May 25, 12
Read from May 13 to 24, 2012
“Who can know when life hangs in the balance, or why?”
When I was in high school, I discovered Stephen King books. It was the time when you graduate from books of your youth and have an encounter with the adult world. In Stephen King’s case, you encounter adult fears. I loved his books then (The Stand is still a personal favorite), but it has been at least two decades since I have picked up a novel by the master of suspense. Perhaps it’s because as an adult, I no longer wish to read books that scare me, or perhaps I felt I had just outgrown this genre. When 11/22/63 came out, I held off reading it. And then review after review came out and even my high brow literary friends couldn’t help but rave about it. So, surrender I did, and once I picked up this 849 page monster of book, I couldn’t put it down.
The story begins (you guessed it!) in Maine, where an adult-ed instructor, Jake Epping, is introduced by a friend to a worm hole. Through this portal, Jake has the ability to travel back to 1958, and when he returns to the present (in this case, 1986), only two minutes have passed. His friend convinces him that he has a unique opportunity to right a wrong that shook the nation – to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
One thing that makes this book different from other Stephen King novels, is the historical aspect. Because so much has been written about the death of JFK, King had his work cut out for him in the research department. As a historical fiction lover, the author did not disappoint here. And, true to form, this is definitely classic Stephen King. There is an element of the macabre, a bit of the supernatural, a tug of war between good and evil, and some great twists and turns. For the Stephen King fan, there is also a bit of deja vu – there are shades of It in this novel for sure, and probably some references to other King novels that I haven’t read. This was a great summer read, and a reminder that in spite of Stephen King’s mass market popularity, he is a fine, talented writer. 4 1/2 stars.