Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King
April 10, 2012 43 Comments
This book was on the shortlist for the Indie Lit Awards in the Speculative Fiction genre. As I was in the jury for this genre, I had to read it, which was a pleasure to do! (And actually, I wanted to read it anyway, not just for the awards).
It’s a huge book, and it could have been a bit shorter for my liking, but a good read anyway.
11/22/63: What it is about
Jake Epping, a 35-year old high school teacher, is asked by hamburger concession owner Al to go back in time to stop president Kennedy from being assassinated. Al has found a portal to the past in his store room. He is too ill himself to make any more journeys into the past (although he’s been there many times) and so he hopes Jake will do this for him. Every trip, however long it takes in the past, only lasts two minutes in the current time.
Before he makes up his mind, a mature student tells him about a horrific incident in which his father killed most of his family. Jake decides to interfere in this incident which happened in 1958, the year that the portal leads to. Then he waits until 1963 to try and stop the Kennedy assassination. But while waiting, he falls in love.
11/22/63: What I thought
I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the 1950s feel. It was clear that King had spend time researching the details to make this a convincing story.
The first 100 or so pages were a bit slow, but then the story took off. There were some slow bits in the middle too. At least, Jake spends several years seeking out Lee Harvey Oswald and making plans to stop him from murdering Kennedy. This I found a little boring at times. Too much focus was given on this. I enjoyed the love story with Sadie much more.
The book felt a bit disjointed at times because of the different story lines. The result of Jake’s visit to the past was surprising and could maybe have been expanded on a little more.
But overall, this was a very good read with a great feel for the time.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I got this book: for review from Simon & Schuster for the Indie Lit Awards.
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 850
First published: 2011
Genre: science fiction