11/22/63: A Novel
One of the Ten Best Books of The New York Times Book Review
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Soon to be a miniseries from Hulu starring James Franco
ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963, THREE SHOTS RANG OUT IN DALLAS, PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED, AND THE WORLD CHANGED. WHAT IF YOU COULD CHANGE IT BACK?
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.
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It's funny, because every time someone asks me what my favorite book is I don't have to think twice. I find myself being so animated and excited to tell people the book in which they have to stop me saying "Ok ok ok don't give it away." When I found out King was the author of this book I was a little curious as it is so different from what he usually writes. I wasn't hesitant knowing damn well I'd read it regardless but there is nothing about this book I don't like. The flashbacks, the characters, the history, the notable mentions, all of it. You go back in time with the character and before you know it you finish the massive book and STILL get a bit upset that it's over.
I can't say enough about this book. Just read it. I chuckle at the negative reviews.
Excellent novel. Having read IT a few times in my life, I thoroughly enjoyed the portions of the book based in Derry. It was almost as though I was reading a story about my hometown and I enjoyed how King created an overlap between the two universes.
As usual, King's characters and environments are rich with detail. King sticks to his usual formula of describing just enough to allow you to paint a mental picture without being too verbose. I am easily bored by authors that feel they need to describe every detail of something - I read to escape and imagination is a big part of that.
5 stars. Highly recommend.