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2012 Book Discussions > 11/22/63 - Parts One and Two (Watershed Moment & The Janitor's Father) (March 2012)

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message 1: by William (last edited Mar 01, 2012 01:09PM) (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) For discussion up to the end of Part two - the janitor's father.

message 2: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) Ok, whew! If you've reached the end of Part II, you've read some fairly harrowing stuff by this point. Some of the themes I really enjoy here are, and please feel encouraged to comment, argue, agree, whatever:
#1: The past fights actively to unfold the way it wants to.

#2: Jake really LIKES living in the past.

#3: By this point, we know something is up with the "reset" concept of the portal, and can't wait to find out.

I wonder, does Jake just like the old Root Beer (mmmm, I get thirsty just thinking) or does what he enjoy really boil down to having a high degree of certainty about the "future"?

James (zampana) King is in classic King mode. The first third of the book, for many writers, would be all the story we'd get, and we'd probably feel pretty happy. Here, King has setup his greater story, invested us deeply in the main character, the world and the stakes of the greater adventure. Wonderful stuff.

This is classic King in how he tells the story too. I will over stretching to say the least, but I keep thinking about how Homer uses stock phrases and cliches that repeat to help in memorizing his epic, and here King does the same -- classic King cliches, those folky sayings and cliches that sometimes grate but here work, because of the deeper themes of the story.

And there's the lovely twists not only in how Jake ultimately deals with his first big challenge, but also how our hero seems to surprise time itself in how he takes down the mean old dad. Our hero also elegantly deals with the secondary save, keeping Al's test out of her wheelchair, in a way that makes us cheer for Jake that much more.

I'm deeply invested in this book like I haven't in a King book in many years. I love the echoes to IT and other classic King. I want to go back to the older books and discover Jake in those pages, which would be the ultimate trick and a real treat, and something I wouldn't put past this modern day master of popular fiction. Can't wait to see if he can keep it up.

This is a writer who writes into his story blind. No outlines, very little preplanning. One has to assume there's rewriting to bring it all together but after 30 years into writing, I wouldn't be surprised if King is cruising through a first past with all guns a-blazing. What a ride!

Jessi | 3 comments I used to read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger with my best friend. After a while I just couldn't get into anything of his anymore. But this book for someone reason kept catching my eye when I would see it advertised. And I decided to get it from the library (and lucky me the group is also having a discussion on it) From the beginning of the book it pulled me in. I am really really enjoying. Jake & Al are such interesting characters. Everything about getting pulled back to the past up to how coming back to the future & how it effects things really interests me. I am really enjoying the book so far.

Jessi | 3 comments Oh I was going to say about the root beer: I think I remember hearing somewhere that they probably wouldn't taste the same because something ingrediant wise changed about root beer? Or was the just coke?

message 6: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) I have to say, some of those first root beer references, where he describes the look, smell, taste, etc...I was jones'n BAD for that root beer. Perhaps King missed his calling as a food writer!!

message 7: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) So some questions for those who have finished the first two sections of the book - please don't answer if you've already read so much further that you KNOW an answer if there IS one:

#1: What do you think about the success or failure of Jake's first trip through the "rabbit hole"?

#2: How successful will his attempt at changing the lives of the Dunnings will prove in 2011?

#3: did you detect/enjoy/hate/otherwise have an opinion (if you noticed) the connections to other King works, notably It?

#4: If the past is "obdurate" and actively fights his efforts to change, considering how intense and unpredictable the resistance was for the Dunnings, wouldn't this suggest an almost impossible resistance to Oswald, considering how many more lives are effected?

#5: Who is the Yellow-card man, anyway?

message 8: by Deborah (last edited Mar 09, 2012 06:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah | 983 comments I've never read much about King. I am sure I read something, maybe a part of his non-fiction book on writing or an article. But what I think I recall reading about was his early life as a writer, not his childhood. Still, I can't help but make assumptions. I suspect there was some alcoholism that informed his early years, making an impression. I say that because here we see not him imitating himself, but returning to themes. We see what scares Stephen King I think, and it's not the first time the monsters are drunk and mean.

This feels and reads different from earlier work like the Shining, but you can see, I think how it was written by the same guy.

message 9: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) I try to do a fair amount of research when I read or lead a discussion. He did in fact struggle with alcohol, for about 10 years after his first successful novel was published, and he wrote that he delivered the eulogy at his mother's funeral whilst drunk.

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments Blimey.

message 11: by Tine (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tine Will wrote: "I try to do a fair amount of research when I read or lead a discussion. He did in fact struggle with alcohol, for about 10 years after his first successful novel was published, and he wrote that he..."

I think I recently read he doesn't remember writing some of his most famous books because he was drunk when he wrote them...

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments Nice work if you can get it! Seriously though this does suggest he's a man of ability as well as being a high-functioning alcoholic.

Deborah Wells Wow - I did not know that about King. I just read this article - wow. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/...

message 14: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) It's true, but I ask instead of how highly he writes whilst drug-addled, how splendid would he have been/be (I believe you're the lesser for the experience) had he been writing SOBER? Perhaps history's opinions on the worth of Mr. King's writing would be higher?

Deborah Wells Yes, and perhaps. One has to wonder what great things those murdered brain cells could have added to his artistry.

Reading the article was like reading one of King's horror novels - he did so much cocaine that he had to use cotton balls in his nose so as not to get blood on the typewriter. Ewww.

Deborah Wells Finally finished with Parts One and Two, and here are comments on a couple of the questions:

#2: How successful will his attempt at changing the lives of the Dunnings will prove in 2011?

I always get this sense of impending doom whenever there's discussion about changing the outcome of history. I believe the feeling may be due to the fact I truly believe in my heart what my parents told me as a kid: "Everything happens for a reason". But I am rooting for changes that will be positive and that any negative shift due to the butterfly effect are outweighed by the positive.

With that being said, I have this darn nagging in the pit of my stomach that won't go away...and it's not from that extra helping I ate at dinner.

#5: Who is the Yellow-card man, anyway?

I have no clue. I couldn't figure it out.

message 17: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) I've known people who are such habitual users of Cocaine that they get stuff badly lodged in the holes the drug burns in their sinuses. Like food. It's gross.

Re:the yellow card man, I couldn't figure it out at this point either.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 26 comments What a heck of a start! I am very curious to see how it all turns out!

I have to admit, I'm very much in the camp of "don't mess with the past." We know scientifically that it is in fact possible to travel to the future (if you get close to a black hole) but NOT to the past (at least that we know of in the physics of our universe). I think this is for a reason. Can you imagine the chaos, if we could just fool around with the past on a whim? I like stories like this, in that it's an "alternative history" type of thing, that is interesting to ponder, but at the same time, I'm glad that I know it's all just fiction, that the past is truly safely in the past. I think it would be very frightening otherwise.

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Just sit back and enjoy. It is a wild ride.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 26 comments Oh, I'm enjoying, for sure! But it would be very creepy if I knew it were possible. That's why we like sci-fi so much!

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