Monday, March 19, 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King


In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.
It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

My first Stephen King book since Cujo and Pet Sematary when they first came out.  I usually shy away from Stephen King, his books are massive, they are scary and to be honest kinda creepy.  Why then did I read this one?  

The premise of this book was too intriguing to pass up, and I'm glad I didn't.
There was no horror, blood and guts usually associated with Stephen King (remember Misery, legs chopped off? didn't read it but sure did hear about it).  Does that mean this is a boring book?  No of course not, it is anything but.   You gotta ask yourself what life would have been like if Kennedy wasn't assassinated on 11/22/63, what if you could go back and change it.   Or better yet, should you?

Life in the late 50's, early 60's, so different from today and King did a wonderful job of portraying it.  Sock hops, dancing, pound cakes.  No cell phone, computers or internet.  This book was well researched and the story just flowed nicely, I had a hard time putting it down - 'just one more chapter'  - devoured it in less than a week.

If you're avoiding it because you think Stephen King only writes horror, please reconsider.

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