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11.22.63

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On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed.

If you had the chance to change history, would you?

Would the consequences be worth it?

740 pages, Hardcover

First published November 8, 2011

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About the author

Stephen King

2,530 books828k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Profile Image for Nataliya.
784 reviews12.5k followers
March 17, 2023
2012: Go ahead, book snobs. Proclaim haughtily that Stephen King is not Literature. I shall retort with a Pratchett quote, "Susan hated Literature. She'd much prefer to read a good book." And nobody argues with Sir Terry.

(Since 'a picture is worth a thousand words', the above is a three-thousand-words summary of this book. Impressive, no? And also - “dancing is life”.)

As you probably guessed from the not-too-spoiler-sensitive title, 11/22/63 is a book about time travel. My love for it is an exception rather than a rule - you see, I am not usually a fan of the Grandfather paradox. Speaking of which:
“Yeah, but what if you went back and killed your own grandfather?"
He stared at me, baffled. "Why the fuck would you do that?”
As the title proceeds to shamelessly tells us, the book deals with the assassination of John F. Kennedy (and if the title fails to convey the message, then hopefully you - like yours truly - have Google-pedia'd it. Hey, don't judge, I was born in Eastern Europe). Anyway, it's another of Stephen King's 'what if?' situations. What if you could go through a 'rabbit-hole' to the past? Would you try to change history for the better, would you try to right the wrongs? Well, who wouldn't??? And so Jake Epping, an English teacher, sets out to spend half a decade in the past to prevent the assassination of JFK (and to figure out whether Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed the lone gunman that day, despite all the conspiracy theories).
"As I flipped to the back, I kept seeing that double take. And the grin. A sense of humor; a sense of the absurd. The man in the sixth-floor window of the Book Depository had neither. Oswald had proved it time and again, and such a man had no business changing history."



“Even people capable of living in the past don't really know what the future holds.”
The question is - what would have happened had JFK survived the assassination that day in Dallas? Would we still have Vietnam War, race riots, and Martin Luther King's death? Could the lives of many innocent people be spared? Could JFK lead the country into a better future? Jake believes so. But what if the past resists the change? What is the price of changing the past?
"The past is obdurate for the same reason a turtle’s shell is obdurate: because the living flesh inside is tender and defenseless."
This book again dispels the long-believed but mistaken axiom that Stephen King is "just a horror writer" - of a spook and startle variety. No, in the traditional sense he is not. He knows that the true monsters are those that live inside every one of us (and, ahem, occasionally in Derry, Maine). He has created his own brand of psychological suspense - with the brilliant and scary insight into the minds of average everyday people (who all have some darkness inside them and a skeleton or two in the closet - sometimes quite literally) superimposed onto the masterful description of small towns themselves (eerily resembling sentient living creatures, determined to hold on to their dark secrets). (*) And we get plenty of these in this book, as Jake's quest to prevent that fateful shot in November in Dallas takes him along the way to the small towns of Derry, Maine and Jodie, Texas.
* I have an irrational fear of living in a small town, thanks to Stephen King. What if it turns out to be another Derry or Castle Rock?! *shudder*

(By the way, this trip to the past gives plenty of deeeeee-licious 'Easter Eggs' to King's Constant Readers. We see little echoes from Pennywise the Clown era in Derry, meet our favorite 1958 Plymouth Fury (Hellllloooo there, Christine!), and even get a nod to A Wizard and Glass with Takuro Spirit.
“On that gray street, with the smell of industrial smokes in the air and the afternoon bleeding away to evening, downtown Derry looked only marginally more charming than a dead hooker in a church pew.”
Derry of 1958 (right after the terrifying events of IT) is particularly repulsive and sinister. It's a small wonder Jake is able to continue his quest after starting in such an ominous place. But even there King manages to include some unexpected beauty - just remember Richie and Bevvy dancing.

And the reverse applies to the idyllic town of Jodie in which Jake is finally able to feel that he actually LIVES in the past. Deep down under the beauty and quaintness lies the ugly little reality. And the same remains true for the Land of Ago, the glorious past of absent airport security, no cholesterol warnings, and everyone happily puffing their way to lung cancers. The 1950s-60s are described with sweetness and nostalgia, but King never hesitates to bluntly remind the reader that the past has teeth and it's not afraid to bite.

King is an excellent writer and an amazing storyteller. His writing is effortless and natural, the characterization is apt and memorable, and the dialogue superb and real-sounding. I truly felt for Jake during each step of his journey. I loved how Oswald was described as not a villain or a nutcase but a flawed broken little man who stumbled into the middle of events that changed history. The other characters - Sadie, Deke, Ellie, Frank Dunning - were so well-written that I could feel them come to life (which actually can be a scary statement when the world of sai King is concerned). The story, despite its sizable length, was flowing along and never lost my attention. And his slow build-up of the sense of suspense and doom - think The Yellow Card Man (*) and jimla and the 'harmonizing past' - was just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the book.
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Pardon me for using this moth-eaten cliche, but Stephen King is like good wine - his writing gets better and better as he ages. Some may consider The Stand his masterpiece (to his dismay - who wants to think he's already reached the peak of his writing career three decades ago???), but I think this book along with “IT” may be it.
"Is there any phrase more ominous than you need to see exactly what you’ve done? I couldn’t think of one offhand."
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5 stars without hesitation for this excellent impossible-to-put-down book. Sai King, I will continue to be your Constant Reader for hopefully many more years to come, Capital-L Literature or not.
"If there is love, smallpox scars are as pretty as dimples."

——————
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2022: Rereading my enthusiastic thoughts from a decade ago almost makes me feel like a time traveller myself. Many things have changed since then, but my sincere love for this book remains the same. It’s still wonderful, still so well-written and engaging, and I am thankful to King for being able to bring me that happiness that reading a good book can give you.

Still unwavering 5 stars.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
May 25, 2015
“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.”

I still fail to understand why Stephen King isn't considered a writer of "respected literature". Because he writes sci-fi and horror? Because his books are so compelling, entertaining and popular? For me, King does what very few authors manage - he turns fast-paced genre fiction into well-written, thought-provoking literature.

And 11/22/63 is no exception. I've been putting this book off for the last few years; partly because it's an 800+ page giant, and partly because I studied the hell out of Kennedy and 1950s/60s America back in high school. But I find myself once again in that situation where I read a book I always meant to read and mentally kick myself for not giving in sooner.

This book is fantastic. Some of its critics don't like the crossover of many genres, claiming it "wanders from genre to genre". However, I loved how this book was many things. It's an extremely well-researched piece of historical fiction; it's a fascinating look at time travel science fiction (is it possible to change the past? What is the cost of doing so?); it's a small town thriller; and it's a love story.

King has this strange way of turning the most fantastical plots into stories about people who feel very real. He writes detailed and honest character portraits, so that these characters become so vivid and realistic, likable and flawed, that we so easily believe in everything that happens to them.

If you don't already know, this book is about a man called Jake Epping who - through his friend, Al - discovers a portal that takes him to 1958, where he takes over Al's obsessive mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination. He establishes a new life in the past, in a world filled with big American cars, rock'n'roll, and shameless racism, sexism and homophobia.

The amount of research King did is evident. He paints an intricate portrait of this time - simultaneously portraying an exciting, dreamy era full of different fashions, music, and the best root beer ever for 10 cents... and showing the darker side: segregation and the two doors and three signs - "Men" on one door, "Women" on the other door, and "Colored" leading to a plank of wood over a small stream. He makes this era seem like a bright, amazing, creepy nightmare.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unlike some of King's other works, the 800 pages didn't feel like too much to me and they just seemed to fly by. So glad I finally read it.

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Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,947 followers
July 15, 2021
Thank you, Steve. You were wrong all those years ago when you said you weren't very good at writing about love and intimacy. The love story here is full of honesty and tenderness. When I got to the last couple of pages, I was crying so hard I couldn't read.

11/22/63 is a supernatural, quasi-historical, philosophical, science-fiction love story.
If you're avoiding it because you think Stephen King only writes horror, please reconsider. There's no horror here, aside from a couple of mild gross-out scenes.

I know my experience would have been cheapened by knowing too much beforehand, so I'm not going to tell you what it's about in the style of a traditional book review. Be it on someone else's head to spoil your fun.

So why should you read it?

*There is DANCING!

*There is time travel -- Stephen King-style, with some original twists on the old device.

