11/22/63 by Stephen King
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Time Travel, Thriller/Suspense
Source: Personal Collection
Add to: Goodreads
Dallas, 11/22/63: Three shots ring out.
President John F. Kennedy is dead.
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.
I’ve had 11/22/63 by Stephen King on my TBR list for awhile now. I kind of have a small obsession with the Kennedy assassination but I won’t bore you with that. I watched the first few episodes of 11/22/63 on Hulu and I absolutely HAD to know what happened next and I couldn’t wait for the show to bring it to me one episode a week. I’m just not that patient. Plus vacation was coming up so I decided I’d dig into this long read and find out for myself what was going to happen.
It seems appropriate that this was my first Stephen King novel. Really the subject matter is the only reason I picked it up. Stephen King and I don’t have the best past. I tried to read one of his novels in middle school and at that time his writing was just too detailed for my preteen brain to consume. I’ve learned that sometimes I have to give these monster books at least a few hundred pages before it really captures me. I had the same kind of commitment to Outlander before it hooked me. And once I was hooked, I was HOOKED.
The thing that I loved the most about 11/22/63 was the setting. I say I would have loved to live in that time but realistically I know I wouldn’t love it as much as I think. For one, none of the books that I read now would be published then. Blogging wouldn’t be a thing because there would be no Internet. There is SO much that I wouldn’t be doing day to day that I enjoy.
The characters were enjoyable. I really liked Jake Epping. I thought he was a good guy caught in several bad situations but handled it as well as anyone can be expected to. To be honest, I don’t think that I could have been as self-sacrificing as Jake was. I don’t know that I could have made a lot of the decisions that he did to keep his word.
I think King gave an interesting hypothesis on what could have happened if that last bullet had missed and Kennedy had lived. I don’t agree with it but I’m a mild conspiracy theorist to begin with so I was always going to be hard to sway. In the end, once I really got into 11/22/63, I couldn’t put it down. I’m really glad that I was able to pick up this book and give it the proper amount of time and attention it needed.