Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review - 11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hardcover, 849 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Scribner
Source: Own copy

'If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?

Jake Epping, 35, teaches high-school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock'n'roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas-guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?

My Thoughts:
This book is one of those that seems to stay with you for a while after reading it.

I have to say that it definitely wasn't what I was expecting when I first started it. I knew it was a bit different to the usual King books, but being a King reader for over 20 years I still guess I had a bit of a set path that I assumed it would follow. Boy, was I wrong!

In short, this book was amazing. The amount of research and detail that has gone into this book just stunned me. It also made me extremely curious about a topic that I really wasn't all that interested in before. Being Australian, the JFK assasination never had as big an impact over here than it obviously did in the USA but I now have a much greater appreciation for the conspiracy theories and stories that I have heard about this major event over the years.

The main character of 11/22/63 is Jake and I thought he was such a genuine and likeable guy who really did want to do what he thought was the best thing for his country. I really enjoyed seeing how Jake handled the time travel and adjusting to life in another era and then watching him develop as a character while even finding love along the way.

Many of the other main characters were the same. Very well developed, interesting and easily able to be imagined in the real world. King always seems to create such good characters to me and this book is no exception.

The ending was definitely not what I was expecting but after thinking about it for a little bit it really was the best option, although quite a sad one. You really feel for poor Jake by the end and all the years and effort he went through and it makes you really think about what you personally would do if given a similar opportunity and faced with the same hurdles.

King is certainly a versatile writer when he wants to be!

The Book Depository

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