*There is a special treat for fans of It, King's novel about Pennywise the Clown.

*There is a charming (yet brutally honest) portrayal of American life in the late 50s and early 60s.

*There is DANCING!

*There is pie-throwing!

*There is sweet romance without sappiness.

*There is poundcake!

*There is derring-do! (With poundcake for afters.)

*There is insight into Lee Harvey Oswald and his associates, and their activities prior to 11/22/63.

*There is DANCING!

*There is a subtle but amazing use of "the past" as a character with an agenda of its own.

*There is snappy dialogue laced with humor.

*There is high school theater.

*And there is DANCING! Because dancing is life.

Thanks again, Steve. There's always room for you on my dance card.
Profile Image for ★ Jess .
198 reviews363 followers
July 27, 2016
Look at the amount of pages in this book.
Look at the amount of pages in Under The Dome.
Check the date this book is published.
Check the date Under The Dome was published.

*eyetwitch*

description

Real.

Utterly compelling. King outlines a clear end goal, and the novel benefits enormously as the journey to that destination unfolds. A constant suspense and wonder as the reader considers when- and how- we'll get to that fateful titular date, not to mention what will happen when we get there, and once we leave it behind. Part drama, part historical-fiction, part romance. King has stated the book's idea came to him in 1971, yet at the time didn't have enough confidence in his skill or ability to properly pull something like this off. Well, the wait was worth it. Truly masterful.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books249k followers
June 29, 2019
You may ask yourself how in the world did a wife beating, mental degenerate, and multiple country defecting (USA, RUSSIA and an attempt at Cuba) little shit like this

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kill the charismatic, handsome war hero, and most powerful man in the world.

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It doesn't make any sense. It never has made any sense. Oswald just does not fit the profile for a guy that could pull off an assassination of this magnitude. He's a semi-educated hillbilly, but he's surprisingly crafty."

Kennedy provided a golden opportunity to every disgruntled crazy out there by deciding to ride in an open car through the hostile city of Dallas, Texas. His swoon-inspiring smile, his wavy hair, and his beautiful wife would not win him votes hidden behind bullet proof glass. A tough election was coming up and Texas was again critical for the Kennedy/Johnson ticket. The parade route was even published in the paper. When Lee Harvey Oswald noticed that the route passed right by the Texas School Book Depository, his place of work, he felt the universe was talking to him. A president riding in an open car sounds insane, but the reality is that a president had not been assassinated since McKinley in 1901. I could see how Kennedy, weighing the risk, would have felt reasonably safe. We all know how that turned out.

Jake Epping, an unassuming English teacher, is given an opportunity to go back in time. The time portal, located in the back room of a greasy spoon, will take him back to 1958. A year tantalizingly close to one of the most traumatic events in American history. Jake, now George Amberson, just had to lay low and wait for 1963 to roll around and use that time to come up with a plan to stop the before mentioned Lee Harvey Oswald. King explores the well traveled road of the potential devastating effects of changing the past to influence the future. What if Kennedy had not been killed? My liberal leanings would have me believe that the world would be better today. There are piles of documentation showing that Kennedy had no intention of escalating the war in Vietnam. As he proved with The Cuban Missile Crisis, he was a man that understood the bluff without committing the hardware. He was a man that had been to war, and I find it hard to believe he would have committed American kids to die in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

One of Stephen King's strengths is that despite the fact that he is wealthy man and one of the most successful writers in the world, he really understands common everyday people. I found myself developing a real fondness for Jake. I winced when he failed. I whooped when things went well. His romance with Sadie is spun out so nicely that the Kennedy assassination almost becomes a back ground plot.

King placed a Japanese proverb at the front of the book and also used it so wonderfully in the plot. Every time I read it I find a smile on my face.

"If there is love, smallpox scars are as pretty as dimples."

The number on the back page does say 849 pages, but King's writing style makes reading this book effortless. The margins are wide and the print large, so don't let the size of the book keep you from reading this charming book.

I'm off to turn my time travel machine, nearly finished, back into something a little less dangerous to the world like a cappuccino machine.

See more of my writing at http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
You can like my blog page on Facebook here. JeffreyKeeten Blog page
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,348 followers
February 19, 2015
Hi, my name is Jake Epping and I’m a dull high school English teacher who has decided to go back in time to prevent JFK from being assassinated. I’ve decided to do this primarily because a fat man who serves me 53 year-old cheeseburgers (with whom I share only a vague casual acquaintance) has told me that I should. There is no other real reason for me to being doing this. There really isn’t. Once I’m there, I will also risk my life to save a bunch of other people that I barely know because I want to demonstrate how amazingly selfless I am. It is important to me that I am well-liked. I will fuck up several times, but that is no problem because I have no life and therefore I will simply go back in time again and repeat the experience until I get things right. At some point along the way, I will fall in love with an 80 year-old woman. But don’t worry!—when I go back in time, she’s 27. So that’s no problem, either.

Anyway, once I , I will nonetheless accept it as true and simply go back a-fucking-GAIN just to undo what I spent 800 pages doing.

And that is my story.

Except actually it isn’t. Now that I’ve returned more or less permanently to the back-to-normal present, I have decided to hunt down my former lover like the psychopath that I am and dance with her one last time. In my head, it’s oh-so-sweet and will bring a tear to your eye. But in your sane reality, it will probably have the effect of making you want to vomit—cuz she’s EIGHTY. It’s like that scene in Ghost where Sam uses Oda Mae’s body to put the moves on Molly. We get that it’s Patrick Swayze in spirit, but somehow we can’t let go of the knowledge that it’s actually Whoopi Goldberg who’s feeling up Demi Moore.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
October 21, 2022
Even though 11/22/63 has been swirling inside my brain for a little over a week now, I haven't had the chance to properly sit down and write out a coherent review. Life is busy, and yet I cannot shake the feeling of pleasure I received from reading this book. It is a masterpiece, no doubt, but also the type of story that is suited to King's old style of dialogue and flair for throwback culture. Dare I suggest that this book is the author's unicorn? Clearly he is immensely talented, and a good number of his other works are amongst my favorite novels of all time, but there is something unique to this historical time-traveling fiction that keeps blinking in my peripheral, almost like a jealous lover, keeping me from fully enjoying any book that I have picked up since finishing this one. Maybe writing this review will give me a sense of release, or perhaps I'll gear up the old audible and dive in for a reread. In the meantime, let me try to put into words what most of you have already said, since I'm the last person on planet earth to read 11/22/63.

If I'm wrong about the above statement and you haven't read this yet, all you really need to know going in is that an ordinary teacher from "present day" time travels back to the late 50's in preparation to attempt to prevent JFK's assassination. However, even that above statement is deceitful, because that's literally all I knew about this book going in, and it is SO much more. In fact, the JFK stuff doesn't really kick in until the last 35% of the book, but please don't take that as a criticism. The way that Stephen King chooses to prepare us and lead us up to that moment is nothing short of brilliant; the process in getting to that fateful day is just as suspenseful, intriguing, and emotional as the climax.

As unbelievable as it sounds, King has written one of the most tender, intimate, and swoon-worthy romances of all time between these pages. There are heaps of action, suspense, and easter eggs planted for fans who have read other books by the author (visiting Derry right after the first summer that the Losers Club experienced Pennywise was unreal). If you're an audiobook lover, I highly suggest listening to this book, or at least supplementing your hardcopy with it. I would love to see King write something similar to this in the coming years, but even if he chooses not to, I'll cherish this experience, and every reread after, as one of the most compelling stories ever written in our contemporary age.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,992 followers
November 30, 2018
Another big, big King book down!

This was truly and epic tale. While I know every author has to do research to make sure that the book makes sense and doesn’t sound ridiculous, this had to be the most research King has ever had to put into a book. When discussing historical events and the potential impact of changing them (both knowing what actually happened vs conjecturing what would happen if any details were changed), you have to make sure your knowledge of all related events is strong! The two most common themes of this book are: will the past allow itself to be changed? and the butterfly effect (one little change (flap of a butterfly wing) starting a chain reaction that leads to a landslide on the other side of the world). If you don’t have your history ducks in a row, it will be very hard to sell these themes, but King sells them very well!

