Drebbles's Reviews > 11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King
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Feb 29, 12

bookshelves: 2012
Read in February, 2012

What if you had a chance to go back in time and not only change events that scarred a friend forever but stop John F. Kennedy's assassination? Would you do it? When Jake Epping is given that chance he takes it and travels back in time as George Amberson to 1958 to help his friend and attempt to save Kennedy's life. He knows his journey won't be easy but even he is surprised at how much the past doesn't want to change. he prepares for events the best he can but one thing he isn't prepared for is falling in love. as he gets closer to stopping Lee Harvey Oswald he needs to be prepared for the possibility that if he succeeds it may be at a very high price.

"11/22/63" reminds me a lot of earlier Stephen King novels in the sense that he created a character (Jake) that readers care about and a world that he immediately draws readers into. Jake reminds me a lot of John Smith from The Dead Zone - not only is he a teacher like Johnny but Smith's quest was also political and they both made tremendous sacrifices for the sake of their country. The fantasy elements are well done - King does it so well that readers will believe you really can travel into the past - King also does an excellent job of blending history with fiction. As Jake listened to Oswald's conversations I often forgot I was reading a novel and thought they were actual documented conversations. King also does a good job of recreating the years 1958 to 1963 - a time where everybody smoked in public, a time before cell phones, cable TV, and the Internet. One of the things King does surprisingly well is the romance in the novel; another thing he does (as only he can do so well) is have the past itself as a character - a character that fights change as hard as it can. As always King treats long-time readers to a nod to previous books of his, most noticeably "It". At over 800 pages the book is a bit too long and tends to slow down a bit in the middle but it speeds up towards the end and the last part is riveting reading. King sometimes doesn't seem to know how to end his books and that is partially true for "11/22/63" - parts of the ending don't quite work, felt a bit rushed and I was left thinking "he went all the way back in time just for this?". However, the very end of the book is brilliantly done, King at his best. I confess I had tears in my eyes when I was done with the book.

"11/22/63" is a return of Stephen King to his classic form - one of his best novels in recent years. Even non-Stephen King fans should like this one.
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