Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Review of 11/22/63 by Stephen King

What if you could change the outcome of one major event in the past? What would the effects be? How widespread would they be? If you could go into the past and change it, would you want to?

Jake Epping is a divorced high school English teacher who comes across a portal into 1958 in the diner of a friend named Al. When Al appears to him one day looking suddenly several years older, and dying of cancer, Jake learns that Al wants him to travel into the past and stop an important moment in American historythe JFK assassination. Al believes that countless lives will be saved if this one event is made to have never happened. Jake reluctantly agrees to the mission only after deciding to test the theory by stopping a tragic moment that happened in the life of one of his GED students. Jake enters a world where all the technological noise and distraction of our modern world is unheard of. He experiences a whole new life as a man named George Amberson, falls in love, and undertakes the difficult task of watching every move of Lee Harvey Oswald in an attempt to stop the tragic events of November 22, 1963. Will he succeed, and what will become of the world if he does?

11/22/63 is the first novel by Stephen King I've ever read. I've been very familiar with his work for my entire life since many of his books and stories have been made into movies. 11/22/63 isn't one of the horror novels King is most known for. Instead, it's a dramatic exploration of time travel and alteration of history.

The story is told in first-person point-of-view from Jake's perspective. This helps us to know and understand Jake really well. We see everything through his eyes, filtered through his motivations. The story world is brilliantly crafted. The descriptions of the world of 1958-1963 genuinely gives you the feeling of actually being there.

I loved the way King handled the concept of time travel with a portal that took Jake to one specific time and place each time he went into it. The novel is well researched concerning the events surrounding the JFK assassination. Overall, it's a dramatic almost adventure-like story that carries you into the experience of the protagonist. King clearly knows how to craft a compelling story, as his career and successes have clearly attested to. 11/22/63 is a great story, and I'll be interested to check out some of his other writings.

I received this book for free from Scribner

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