I liked the extensive storytelling in this one. It almost felt like 5 different novels/storylines crammed into one. Any of them would be an interesting story by itself, but none of them truly appreciated unless combined with all of the others. I think that some may find that it is too much or that the story drags in places (with inner monologue screaming “get to the point already!”). This didn’t happen for me, but I could definitely understand it if some felt that way. A couple of times it felt like the story was starting over and I was a few hundred pages in! But, in the end I loved the whole package – quick places, slow places, exposition, character development, backstory, etc. – all of it!

Compared to other King? Well, the character development, interaction, and dialogue definitely felt like King. At places it felt like a Dark Tower spin off . . . maybe a little like The Talisman. There are direct references to some of his other novels () that will make King fans feel nostalgic. But, in the end, I feel like the book is in a class all by itself that is not really like any other King book I have read before.

It is not horror. So, if you have not read King before but want to get started with classic King you have heard rumors about, don’t start here! Go back to Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Dead Zone, etc.

But, since it isn’t really horror, more historical fiction and alternative reality, I think that some people who have been shying away from King might greatly enjoy this. After that, you could try more King, or move on and at least be able to tell your friends, “yeah, I read a Stephen King book *accomplished grin on face*”.

I do recommend this book if you are ready for an 850 page+ adventure. Know that you might devour it, or might need to set it down and take a break from it from time to time. Either way I hope you enjoy – just know you cannot go back and change the fact that you took the time to read it . . . or, can you???
Profile Image for Megs ♥.
160 reviews1,284 followers
March 15, 2012

I'll be honest here. It's really rare that I get through a book over 500 pages, let alone 700 (Nook pages). It's also true that I have never read a single thing from Mr. King until now. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe his books intimidated me, because when I was younger everyone was always talking to me about how his books were so long, and blah blah. Anyway, I am proud to say that 11/22/63 was my first book read by Stephen King. I hear it's so much different than his other work, but I also haven't met a single person that didn't love it. I read this book because everybody and their brother was recommending it to me as a "must read". I'm also not a big historical fiction fan, and didn't know how much I would enjoy reading about 20 years before my birth. I had nothing to worry about.


Here is a book that you never want to end, yet you do want it to end, because you need to know what is going to happen. King introduces us to a man named Jake who insists that he is not emotionless despite the fact that he doesn't cry often. I can relate to him right off the bat. Not a big crier, but I definitely feel emotions on a huge level. Jake is sent back to 1963 with a plan made up by a guy named Al who owns a local diner, and has the "rabbit hole" which is how they travel back in time. At first his mission is just to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating JFK, but then little things pop up here and there making him consider a few new things that need to be changed. I'm not going into any more detail than that, because I don't want to give away one single thing in this brilliant novel. Fans of his story "It" may be excited to know he revisits the town of Derry, Maine, where "It" was located.


The excitement and suspense in this book were astonishing. I held my breath in anticipation of certain things Jake had to do, and then some twist would come out of left field, and I would continue reading in awe. There were also several sighs of relief and a couple of cute moments involving Jake's romance that just made me say "aww".


I do feel like there were a rough 100ish pages that dragged on somewhere in the middle, and the book may have benefited by taking out a few things, but obviously I'm no expert. That's just my opinion. Again, this may have also been just something I was feeling, because I was very impatient and really wanting to know how this book would end. Some people didn't like the ending, but I loved it!


In the afterword King discusses his research a bit. You can most definitely tell that a lot of research and thought went into this novel. The descriptions are vivid and when I say you are really transported back to the 60's I mean it. You will feel it.


11/22/63 is a truly memorable, wonderfully written book that I have already recommended to several family members and friends, and I will continue to recommend for years to come. This is another of King's books that I could see as a film, too. If you are wanting to try a Stephen King book, but don't know if you will like all the horror, read this! It is not like that at all.
Profile Image for oyshik.
219 reviews692 followers
April 8, 2021
11.22.63 by Stephen King

A story about time travel with J.F.K assassination's history as a background. Even though it's fiction, it feels so original that everything seems to be happening. This story has something for everyone: a love story, history, suspense, fantasy. Notwithstanding some political intrusions, I feel it's a more adorable love-story masquerading as a time-travel novel. Almost I cried a couple of times while reading this book. But at the end of the book, I couldn't hold back my tears.
I'll love your face no matter what it looks like. Because it's yours.

Heartwarming.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,856 followers
January 8, 2023
Trying to reboot history

Has hardly ever been that compelling
Heck, I wish King would have chosen to more often enter the world of uchronias, alternative timelines, multiverses, and parallel realities. Just the imagination of King going more toward sci-fi elements makes me lose even more of my already shattered mind. Time travel alone opens the option

To show the bad, old days
Just ideologically, of course, because, and that´s the real irony, wealth distribution and economic order were far more eco social these days. So while sexism, racism, and discrimination became less dominant, the neoliberal dogma escalated towards total acceptance and consensus of TINA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_i... That´s especially interesting because King is pointing the finger at the extreme injustice of the economic system in some of his newer works while focusing on the traditions of hate in this one. So there is a delicious sociological crust under the

Groundhog day time cop concept
So many possibilities to ruin the spacetime continuum by saving and killing people, preventing catastrophes and wars, and playing god with the option of destroying reality or alerting almighty watchdog aliens getting angry when their universe could implode because of apes tinkering with relativity, quantum, gravity, and stuff. Or simply an easygoing letting ones´ grangrandgrandmother fall in love with one with the option of a menage a trois with ones´ own grandgrandgrandfather in the spirit of at least a bit of incest prevention and coming back less degenerated. Although a suddenly crazy time traveler has great comedic potential. King chooses some of these options and combines emotional impact, real history, alternative history, thriller, and just some grains of horror to create one of

His biggest hits he prepared for decades
He already had the idea in 1972, but felt that it was still too early after Kennedys' assassination to write it. I can´t imagine how incredible this would have been if he would have written it during his high years when he created It, Misery, and some of his other, best works. Because I just had some more, of course just theoretical, enlightenment about boosting productive creative output with legal and illegal substances some totally sober thoughts:

It´s difficult to differentiate what fueled King when, because he used to smoke like a chimney, drink, and consume marihuana already before 1985 with cocaine and hard pills, and one of my biggest questions is how drunk and high he was before officially becoming an alcoholic, cocaine, and stimulant addict. How drunk and marihuana high was he when he wrote everything between his first works and the end of his junkie career? How would neuropsychiatry and pharmacology explain the origin of his creativity under the influence of at least 3 to 6 substances that all, already as single consumption, have massive impacts on thought quality and imagination? Because, yes, that´s one of the few positive aspects of drugs. Would King have been able to become such an incredible writer without substance abuse? However, back to the show

I don´t get the whole politics I don´t care about anymore
Not just because it´s US politics from decades ago I never knew that much about, but also because the postmodernist realization that everything has been corrupted made me choose irony and sarcasm as the only possible responses to protect my, already balancing on the cliffs of insanity, brain. For someone prone to US history, there could be obvious or hidden innuendos, easter eggs, and goodies regarding the whole big, political global strategy real time and life game. It´s one of the new

Rare cases King entered a more reality based setting
When first reading his newer works, I didn´t really care that much about possible political agendas ( I do agree with) he implements in his works. But after the realization that he didn´t just change his writing style and its focus, but also the way he deals with topics, digging deeper was necessary. Instead of showing the dirty consequences of politics and economics in peoples´ everyday lives, King transformed to directly pointing the finger at the most important corporate sockpuppets called democratically elected chancellors, senators, and ministers. Or, more positively, at not assassinated presidents that could have prevented wars, neoliberal rise, and general neoconservative backlash mentality, and thereby fundamentally changed and improved the world we live in today.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...

Hardcore fans will find some, in their cases obvious, hidden easter eggs from It and The Dark Tower series
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews614 followers
November 3, 2019
I LOVED IT!

There's two main story lines:
1)The Romance story (with wonderful well developed characters)
2)Stop A major event in U.S. History (its all well plotted throughout the book)
Both mixed together in some very intelligent--satisfying ways.

Stephen King knows how to blend the supernatural with history better than your average author. (celebrates nostalgic also without being sassy about it).

I'm often not a fan of time travel fiction reading ---but Stephen King improves this type of storytelling by adding themes, choices, and consequences in his story. He does the butterfly effect trope creating ripples throughout time and improves on this by making time fight back, the past in 11/22/63 does not want to be changed.

