11.22.63: A Novel
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? The author's new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. In this novel that is a tribute to a simpler era, he sweeps readers back in time to another moment, a real life moment, when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history. Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program.
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I had no idea what to expect when I bought this as I knew it wasn't in his usual style or genre, but was pleasantly surprised at how cleverly written it is (no idea why I was surprised to be honest as I've read pretty much everything he's ever written) I was worried it may focus too much on the whole Kennedy assassination itself and would centre around just the events of that day of which there are millions of books already, but thankfully, although the whole story is a build up to that moment in history, and Oswald (not the main character) plays a massive part in the story, it's Kings introduction of other characters that makes this stand out from the rest. This book is their story and events in their lives that lead them to that fateful day. He is a master at character integration and this book is no exception to his skill. You end up feeling you know these people personally and want them to succeed in all the endeavours they participate in.
Without giving too much away (very difficult) this book does start in the present day and travels back to the late 50's/early60's. The journey and transition from the present to the past is very smooth and expertly written. Although I wasn't around in those times, his description makes it easy to believe you are there and his visual descriptions are wondrous.
As with most books there were chunks that I felt weren't needed; had they been taken out the story would have been none the worse for it; at the same time there were areas I personally felt needed more exploring and would have added greatly to the whole experience. The build up and narration to that fateful day is gripping and at times will have you on the edge of your seat willing the main character on; wanting him to change the course of history.
The only disappointment for me was the ending.. There is a point where it could have ended; I would have closed the book and gone "Wow.. amazing story"; however he chose to go just that little bit further (I'm assuming to tie up loose ends) but I feel in doing so he insulted the intelligence of his readers to make up their own conclusions to the final outcome. All in all though a cracking read
The most captivating King book I've read. Though it is very different from his normal style, he does a great job of getting and keeping attention through all of the pages. As a regular Stephen King reader, I highly recommend this one.