Last year I finished Under the Dome and thought, “Wow, Stephen King, your books don’t freak me the heck out like they once did!” (Okay, that might be my fault for reading The Stand when I was eleven – or my parents’ fault!) So when I saw that 11/22/63 had come out, I wanted to read it. I figured, I’ve already finished one giant King book recently so I’m primed for another. The my mom bought the book on her nook when she went on a family trip to Africa and came home just raving about it, so I was stoked when I was able to check it out from the library at work for free dollars.
11/22/63 tells the story of not only just the day of JFK’s assassination (that is not a spoiler – read the title and look at the picture!) but it deals with time entire concept of time travel. Jake is living in 2011 when Al, the man who owns a local diner, invites him to take a trip through time via a portal in the pantry of his diner. And boom goes the dynamite. What follows is part thriller and part love story. King looks at what the repercussion of time travel are, and also looks at our capacity for love and human compassion in the midst of suffering.
This book was a nicely written book, and my mind kept tripping out (in a good way!) on certain concepts, such as how Al bought the same hamburger meat over and over again (because every time he went in and out of the portal, he “reset” it, thus “allowing” the meat to still be there on his next trip in – this becomes incredibly relevant to Jake’s own trips later in the novel!) and over the idea of Sadie and Jake being married in the “past.” (I apologize for these “quotes.” I just have to use them because all of these ideas are relative and hard to define unless you’ve read the book – the “past” is the past in 2011, where Jake is from, but it’s the present when he’s there!).
Be warned: this isn’t just the story of preventing JFK’s assassination. Only the last third to fourth of the book really deals with that. The majority of the book centers around Jake changing the personal tragedy of one of his students, and of Jake falling in love with Sadie while waiting, in the “past” of course, for 11/22/63 to roll around.
My only real gripe is that there were some phrases that were repeated over and over again that made me want to ask King’s editor what the heck he was thinking. For instance, the phrase “the past harmonizes” and its variants. Yes, we get it, there are things about the past that appear to show you that it knows you’re there – now please, for the love of quality writing, find a better way to say that! Over all, though, this was a great story, and I enjoyed it a lot. Fun characters, a mind-bending plot, and an excellent story make it a highly recommended book from this girl!