"11/22/63" is easy page turning fun......
And....
At some point in your reading....
You might want to take a break and enjoy
**Pound Cake** for dessert! (this makes no sense to anyone unless you've read the book)..... :)
Profile Image for Sarah.
46 reviews23 followers
May 2, 2017
Real spoilers are inside "spoiler" tags. Things that tell a little about the content that I would have appreciated hearing before committing to this behemoth are not. You've been warned.

This is my first Stephen King read. I'm not a horror fan, but I love a good alternate history, and I figured that a story of a man who goes back in time to stop Kennedy's assassination could be one of those. It isn't. Not the biggest hurdle, because this could still have been an enjoyable read if it had been about a man who travels back to live in a different time and gives insightful commentary on the similarities and differences between these cultures. This book wasn't that, either. It was exactly what I had (naively) been trying not to read: a horror. Your basic stabby horror, with a slight twist. In this book, the immutability of the past, its obduracy to cling to what has already been, is the thing with teeth. I know that doesn't sound traditionally horrific, but its manifestation is that when the main character is trying to do something that would result in immediately changing the outcome of a big event--such as an event in which someone originally got killed--this aspect of the past intervenes repeatedly and violently to keep him from doing it.

Since the part where he tries to stop Kennedy's assassination doesn't happen until about 750 pages into the book, King compensates by having other characters behave in very violent ways. There's a killing of a family by sledgehammer-wielding maniac described in detail multiple times in the first 300 pages. Later on, a woman gets her cheek ripped open by a knife-wielding maniac. Multiple people kill themselves in front of our hero by slitting their throats.

The structure of the novel is as follows: guy finds out he can easily go back in time to 1958, to the same minute of the same day each time he goes. He becomes part of his friend's plot to keep Kennedy from being killed. Except the guy doesn't quite believe this whole time travel thing, so he goes back to 1958, spends about 2 months hanging out and making observations about what various companies' slogans are (always reproduced in all caps, so that it feels like they're being yelled from the page), stops a violent crime from happening close to home, and zips back to 2011 to confirm that, yes, he did change the past. He returns to 1958, re-stops that crime, and then spends the better part of five years waiting for Kennedy's assassination attempt. That's the middle of the book: him sitting around in the early 1960s, in a holding pattern, scoping out downtown Dallas and following Lee Harvey Oswald from a distance so he can convince himself that he really doesn't like this guy. It takes at least 600 pages for 1963 to arrive.

The decision of what to do to Oswald is presented as simple and binary, in a way that bugged me throughout the book. If our hero finds out that Oswald is the lone person behind the assassination, then the only course of action considered is for our guy to kill him. There's some momentary advance remorse about that, but not much, because Oswald is known to have killed Kennedy in the real timeline. The thing I still don't get is, in the real timeline, Oswald died as a direct result of having been arrested for Kennedy's murder. Which means that a person who simply kept Oswald from being present on the parade route that day (by any means necessary, gory ones included--slit the guy's arm open with a knife, for example) would save both Kennedy's life and Oswald's. No murder necessary. King doesn't even give this idea lip service--killing is presented as the only possible plan in order to get the assassination stopped.

Back to our hero. After he changes history, . So you spend 800 pages wondering what King thinks this history would have looked like with more Kennedy in it, and...you don't get your answer.

King's writing itself is very workmanlike. He is rarely poetic or descriptive in ways that give any deeper meaning or even paint a vivid picture. This would be fine (or something on the yawn-inducing side of fine) if this were a fast, plot-driven book, but it's not. The engine of the book is the main character's time travel journey back from 2011 to 1958 and the years immediately following, but nothing that he ever says makes this feel like reality. The narrator is supposed to be 35 in 2011, which places him in my own age cohort--but I think even someone 10 or 20 years older than I am, given the time-travel option, would have a lot of strong visceral reactions to the way the world was back then. King has him comment on the fact that root beer tastes "fuller" from a 1958 soda fountain than it does in the present--but frankly, that doesn't give me much to go on, and he uses that same descriptor every time he references the root beer (an awful lot) without adding to the picture. And that's it: he does nothing else to show how the experience of drinking at a 1958 soda fountain would be different from the experience that someone born in the late 1970s would be used to at a diner in the 21st century. It's like this with so many things: either our hero doesn't seem to notice all the little differences in daily life, or he treats these with a nostalgia borrowed from the author.

The representation of his age is wrong on other levels, too--the guy says he had never used a rotary phone before traveling to 1958, even though many people from older generations (like my grandparents and anyone else who could remember the Depression) held on to their rotary phones until almost the 1990s; and yet this same guy has a thorough and in-depth understanding of how to mess with records and record players to slow down playback. His first time in 1958, our hero buys what is apparently a cool 1950s car and instantly falls in love with driving it, to the extent that he detests his Toyota Corolla with a passion when he gets back to 2011. The shift in his loyalties is instantaneous and unequivocal--no disorientation about the lack of seat belts or other now-familiar features in an older car, just a seamless love for all things vintage that feels too uncomplicated to be on-target. The cigarette smoke is another of this kind of example: our hero comments that smoke and smokers are everywhere, but then just seems able to ignore it. It rings false that a 2011 non-smoker who finds himself in a place where every restaurant and bank has people smoking in it, and where every hotel room, used car, and cab reeks of cigarettes, wouldn't have a lot more adjusting to do than just the casual shrug that the guy gives when he mentions it.

It may sound weird that, given a book that's far too long, I'd be complaining about a lack of words, but it's more that the things King chooses to say often don't contribute to the storytelling (or plotting or character development or setting) and instead are meaningless, repetitive, and make the lack of significant detail all the more conspicuous by its absence. While I was reading this book, my commuting audiobook was TC Boyle's Drop City, which is set in a hippie commune in 1970. The contrast between how Boyle gives a sense of 1970 and how King gives a sense of 1960 is vertiginous.

Now for the -isms. After about 250 pages of 1958, it struck me that King was painting an idealistic, whitewashed picture of what was a turbulent and violent time with regard to civil rights. And right then, our hero said exactly the same thing in the narrative: "in case this seems like an overly happy picture, let me tell you about this 'colored' restroom I saw outdoors in North Carolina." (I'm paraphrasing, but not by much.) He goes on to describe a rest stop in which the regular bathroom is labeled for use by whites only and the signs to the 'colored' restroom lead to something awful. Completely reasonable and valid point made right there...except that it's the only place where he describes that kind of treatment. Anytime else in the book when he wants to talk about Civil Rights or unequal treatment or any of that, he references the bathroom in North Carolina. It doesn't seem to matter that the character drives from Florida to Texas across all of the most virulently racist states in the South during a time when race-related violence was peaking, then lives in Texas for another few years. In all that time, he runs across a white man who says racist things and consequently decides he doesn't like the guy...and that's about it. This 2011 character is walking around in the South living in segregated neighborhoods, eating at segregated lunch counters (at which he always comments that the food is both good and cheap), drinking from segregated water fountains, riding buses where he gets to sit down when others have to stand in back because of their difference in skin color--and barely notices all of the casual racism entrenched in this world. I found it unreasonable that after a lifetime spent having at least some African-American friends/classmates/teachers/co-workers (yes, even in Maine), a lifetime that almost definitely included watching The Cosby Show and Men in Black and very definitely included years of having an African-American president in the White House, our hero would be able to ignore the treatment of others around him almost every moment of every day. The fact that not only doesn't he notice this around him, but also that he has to reach way back to that one restroom in North Carolina whenever he needs to talk about discrimination, comes across as casually racist.

Anti-Semitism: there are four characters in the book who are described explicitly as Jewish. One of them is Jack Ruby, a real person who apparently owned a strip club (King makes sure to point out) and who was the guy who shot Oswald in the real timeline after he was in custody. The other three are fictional, all bookies. They run pawn shops and have Mob ties and all make their money explicitly from the suffering of others. (I could mention the two female family members we are introduced to as well, but they aren't characters--the narrative states explicitly at one point that they are interchangeable. They also work in the family money businesses.) I'd like to thank Stephen King personally for perpetuating stereotypes that just need to freaking die already.

