Wednesday, December 21, 2011

11/22/63; Stephen King


Title: 11/22/63
Author:  Stephen King
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Edition: eBook
Source: Purchased
Setting: Maine and Texas
Date Completed: 12/15/2011 
Rating: 5/5
Recommend: yes

I was so anxious to read this book, and I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed.  A hefty tome involving time-travel, this book was my daily lunch companion for over (2.5) weeks. It's Stephen King at his finest: the subject was extremely well researched, and not the horror fest of King's earliest days as an author.

The protagonist is Jake Epping, a 35-year old, divorced, English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine.  He supplements his teacher's income by also teaching GED students.  One of his assignments to the class is to write an essay about an event that had changed their lives.  However, Jake was not prepared for what one of his students, Harry Dunning handed in.  A terribly written, but shocking essay, about the October night in 1958 when his drunken father, came home, flew into a rage and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a severe leg injury that left him with a pronounced limp.  Jake is horrified at what he had read.

A short time later, Jake’s friend, Al Templeton, who owns a local diner, has seemed to age overnight. He shares a secret with Jake, about a portal to the past (1958) which is located off a backroom of the diner.  Al urges Jake to try it out, and tells him about what he was working on.  On Jake's first attempt down the rabbit-hole and back in time, his plan is to try to prevent the deaths of Harry Dunning's mother and siblings.  All does not go as planned, and every action taken to undo the past, causes a "butterfly effect" effecting the future.  When Jake returns to 2011, he sees how sick Al is, and decides to carry out Al's plan, of going back in time to (1958), with all the information currently available about JFK's assassination and work to prevent President Kennedy's death.

Jake, travels back in time, from Maine, to Florida to Dallas and then to Jodi, Texas, under his new identity as George Amberson.  He finds a job teaching school, falls in love with a woman named Sadie, and settles down in his new life and new neighborhood waiting for Lee Harvey Oswald and wife Maria to settle in as his neighbor, so that he can keep tabs on all of his moves.

Without giving away too many details about the plot, I'll just recommend that you invest the time and read it for yourself.  The characters were fully fleshed out, and the writing drew me in and made me feel like I had been transported back in time as well. Having been born in the early 50's, reading this novel was like a blast from the past. Whether it was the music references, the vehicles, or the laughable price of gasoline, every detail from that period seemed authentic. It's one of those books that if you allow yourself to suspend belief and just go along for the ride, I think you'll agree it was worth your time.

33 comments:

  1. This book is sitting at the top of my pile to be read. I've been waiting until after Christmas to start it, since I know I will do nothing until it is finished. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

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  2. My book club will be reading this one next. I'm looking forward to it.

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  3. I have this one in the pile...it's going to be my first King!

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Diane. It has a great (unique) title, doesn't it?!

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  5. You've sold me on it, Diane. This could be one Stephen King novel I do enjoy!

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  6. This one is on my TBR pile. Now to find the time, although King's books seem to be fast reads.

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  7. Glad to see you enjoyed it! I just finished (and really liked) It, so I'm looking forward to reading more by King. When I'm ready, this will be the one I read next.

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  8. when I first say this book mentioned it did not seem like one I would like...but now i am thinking I may be wrong.

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  9. I am glad to see that you loved this. It is already loaded on my Kindle!

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  10. Oh that sounds good, we all like that scary dude!

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  11. Fantastic review. I really enjoyed this one, too. So well researched, so engaging. You nailed it. Merry Christmas!

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  12. I'm glad you liked this - I'm seeing so many negative reviews of it that I was starting to wonder about it ..

    I am hold number 18 at the library for this book, so I still have a while to wait.

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  13. So glad to see how much you liked this! I ordered it as a Christmas present for myself and can't wait to get started!

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  14. I definitely am going to read this one, just not sure when.I don't usually read King but this sounds so good.

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  15. Interesting to see that King has his character time travel. I usually associate him with pure horror and terror and don't read him at all. This one sounds interesting though.

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  16. I picked this one up the other day. I can't wait to read it! It's just to find the time to read it as it's quite big.

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  17. Sold! I just added it to my wish list. I think I might get a gift card for Christmas so I'll wait and buy it with that. If not, I just may "accidentally" one-click buy it at Amazon!

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  18. I am so excited that I am going to be able to get the chance to listen to this one soon, and can't wait! It sounds wonderful, and I am so glad that you liked it!

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  19. I just keep hearing people rave about this one. I may need to check it out.

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  20. I'm looking forward to reading this, and have it ready to go after the first of the year (for the Chunkster Challenge I joined).

    This book spotlights a time in my life that I'll never forget, and I'm looking forward to revisiting it with a unique twist.

    Glad you enjoyed it...I think I will, too.

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  21. I bought this one the day it came out and I still haven't read it. I even downloaded it onto my Nook thinking I might read it on my recent vacation and NO. I'm so excited about this after reading your review!

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  22. I am looking forward to this book, but know I won't get to it until 2012 ;o).

    Merry Christmas.

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  23. I loved this one too. I haven't written my review yet but this was one of the best books I read this year.

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  24. So does it have any horror like his other books? Any gore, etc? Because I absolutely love time travel but I avoid his books like the plague because of the gruesomeness.

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  25. I've been waiting until after Christmas to start it, since I know I will do nothing until it is finished. Glad you enjoyed it.
    RevitaDerm Review

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  26. Alyce,

    As for blood and gore, not really -- there was nothing that made me cringe. There is some violence and Oswald was a wife-beater as most of us know.

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  27. Dave and I are reading this one together and hope to finish it on our road trip this weekend. So far we're enjoying it tremendously, although at least for me, some of the historical detail on Oswald drags a bit. But what an incredible research job!

    Have a Merry Christmas!

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  28. Hi Diane, just popping in to say Merry Christmas!

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  29. Diane, you just have a way of enticing me! I loved Ferrante's book at your suggestion, and was staying away from this from King until your review. Glad to know that it isn't a horror fest as his earlier work; it sounds so interesting! Maybe something for my nook should Santa not appear with it...

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  30. Isn't this a most breath-taking book? I just stepped right back in time and revelled in the details and memories of a stark time in my then young life.

    Excellent writing!

    :)

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  31. For what ever reason I haven't read much Stephen King since he wrote Insomnia. It was a book I really didn't like and it seemed to turn me off of him. I think I read Cellular, and didn't care much for that one either. Maybe I should give this one a try since it seems to be something a little more unique.

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  32. I loved, loved, LOVED this book! I couldn't put it down and thought the time travel and relationships were beautifully shared. This was my second time reading a Stephen King book and it convinced me to make sure to keep him in my ongoing reading lists. I'm so glad you enjoyed this as well!

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  33. I haven't read it but i've been reading the Rate&Review,I just know it will be a great read,He never dissapoint's,I just never get enough of Stephen King!To all sayer's about the high price,(even the Hardback),there's a bookstore has it for way way more!I'll just wait till i get mine from BN,It's worth It!That's why i love my BN,that other has it priced in the mid Thirhty's!!!Same book,Same Author!!Come on...

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