BigJohn's Reviews > 11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King
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Sep 13, 13

bookshelves: audio-books
Read from August 16 to September 12, 2013

What a fun story. In 11/22/63, our hero Jake Epping discovers a time portal that allows him to return to the same time in 1958 each time he enters it. After commiserating with a cohort, they decide to send Jake back to 1958 so that he can stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing the president. That, in a nutshell, is the premise for the entire book. But of course, there are 5 years between 1958 and 1963, so there's a lot of time to kill. Jake kills this time by intervening in a number of other ways, hoping to ensure a few other people's better future through his meddling. Along the way, he meets and falls for a sweet gal. And, along the way, he runs into the past's continued attempts to keep him from intervening.

This story marches on inexorably towards November 1963, and as the date pulls closer, I found myself getting more and more anxious. It's testament to a writer's ability if they can engage me so much in a story that follows along a track that I am quite aware of, yet whose destination i cannot anticipate. King does a wonderful job creating a past that you can't help but fall for yourself. And it's hard to swallow, but I found myself cheering for the anti-hero - I mean, after all, he is going to do a greater good, right? BUt he still is going to have to do some pretty bad things - and still hoping for the happy ending.

I won't give the ending, but I'll say that it's very nicely done. Time travel as a literary device is fraught with issues, and this one is no different. But it's still an entertaining and engaging story, and the ancillary devices King creates to lend substance to his plot are well-thought and make sense given a willing suspension of disbelief.

This is only the 2nd King book I've read, and I could hardly believe how much of a tearjerker this one was. Not quite the horror story I anticipated, and not too lovey-dovey. But lovey-dovey enough that something still got in my eye.
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Reading Progress

08/16/2013 marked as: currently-reading
08/20/2013
15.0% "Downtown Derry looked only marginally more charming than a dead hooker in a church pew."
08/28/2013
33.0% "The past is obdurate."
09/10/2013
82.0% "November 17, 1963. Getting down to it."
09/11/2013
92.0% "Aftermath"
09/13/2013 marked as: read
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