While we're at it, sexism: our hero is a guy who starts dating a woman in about 1961, and he also spends a number of years teaching high school (don't get me started on that--an English teacher from 2011 travels back 50 years and starts teaching adolescents seamlessly, without having any trouble adjusting to the loss of the most recent five decades of writing to teach from? The loss of recognized diversity in curricula? How limited a teacher is he?), and yet he never sees anything to complain about with regard to the way women are treated in that time. He comments that they're expected to wear girdles sometimes, but he compares that to guys having to wear condoms and says that guys have it worse. Otherwise, he conveys no sense in the least that girls or women might have an easier time of things in 2011 than they do in 1961.

I could say more about my dislike of this book. I could mention my frustration with the way that King writes as though he knows nothing about what the Butterfly Effect actually references for the first 800 pages--so that when he reveals that he mostly gets it, it's too little, too late. I could rant about many other aspects of the novel. Instead, I'll end by saying that there are books out there that accomplish what King is trying to do, using well-chosen words (and fewer of them), thoughtful plots, and skilled character development. For true alternate history, try Lion's Blood: A Novel of Slavery and Freedom in an Alternate America, by Steven Barnes. For a time-travel study in contrasts, try Kindred, by Octavia Butler. For an experience of recent history that feels immersive and real (1970, complete with sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll), try Drop City, by TC Boyle.
Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,548 followers
February 6, 2023
Read 2016. Spell checked 2023

I did it! I finally read my first Stephen King novel (many followed after I wrote this review). I changed my mind many times regarding which should be the chosen novel with whom to lose my Stephen King virginity. I first chose The Stand, then the Dark Tower, Under the Dome also passed my “to read” shelf. I am content that I settled for this one but there might have been a better choice.

The book blurb pretty much sketches what the book is about. However, if you expect a fast paced thriller this is not it. I always thought that was what I had to expect from the author but it seems I was wrong. Mr. King’s main talent is his storytelling abilities. It feels like he can write about knitting and it would be interesting. So, yeah, I loved his writing.

Quite unexpectedly, a lot of pages cover a love story between the MC and a sexy librarian from a small town, Jodie. Some people were bored by the detailed description of Jake/George’s life in Jodie but I kind of like it. What bored me a little, were the constant surveillance scenes. If that means to be an investigator, I am glad I did not choose that career path. Following Oswald and other bad guys around was not very glamorous and I believe some pages could have been cut.

The beginning was a little far-fetched. The main character instantly agreed to go back in time and live there for 5 years in order to save JFK, not thinking too much about the consequences and the sacrifices it involves. The impulse to save the school janitor’s family from a brutal murder was all it took to tip the balance.

While reading, I constantly felt that the author was holding himself to make the novel spookier and I found myself willing that he would let himself loose. Make it scarier, why not. I had the impression that he can do creepy very well. The small samples of this particular talent of his were one of my favorite parts in the book. The yellow/orange/black card man for example. Based on that I think my next King will be one of his horror masterpieces.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 18 books1,597 followers
November 25, 2019
This one should've been five stars for me. I think what happened was that I loved the concept when I read about the book and had envisioned something more. The story King wanted to write was all there and I truly enjoyed it. As always with King this is a great study in character and the evolution of the character. In this case using time as an added conflict that applies pressure on the character. King doesn't mess around with elaborate explanations on how or why the time travel works. It's just a simple closet in the diner that the character steps into and we're off and running. I think this works mostly because we trust King so implicitly and that if he says it true it's true.
For me a good book caused me to think about the story even when I was not reading. In this case, while still into the book, I researched the actual incident, the assassination, to see how far King veered historically. I found the topic so interesting I fell down the rabbit doing too much historical reading.
I like the book a great deal and recommend it.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,074 reviews31.3k followers
December 29, 2019
A Masterpiece!

Awesome story!! Wow! Stephen blows my mind. His prose is so easy to follow and he is so clear what he is getting across to me, the reader. It knows how to set up a character.

There are a lot of bells and whistles in this story and its draw is Lee Oswald and the shooting of JFK. Yet, this story is really a love story. King doesn't write many love stories, but at heart, this book is a love story between Jake Epping/George Amberson and Sadie Dunhill. It's a beautiful relationship the two have and the love story holds the whole book together, in my opinion.

Jake goes back in time to stop the assassination of JFK. He lives in 2011 and he finds a strange time-hole that goes to 1958 and he has to live life in the past before he can stop Lee. He moves to the Dallas area to a little town called Jodie, TX where he substitute teaches and becomes a full time staff. The librarian is Sadie Dunhill and they quickly become friends. Half of the story almost is their story and about the kids at school.

Stephen is a master a character writing. If you want to know how to write a character, then Stephen is the master to follow. He uses that to build this community of Jodie and I was so pulled in. I almost didn't care about the rest, but it's so intricately woven together that it's all one thread.

As readers, especially someone like me who didn't know a whole lot about Oswald, Stephn has done his research and he packs this books with historical facts. He plays here and there with timing and he lets us know in the afterward, but mostly, he sticks to the facts. I am amazed how much is known about the spouse abusing messed up man. King really brings the humanity to Marina, his wife and their child and he even shows the humanity of Lee at moments with his daughter. Marina put up with a horror show.

The theme of this book is 'the past harmonizes' and Stephen drives this point home to good effect. It becomes it's own harmonic in the book and it helps to bring all the stories going on together. I'm telling you, this is a layered masterpiece from one of the most gifted writers of our time. He weaves historical fact with fiction with historical fiction with time travel with a love story for the ages.

The idea of time travel is also dealt with. What happens if time is changed? What would that do to the world? Would a good intention to change the past bring about the changes we want? These are the questions explored in this book.

The time travel is unique to what I've seen and I love it. In a dinner in the town Jake lives in, there is a "rabbit hole" and this particular hole leads to 1958. Everytime you go in, it's like a reset and anything you changed before is undone and it's always the exact same time you come out in. It is a wonderful device Stephen came up with. Jake's friend hatches this plan to save JFK and Jake is the one who has to carry it out. It's fascinating and it makes you wonder if a "rabbit hole might be possible and how interesting to make that happen. It's a lovely device used in the story and all kinds of choices happen from it. You can go back and see the changes you made and then go back and tweek it.

This is now one of my Top 5 Favorite Stephen King novels. I really think it's a masterpiece and he is at the top of his game here. I wish I had read it sooner, but I got it now. Also, I got my tome in this year, barely. It also makes me wonder how many more masterpieces Stephen has in him. He seems to have one or more a decade. I guess 45 years of writing daily does pay off in a big way. I also have a harmonic resonance with Stephen and his work. I was born in 1974 and he published Carrie in 1974. I find that interesting.

I think my goal is to make 2020 a Stephen King year and I want to get caught up with his bibliography again. I will see if I can do a book a month or so. There are some big ones left to read so that might be asking too much.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,299 followers
December 29, 2019
"We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance."

A school teacher, Jake Epping, travels back in time through a portal with the aim of preventing the assassination of JFK, often considered to be a huge watershed moment in American history. But first, he must create a life for himself in the years leading up to the assassination as he has some research to do. In doing so, he stumbles upon the town of Jodie and a beautiful librarian named Sadie Dunhill.

Let me preface this review by saying...prepare for a LOT of fangirling. When I first read this book it blew me away, and on my reread, it had the exact same effect. I would go so far as to say that this is one of the best books I've ever read. Usually I can find faults within all of King's works, but I'm sitting here trying to think of something I didn't like about this book and I've got nothing. Zilch. Nada. On my first read I sometimes felt a bit bored by the JFK plot, but I think that was because I was so impatient to get back to Jake's life and relationship with Sadie. Now on my reread, I already knew what was coming - the same urgency wasn't there - so I was able to appreciate that storyline a bit more and it's actually really piqued an interest in learning more about this moment in American history. Sooo...this time around, I ain't got any complaints.

King's writing is beautiful in this book. He evokes such a range of emotions in these pages, one minute I was laughing, the next I was crying. He makes me nostalgic for a time period and a country I didn't even live in! THAT in itself is a skill (Lana Del Rey also does this for me). A root beer never ever appealed to me until I read this book. His, or rather Jake's, reflections on life just really resonated with me, life CAN turn on a dime and this book is a constant reminder to just enjoy what you have when you have it - because who knows what is around the corner?

11/22/63 also stars two of my all-time favourite King characters - Jake and Sadie. I fell in love with Sadie as Jake did. Sadie is brave, headstrong, resilient, and given her past, her outlook on life is inspiring. As for Jake, some of the decisions he makes (without giving away any spoilers) proves that he is simply a good man. To take on such an arduous task, spanning years of your life, is admirable. And with these two amazing characters, King writes his greatest love story. It is beautiful and heartfelt and REAL. It shook me to my core.

