11/22/63

11/22/63

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
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When English teacher Jake Epping discovers a portal to the past, he decides to use it to prevent the John F. Kennedy assassination. The plot contains profanity and violence.
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? The author's new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. In this novel that is a tribute to a simpler era, he sweeps readers back in time to another moment, a real life moment, when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history. Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students, a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night fifty years ago when Harry Dunning's father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake's friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane, and insanely possible, mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake's new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life, a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2011
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451627282
1451627289
Call Number: F KING STE
Characteristics: ix, 849 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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WhidbeyIslander
Aug 23, 2017

Well written and interesting although if you think about it too closely it all falls apart. Plus, as usual, King pads the story with tons of extraneous crap that doesn't move the story along. Probably more interesting if you are old enough to have experienced 11/22/63 itself.

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iancmac
Aug 09, 2017

This is not simply a great time-traveler's story, it is a great book and I highly recommend it. The story was extremely engaging, as was the unexpected comfort I found in Stephen King's vision of the past, and the town of Jodie in particular. I will miss spending my time with Jake, Sadie, Deke, and Miz Mimi.

d
dionyzus
Jun 26, 2017

Fantastic book! The premise pulls you right in.. what if an ordinary man could change history through time travel? And once the premise is set, King displays his gift for developing a rich cast of characters. You feel for the protagonist and also feel like you're part of the action, like watching a movie. (Speaking of which, the Hulu miniseries done in 2016 is very good too!) And as it turns out, you'll find that King has done his homework on the Kennedy assassination, and gets a lot of details right on the actual events as they happened leading up to the fateful day in 1963. This novel, which stands on its own outside of his legendary body of work, just confirms that King is one of the great storytellers of our time.

s
sandra80
Jun 08, 2017

Next to The Stand, my favorite King novel. Unlike many of Mr. King's books, this one had a great ending. Loved it start to finish.

m
magyarian94
Jun 07, 2017

Very rich in worldbuilding and a great mix of both speculative and historical fiction. There's even a return to Derry! If there's one knock it's that it drags on too long in the middle.

t
tnscott
Mar 08, 2017

In true Stephen King fashion, you get a nice healthy portion. Excellent book with rich characters. Well worth the read.

l
loudem
Feb 06, 2017

Not much to say about this very long book. One thing's for sure, King is one hell of a story teller. Did it need to have so many pages to get his message through? Were all the descriptions and situations essential? I'm not sure, maybe. Is the fact that it's long makes it better, or clearer? I'm not convinced. But this is Stephen King, the unstoppable scribbler. And we love him just the way he is. It's just that sometime when he finishes another epic, the size of it is somewhat daunting to face. Also it's pretty heavy inside my backpack.

DBRL_KrisA Dec 19, 2016

This is my first ever read of anything by Stephen King. The premise here is that the narrator has access to a "rabbit hole", a gateway to the past. The rabbit hole always takes him back to the same day in 1958. He is convinced by a friend to go back in time and stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing John F. Kennedy; since he can only go back to 1958, he has to live through the intervening five years while he waits for Oswald to arrive in Dallas, and these five years are the meat of the story.
One of the most common less-than-positive comments I've heard about this book is that it's so immense, and I do feel that there are parts of the story that were not crucial to the plot that could have been trimmed down or removed altogether. The narrator performs two "trial-runs" to see what effect his actions in the past will have on the future. While reading these parts of the book, I couldn't help feeling that, while they were interesting, they were mostly just keeping us from getting to the heart of the story.
I have a couple other issues with King's handling of certain characters - specifically, Jake's ex-wife, who is an alcoholic, and Sadie's ex-husband, who is mentally ill. But in the narrator's eyes, these aren't bad people who also happen to have these other flaws; Jake's ex-wife is a bad person because she's an alcoholic. John Clayton is a bad person because he is mentally ill. Ergo, all alcoholic women are conniving b*tches and all mentally ill persons are deranged stalker-killers.
After going to so much trouble to explore some of the characters, I was disappointed that King's portrayal of Oswald was so one-dimensional. There was no attempt to explain the reasoning Oswald employed for killing Kennedy; Oswald is just portrayed as a sociopath bent on getting the attention he felt society owed him.
I did like two concepts related to time travel that King uses well - the idea of the "obdurate past", which is the idea that the past resists being changed; the greater the change, the stronger the resistance. Coupled with that is the concept that changes to the past will have repercussions beyond the specific changed event: the "butterfly effect". While Jake thinks some of his actions are small and inconsequential, he comes to realize that, just by even being in the past, he's creating ripples of change in the future.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Dec 12, 2016

This was the first ever book I have read by Stephen King, and it was hands down amazing. This book took place in 1963, Dallas Texas. Jake Epping, also known as George Amberson, goes back in time. Mission: save John F. Kennedy from being assassinated. Why: to see how life would change, of course! In my opinion, this was one of the most interesting and thrilling books I've ever laid my eyes on. There were absolutely NO trivial or dull moments. In 11/22/63, you are brought back to the sixties, where life is tremendously different. Jake Epping is given the opportunity by his dying friend, Al, to discover if it was really Lee Harvey Oswald who killed the famous former president. Since I am Canadian, I knew hardly anything about American history, nor cared. While reading, I got so interested to the point where I took time out of my life reading information on the JFK assassination, as well as creating projects at school based on this topic. Stephen King made all aspects of John's assassination interesting! I particularly loved how much research he put into creating this book. There were so many details, conspiracies, and options portrayed in this novel. I definitely recommend, and I give this book 5/5.
- @Montgomery of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

j
Janice21383
Jul 18, 2016

Time travel stories are fascinating but seldom satisfying, because they're usually full of logical holes. In 11/22/63, although one could argue with the choices King's generic hero makes, the author does a good job in plugging them, if only by saying, in effect: "this is the way this world works. Deal with it!" The story is overlong, as per usual for a King novel -- you can skip anything to do with high school hijinks -- and the ending runs out of gas. I was disappointed the story veered away from the assassination/possible conspiracy angles to a love story we could mostly do without, especially since the protagonist knew it was his duty to avoid entanglements and focus on his mission. However, I was glued to this book throughout. King should do more historical fiction.

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