Book Review: 11/22/63

Book Review: 11/22/63

11/22/63: A Novel

by Stephen King
Published by Scribner on November 8, 2011
Genres: Alternate History
Pages: 849
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
four-stars
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. 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.

In Stephen King’s “most ambitious and accomplished” (NPR) novel, time travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

Be careful what you pray for; you may just get it. Unintended consequences pepper this novel, and drew me in to the degree that I frequently thought about how I would handle the trials of time travel in-between reading sessions. This was a great, long yarn about an ordinary guy in extraordinary circumstances. Jake was by turns brilliant, corny, brutal, in love, and funny. Online readers complain about the length of this novel but I didn’t even notice it. The length of a good story doesn’t really matter. I choked up at the end, and was sorry to see the new people I’d met go. Overall, this was a satisfying read and I’m glad my book club made me do it.

The local Book Club meets at Winterset Library, and it was one of the first things I joined after moving here. It’s been a great way to meet people, and it’s pushed me to read some books I probably wouldn’t have chosen on my own. This month our book is Stephen King’s 11/22/63, and it’ll be the first in an ongoing series of books reviewed here on The Intrepid Crone.

Please leave a comment or start a discussion about this book, or others you’ve enjoyed. Let’s push each other to read outside our normal zone!

About Stephen King

Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. He graduated from the University of Maine and worked odd jobs while establishing himself as a writer. His first horror novel Carrie, was a huge success. He published his earlier work under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. His books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide and have been adapted into numerous successful films.

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