If anyone ever tries to tell you that King can only write horror, slam this book in their face! Although that's not to say that there aren't moments of horror... the events that occur in the Dunning household are truly terrifying, with some of the most graphic and unforgettable descriptions King has ever written. Credit must also be given to the ridiculous amount of research that must have gone into this book. The attention to detail is staggering - I personally cannot say how much of it is accurate as I don't know much about the JFK assassination - but I'm guessing King left no stone unturned.

What's great about 11/22/63 is that you don't need to be a fan of King or of horror in order to fall in love with this book. I'm actually trying to convince my mum to read it as I think she'd love it, but she remains stubborn - I WILL break her!! On a final note, I'm intrigued as to what King's initial ending was - he says in the afternotes that Joe came up with a better ending than the one he had planned. I wonder if it would have left me so dehydrated....

11/22/63 remains my second favourite King book, BUT it is the best King has written, in my opinion. Does that make sense? It does to me. This book gets ALL THE STARS. Truly incredible.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews36 followers
September 1, 2021
11/22/63, Stephen King

About a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on November 22, 1963.

Jake Epping is a recently divorced high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, earning extra money teaching a GED class.

Epping gives an assignment to his adult students, asking them to write about a day that changed their lives.

One of the students, a janitor named Harry Dunning, submits an assignment describing the night his alcoholic father murdered his mother and siblings with a hammer and injured Harry, causing him to have a permanent brain injury; the story emotionally affects Jake, and the two become friends after Harry earns his GED.

Two years later, in June 2011, Jake stops by a local diner and speaks with the proprietor, Al, who asks Jake to meet him at his diner the next day.

When Jake arrives, he is shocked to see that Al seems to have aged years since the previous day. Al explains that he is dying and that his appearance is attributable to his having time traveled and lived for years in the past.

Al's method of time travel is a time portal he discovered in his diner's pantry, which he used to transport himself to 1958.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و نهم ماه ژانویه سال 2015میلادی

عنوان: 11/22/63؛ نویسنده: استیفن کینگ؛ تهران: جنگل‏‫، 1398 ‬‬‏‫= 2019م.‬‬؛ در 740ص؛ شابک 9781444727333؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

جیک اپینگ یک آموزگار زبان «انگلیسی» است که در ایالت «مین» زندگی می‌کند و از همسرش جدا شده است؛ او به یاری دوست خویش «ال تمپلتون» این فرصت را می‌یابد که در زمان سفر کند، و به سال 1960میلادی بازگردد، تا جلوی ترور «جان اف کندی» را در روز بیست و دوم ماه نوامبر سال 1963میلادی (نام رمان) بگیرد و بتواند سرنوشت جهان را دیگر کند اما هدف مأموریت با عاشق شدن «جیک» دیگر می‌شود تا جایی که او دیگر نمیخواهد گذشته را دیگر کند…؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 09/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,218 reviews9,913 followers
November 6, 2012
I had just sat down to begin this review on my laptop when the doorbell went. I wasn't expecting anyone. It was probably going to be one of those pitiful door to door salesmen trying to get me to buy a dishcloth for a fiver. They make me feel so bad. But it wasn't. I opened the door and looked at myself. It was me.

"Huh, what? " I said. "You're… you're…"

"Yeah, that's right. I'm you. Sorry about that. Like looking in a mirror, isn't it? But worse!"

"Uh… what's goin' on ?" This was bad, I was quoting Marvin Gaye album titles now.

"May I come in?" I said

"Well, I suppose so," I said. So I went inside. I made myself a cup of tea and one for me too. We sat down at the table and regarded each other with frank horror.

"I don't really look like that, do I?" I was looking kind of rough. "What's this all about? Are you a clone?"

"No, I'm the one and only you, that's to say I'm me all right. I'm from the future. 26th of November 2012 to be precise."

"Oh you think I'm going to believe that?" I raised my eyebrows in a hauty sceptical manner. "I just read a book about time travel. It's that one there – " I gestured to the fat wedge on the table between us. "In fact I was just about to review it."

"Stephen King's 11.22.63 – yes, that's the reason I'm here."

"Huh?"

"I'll come to the point, PB. " My eyes narrowed almost to the point where I couldn't see out of them. "You can't write that review. The one you were going to. You have to change it."

"What do you mean, change it? How do you know what I was going to write, anyway, I haven't written it yet?"

"Because I wrote it, remember? I'm you. Come on, the guy in this book is a lot quicker on the uptake than this. I haven't got all day." I could be a bit snappy sometimes. "You were all set to launch into one of your famous diatribes weren't you? You'd already worked up a few choice phrases, along the lines of

So he goes back in time to 1958 and he's living through these years waiting to get to the assassination bit and that's where the story becomes this I-Love-The-Late-50s-Stroke-Early-Sixties loveletter from Stephen King to his own childhood. The boring teacher gets to meet a girl and fall in lurve, sweet sweet lurve. That's not a spoiler, it's in the blurb, sweet sweet blurb. He gets to live in The perfect Small Town. He gets to Affect Kids' Lives. He gets to Feel Alive For The First Time and swear he's never going back to the Future again! He gets to blurt out anachronistic slang and have people look at him funny! He gets to wince at casual racism! It's all good. But not for me. I wanted to get back to Oswald. I paid my damn ticket, and I wanted to see some Oswald. The ticket did not say GREASE IS THE WORD on it. But for 200 pages it may as well have. But Oswald's the one that I want. Oooh ooh ooh.

I was amazed – that was exactly what I was going to write.

"So as usual you were going to be so mean. You can't deny it. I know you were because you did it, that's to say I did it, and I'm here now to stop myself from doing it."

"Okay so let me get this straight, you came from the future – howja do that anyway?"

"There's a portal in next-door's garden shed. I got the idea of looking for a portal when I read this book."

"Oh – anyway, you came from the very near future and you decided the most important thing to do was to stop me writing one particular review on Goodreads of one dubious Stephen King novel? Why didn't you do something more useful than that? "

"Well, I did," I whined. "I already prevented Kate Middleton from falling downstairs at Buckingham Palace – that was tough, you know the past doesn't want to be changed. And I found somebody's lost cat for them. And now you – you're the last on my list."

"So what's the big deal about my review of 11.22.63?"

"Well, you read the thing, so you know about the Butterfly effect, right?"

"Er, yes. Stephen King goes on and on and on about it."

"Well, there you are. Because of that."

"I don't get it."

"Well, like that song You can't move forward without movin back"

"I've never heard of that."

"Oh of course – that's from three weeks in the future. Sorry about that, I gave myself away there."

"No you didn't, you already told me you're from the future."

"Oh yes, so I did. It can be confusing getting all this straight in your head when you're from the future. Got any aspirin? Anyway, your nasty review gets to be unaccountably popular on Goodreads."

"Oh yeah, it does? As popular as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle? "

"More than that."

"Great!"

"No, not great."

"But I need another hit. I've been getting kind of middling results for months. You're only as good as your last review, you know. It's a vicious world. No compassion. "

I was quoting old Talking Heads song titles, but this was a once in a lifetime thing that was happening. So that made it okay.

"Yeah well, that's the problem. After your review things… happen. If your review persuades just one single person not to buy the book, then that's probably why in three weeks' time Japan splits in half and most people have got acne in the world of three weeks from now. The future is important, it must be preserved. Hosts of butterflies are always in the air, waiting to fly around like crazy ass future-changing bastards."

"That's ridiculous."

Suddenly we heard the front door opening.

"That'll be Helen, she's usually back from work at this time."

"Ah, I'd forgotten. This will be awkward. Isn't there any place for me to hide? "

"Er, no – this is just a normal living room, as you know, since it's yours. You could try to hide behind the settee but you'll have to shove it out from the wall, and she'll notice I think."

It was too late. She came into the room and surveyed the both of us.

"This is a bit weird. He's me but he's from the future."

She didn't miss a beat.

"Oh well, you've just come in time. I need you to pick up Georgia from school, she had a rehearsal for the play so I couldn't do it, and can you (pointing at the future me) nip to Sainsbury's and get me a few things? I need you to be quick, I'm in a mad rush. I've got that thing tonight, remember?" And she gave me a shopping list.

