Chris's Reviews > 11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King
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Jan 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read from January 11 to 13, 2012

Briefly? I thoroughly enjoyed 11/22/63; this was my first foray into Stephen King's novels. Before reading this one, I had only read his shorter works - short stories etc. I enjoyed every aspect of the book and believe it will appeal to a broad audience.

My interest in this book was the historical fiction aspect of it. As I was reading it, I didn't think it was as much of a historical fiction as I thought it would be. In retrospect, it is an interesting historical fiction, but the focus is on the Lee & Marina Oswald family rather than Kennedy. Anyone with an interest in the Kennedy assassination may likely enjoy that aspect of it.

I also expected more story after the assassination than there was: could it be prevented, how might it be prevented, what would happen to the future if it were prevented etc. The greatest bulk of the story is (a) how Jake/George passes his time leading up to 11/22/63 and (b) the earlier mentioned historical fiction around the life of the Oswald family. The climax of the story of course does focus on 11/22/63 but there's significant (700 pages) of buildup.

Why I liked it?
Maybe King does this in all of his novels and I'm just not that familiar with the rest of his work. The surprises in the book were masterful; I thoroughly enjoyed them with raised eyebrows and voracious reading much later into the night than what my work schedule allows ;-) When you are surprised in a movie its because it hits you in seconds. In a book, it takes several pages to fully describe a surprise when it happens. For me, surprises when reading typically are not as shocking or jarring - at least from my experience. NOT in 11/22/63 though. The surprises that occur are quite jarring, exciting and intriguing.

The story within the story - the pure fiction - is so absolutely well done. I don't know how many love stories I've read or will read in the future; that's just not my interest. However, the relationship and character development is incredible; it steals the book away from the historical fiction. Anyone that enjoys a good to great love story will enjoy 11/22/63, in my opinion.

Don't miss the afterword. King mentions a specific book in the afterword as *the* book about time travel. King also talks a little about some of his thoughts on time travel and the book itself. The amazing thing to me is that King says he originally started or conceived of this novel in 1972. He waited for various reasons and said he's glad he did. Personally, the book, as it's written now and as we read it, was not possible in 1972. The 40 years of events since then are critical to all aspects of the story.
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Huff Mann I'm just starting this book. I hope it's as good as the reviews indicate.


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