the movements of Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina, as the fateful date of November 22, 1963 drew closer and closer.....and the obdurate past fought back. Will he succeed in thwarting the assassination?

Gotta read it yourself to find out.

4/5 stars

Title: 11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
kindle edition


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I loved this book (as you are probably well aware) and got both my brother and DH to read it. I listened to it on audio and loved every bit of it. I agree, there were some parts that were a bit tedious, all the watching, watching, watching of the Oswalds, but at the same time, fascinating. Lee's mother (what a pistol!), Marina and odd assortment of people coming in an out of their dingy apartment. My favorite part was his time in Jodie, but loved the whole Dunning plot line too.

Joanne said...

Julie -- Yes, I recommended this book to my two brothers, too. All of the story threads were interesting, but I thought some editing to move the story along would have helped the pacing -- I just wanted to get to Nov. 22! The Jodie storyline was sweet. As far as Lee's mother, have you seen pics of her? Looks like she stepped right out of a Stephen King horror movie!!

Unknown said...

I've never read a Stephen King book but I might give this one a shot - probably on audiobook because I can't stomach how long most of his books are.

Joanne said...

dolleygurl - good call on the audiobook -- this one is 900+ pages (I read the kindle version) but Julie said the audio was great.

Yvette said...

Read it, loved it. I too stepped outside my comfort zone by picking up a Stephen King novel. But boy am I glad I did.

This is one instance in which the hype was right.

This is a spectacular achievement.

I just wonder when someone is going to make it into a movie. I'd like Matt Damon for the part of Jake. :)

Joanne said...

This would make a great movie, Yvette. With all the music and dancing of the 50's combined with the plot to assassinate the president, it would be like GREASE meets JFK!!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I got this one for Christmas and can't wait to read it! I read a lot of Stephen King when I was in high school, but since then I haven't picked up one of his books. That will change in 2012.

Thanks for the review.

Joanne said...

I'm sure you will enjoy it, Melissa, as the premise is fascinating. I'm glad I read it as I think it will be a novel that many will be talking about and I won't feel out of the loop (as I am with The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo & The Fire & Ice series!).

Unknown said...

Great review! I've been curious about this book because of the premise and subject matter, but a little leery of it because Stephen King's "normal" writing is about as far from my "cup of tea" as you can get. ;)

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