I looked at me. "Is this kind of thing allowed? Now we're doing Multiplicity."

"Oh yes, that old film with Michael Keaton. That was quite good. Yes, well, I suppose this once. But look – you have to give 11.22.63 three stars. Remember Japan and acne."

"Okay, I promise."

That's the last I saw of me until I got curious about whether there really was a portal in the neighbour's garden shed.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,975 followers
July 30, 2015
Adventures in Time Mowing

Dallas, Texas
11/22/63


“Hey, you just appeared out of nowhere! How did you do that? And is that a laptop melted onto a lawn mower?”

“Yeah. See there was this lightning strike and now I can use my time mower to visit the past and …. Wait a second. If you’re from 1963, how did you know what a laptop is? Oh, shit! You’re a time traveler, too?”

“Yes, I am. What year are you from?”

“2011. My name’s Kemper.”

“No way! I’m from 2011, too. My name is George Amberson. I mean, it’s really Jake Epping. Amberson is the alias I’m using here in the past.”

“Nice to meet you, Jake. So I assume you’re here for JFK and the …uh…event.”

“Of course. You too?”

“Yep. I thought I’d hang out by the grassy knoll, take a few pictures of the fence during the shooting and hopefully put this conspiracy bullshit to bed once and for all.”

“You’re just going to watch? I’m here to stop it.”

“Stop the JFK assassination? Oh, man. That old chestnut? Really? You‘re buying into that myth?”

“What do you mean, Kemper?”

“It’s the old baby boomer fantasy. ‘Oh, if only JFK had lived, everything would have been better. He would have gotten us out of Vietnam and the ‘60s wouldn’t have turned ugly and we’d all be living in paradise filled with puppies, unicorns and rainbows.’ Never mind that JFK was the guy who kicked off the really serious troop escalations into Vietnam and gave a wink and a nod to their army for the coup and assassination of the Diem brothers. It’s the Oliver Stone idea where JFK would have saved us from ourselves if only the Vast Conspiracy hadn���t killed him first.”

“Oh, well, I guess we did think that saving JFK would make things much better, but we don’t think there’s a big conspiracy. I’m just here to stop Oswald.”

“At least we agree on that. But are you sure you should be changing stuff in the past? That seems really dangerous and could cause all kinds of paradoxes. I just wander around and look at stuff, I don’t try to change anything. You don’t want to end up killing your own grandfather, do you? Or worse yet, accidentally become your own grandfather. Yuk!”

“It should be fine. We did a few trial runs, and everything seemed OK.”

“How did you do trial runs? In fact, how do you time travel? I don’t see a time mower around. And who is this ‘we’ you keep mentioning, Jake?”

“I’m a high school English teacher from Maine. I have a friend named Al who found a kind of portal in time. We call it the rabbit hole. Every time you go through it, you wind up at the same day in our home town in 1958. Al went through the rabbit hole over and over for years and discovered that no matter how long you stay, when you go back through the portal, only two minutes have elapsed since you left.”

“Didn’t Al end up with a bunch of versions of himself in 1958 then?”

“No, because every time you go through the portal, history resets itself like you were never there the first time.”

“Let me see if I understand this, Jake. So if your buddy Al went through the portal to 1958 and changed something like saved somebody’s life, and then he went back through to the present, the change would have been made. The person he saved was alive, but if he goes back through the portal to the past again, then everything resets to the original timeline and that person would die, unless Al saved them again, right?”

“Exactly. But there’s a few odd things like you could go back and buy something like a hat. You could wear that hat back to the present, and it’d still be there. And you could go back to the past wearing that hat which resets everything, but when you went to the store you bought it from, the same hat would still be on your head and on the shelf at the same time! Isn’t that cool? It’s how Al was able to accumulate money and a few other items and still take them back to the past when he needed.”

“That doesn’t sound….right. Jake, are you sure about this? I’m getting very nervous that you’re going to wipe me out of existence or something.”

“I told you, Kemper, we did a few trial runs where we saved people from some ugly fates and then went back to the future and everything was fine.”

“Still, you’re talking about saving a guy who is going to have a huge impact on history with no idea of how it will play out.”

“Don’t worry, Al spent a lot of time thinking about this and doing research. He worked it all out.”

“Let me guess. Al is a baby boomer, right?”

“Uh…yeah.”

“OK, so he talked you into doing this, right? He convinced you that everything would be peaches and gravy if JFK had lived, didn‘t he?”

“Uh….kind of.”

“Who is Al then? A physicist? A historian?”

“Uh…no. He owns the local diner.”

“He owns a diner?”

“You see, the time portal he found was in his pantry.”

“He’s a diner owner with a time portal in his pantry?”

“Yes.”

“If Al’s so convinced that this is the right thing to do, how come he didn’t do it himself?”

“He tried. He came through and lived here several years while he watched Oswald. That‘s why neither of us just killed him. We wanted to be absolutely sure he was acting alone, but then Al got really sick and knew he wouldn’t be able to stop Oswald. So he went back to 2011 and told me about the rabbit hole.”

“Oh, hell. I just realized that you had to live here for five years waiting for this moment. Damn, five years in the past must have sucked, Jake.”

“Actually, I’ve gotten used to it. It was hard at first because I had to go back through and fix some things we’d done on our trial runs again. You know, because of the reset. I couldn’t stand to let those bad things happen. I had to spend some time in a really nasty town in Maine called Derry.”

“Derry? I think I’ve heard of it.”

“Really? It was a very ugly place in 1958. They had some child murders.”

“Wow, that sounds really familiar for some reason.”

“Anyhow, then I spent some time in Florida and then moved to a small town in Texas. I started teaching again and built up a whole life for myself as George Amberson. I really like it here in the past now. I’m thinking about trying to stay forever.”

“But what about the segregation and the sexism and the second hand smoke and the lack of high-def television, Jake? Doesn’t that bother you?”

“A little. But they have really good root beer in this time. And stuff is really cheap! I can buy a new car for peanuts.”

“Nice to see that you don’t let a little thing like institutional racism ruin your appreciation of a good deal. Speaking of which, how did you make money? Just teaching?”

“Al gave me some and he had a sheet of sporting events I could bet on to make more. Like I made a pretty penny betting on the Dallas Texans to beat Houston the other night. It was very cool to bet on the Cowboys before they were even the Cowboys.”

“Uh…Jake, do you think the Dallas Texans became the Dallas Cowboys?”

“Sure.”

“That’s not right. The Texans were the AFL team started by Lamar Hunt. The NFL started the Cowboys in Dallas just to screw with him, and he eventually had to move the team to Kansas City and change their name to the Chiefs. The Cowboys were always the Cowboys.”

“Really? Are you sure about that, Kemper?”

“Yes, I’m goddamn sure about it, I’m from Kansas City. Jesus, you are scaring the shit out of me.”

“Why?”

“Why? Because you’re back in time screwing around doing stuff like betting football games when you have no idea what the hell you’re even really betting on. I hope to hell you know a lot more about the JFK assassination than you do about pro football.”

“Not really.”

“What??”

“I told you, I was an English teacher, not history. I don’t really know much more than what I remember from my classes in college. I’ve got Al’s notes…”

“The research done by the diner owner with the JFK obsession? That’s all you have to go on as you muck around with history, Jake? Did you at least bring some history books with you?”

“Uh…”

“Oh, you have got to be shitting me.”

“We were pressed for time, Kemper!”

“Pressed for time?? You said that Al spent years getting ready for this? And each time hop only takes you two minutes, right? You guys couldn’t have found twenty minutes to run into a damn library and check out an American history book?”

“Well, in hindsight I guess that would have been a good idea.”

“Ya think? I really wish you would have thought this through more than just doing a couple of test runs. You should have done that like twenty times. It would have taken you just forty minutes, right?”

“It’s not that simple, Kemper. You see, for one thing, the time we spent in the past is still elapsed time. I started this when I was thirty-five, and if I go back, only two minutes will have passed in 2011, but I’ll still be forty. If something goes wrong now, I’d have to go back and do all of it again from 1958 on. I don’t think I can handle that.”

“I hadn’t thought about that. I guess it’s like playing a video game with a really crappy system of save check points. The deeper you get into, the more you have to lose.”

“Exactly, but it’s not just that. You see, the past does not want to be changed. If you try to revise something, it fights back. When we did our trial runs, it threw everything it could at us from car trouble to illness, and the bigger the event, the harder it tries to stop you. So doing a bunch of trial runs just isn’t very practical, Kemper.”

“Summing up here: You’re an English teacher who was talked into trying to stop the JFK assassination via a time portal. You’ve spent years of your life doing this even though there’s clearly some very wonky elements to the resetting of the past when you go through and time itself seems to be working against you? And this seems like a good idea, Jake?”

“Please don’t yell at me, Kemper. I did this with the best of intentions. It’s been very hard living like this, and the past seems to be trying to sabotage my life here now. I’m very tired and scared, and this is all coming to a head, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen …*sob*.”

“Don’t cry. I’m sorry. It’s just…. This doesn’t seem like it was thought through very well, Jake. I mean, you seem like a nice guy. I’ll admit that it sounds like you have good intentions, but you know what the road to hell is paved with.”

“I know, I know. But I’ve come too far to stop now.”

“Yeah, I guess so. Good luck you poor bastard. Try not to break the space/time continuum.”

******************************************

Kemper’s Present Day Note About Stephen King and Kansas City Sports Errors (Or Are They?)

The error where Jake thinks about the Dallas Texans someday becoming the Dallas Cowboys is actually in the book, but since it’s a first person account and Jake is definitely not a historical expert, it’s possible that King knew this and just meant for it to be Jake’s error.*

(*Edit - Actually, I realized later on that even this doesn't make sense since the Cowboys and Texans were both formed in 1960. It was part of the rivalry between the NFL and old AFL. This was a big story in Dallas at the time and both teams did tons of promotions and advertising so it doesn't seem possible that Jake was somehow unaware of the existence of the Cowboys.)

However, this isn’t the first time King has caused me to scratch my head with KC sports references. In The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass, there is another oddity when the gunslingers are in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, that seems to be the one where King’s The Stand took place. There, they see a car with a bumper sticker that says Kansas City Monarchs instead of Kansas City Royals and this is supposed to be evidence that they’re in an alternate world. But the old Negro Leagues baseball team that had players like Satchel Paige was called the Monarchs, and you can still purchase Monarchs merchandise in KC today. (I’ve got a spiffy Monarchs hat I got at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.)

These wouldn’t bother me so much if I thought for sure that they were just errors, but the fact that they’ve both involved a possibly unreliable narrator or hopping to alternate worlds leaves King some wiggle room that bugs me for some reason. Are they mistakes or is King just being cute? I. DON’T. KNOW.

And that makes me nuts.

Kemper’s Spoilerific Present Day Note About the Ending of 11/22/63

Profile Image for Gabby.
1,306 reviews28k followers
April 28, 2020
4.5 stars

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did! Here’s my entire reading vlog dedicated to my experience reading this book: https://youtu.be/3FtDROTO6VQ

And yes, I cried like a bitch at the end.


Here is my favorite quote from this book: “We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.”
Profile Image for Felice Laverne.
Author 1 book3,229 followers
August 5, 2019
Stephen King’s 11/22/63 was a behemoth of a work with more layers than a Chicagoan in December. The premise in itself was exhilarating, and the execution was near flawless. Another chef-d'oeuvre from Ole’ Uncle Stevie. This one was a novel that absolutely could not have been tackled by just anyone and may have fallen flat on its face if handled by a less experienced craftsman. The worlds on both sides of the time-travel line were utterly realistic, but where King really showed his masterful hand was with the threads throughout the novel that wove it all together, from the Yellow Card Man to the janitor’s father to JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald themselves. No character was superfluous, and despite the massive word count on this one, there wasn’t a single phrase that was either. Even characters who were fleeting left their mark, shocking me, tickling me, and provoking thought along the way.

The jargon that King used to color the various neighborhoods and scenes from Maine to Florida to Texas was deliciously realistic—he has a knack for that, and it was on full display here—and I felt that I was fully immersed in the world that he painted. This one gave me goosebumps in more than one place and food for thought in several others. And, refreshingly, King resisted painting the 50s as a happy-go-lucky time of just sock-hops and poodle skirts and gave the 60s the gritty air that it deserved. He infused this glimpse at this time period with realistic strokes of segregation and poverty in his portrayal—truly showing us the world through King-colored glasses.

11/22/63 shifted voices between characters in an effortless way that’s hard to execute. From backwoods Maine lingo to deep Southern vernacular, the voices were masterfully done and the characters were all fully realized. There are biblical references and historical facts—and distortions of them that allowed for his own creative riff on the past—Gothic elements galore and grit. True, unflinching blood-and-dirt-in-your-nails grit.

This one came full circle in various parts of the novel, not just in the end in that formulaic way that we are all oh-so-familiar with, showing how all of the pieces connected hand-in-hand to tell one larger story. Quite the narrative tool for building suspense and tension. I’ll admit that there were times when the full-circle aspect of this one hit me too squarely on the head, when it was too dead on, towards the end, and that pulled me out of the world briefly while I wrestled with my annoyance at being dowsed with that unnecessary, cold splash of water. But the sheer gravity of this novel and unimpeachable hand that resonated through to the very last page overrode those small annoyances. I resist giving this one 4 ½ stars to pay for that annoyance that I experienced, because the rest of the work was so phenomenally done that it would honestly border on being petty. JIMLA! 5 stars *****

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,310 reviews44.1k followers
April 5, 2022
An English teacher who is questioning the reason behind cheap price of delicious meat, realizes there’s portal opens to 1958 and the owner of the store can visit there to buy cheaper products in expanse of deteriorating health conditions! Yeap, mastermind of extra ordinary stories did it again! I wish there would be real time portal for buying cheaper gas for my car right now!

If you also had a chance to time travel, would you try to save JFK from the patsy or the real killer’s bullets ( in this book: patsy is the killer) in expanse the change of the entire time line like Jake Epping did in this story ?

I’m sure not every one of you is focused on world politics and you may want to get rich by betting for sports like Jake did. And of course forming intimate relationships with the people from another time line may risk your entire future as well!

I’m not gonna tell you more! This is exciting, moving, intelligent, intense and also pure emotional story! Interestingly I dabbed my eyes so many times! Authors of the King knows so well to touch your feelings with his memorable characters and their heart wrenching stories!

Thankfully I watched the limited series adaptation before the allegations revealed about Franco. So I was able to watch it without fantasizing to punch the actor who plays the main character!

Overall: another five starred, marvelous King book to reread on my Flashback Saturday!
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
March 19, 2019
An excellent Stephen King novel.

I think many of us probably have an experience that is some variation of this story: English teacher and / or writer condescendingly dismisses King’s work as trite and spectacular, opining that their own work suffers from an artistic perception lacking in mainstream literature.

I was in a college class where our teacher (an otherwise fun and engaging lecturer and knowledgeable professor – and published author) said something to the effect that King’s work was “good enough for the working class”. The professor’s own novels would be prized by a more discerning literary palate and he would savor his peer recognition.

I’m not sure to this day who he thought he was fooling. What had gotten his goat was that Stephen King was wallowing in C-notes the way a hog wades in mud. He was jealous of his success and he played the Hemingway to King’s Mickey Spillane and played the only card he had, losing (again) to King’s Ace high royal flush.

Wine and roses are fine, but I’m a beer and pizza guy (yes, a working-class reader you smug prick) and I gotta say that King’s 2011 time travel novel is the cat’s meow and he earned every coin.

I’m also a fan of the time travel sub-genre, being a student of Bradbury and Poul Anderson. King takes the Mark Twain A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court time machine idea of a strange occurrence that is never thoroughly explained or understood. But this is Stephen King after all and he mixes in some mysterious elements to keep the story moving. I also liked that we have a thorough examination of the butterfly effect and even mentioned Bradbury’s seminal time travel story A Sound of Thunder.

What’s it all about? A guy from our time (from New England of course) learns of a “rabbit hole” though time. King allows for an unusual magical setting rule: the traveler goes back to the same date every time, in September 1958. And so the plan is hatched to go back to save Kennedy. It then stands to reason that our intrepid time traveler will spend five years in the past waiting for his rendezvous with destiny.

Obdurate. ob·du·rate adjective: stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or course of action. King uses this word over a dozen times in the book to describe how the past does not want to change and makes it difficult for our hero to save the day. This kind of unleveling of the playing field is first rate King and his almost personification of time is one of the elements of this story that makes it so appealing. ** Coincidentally, I made a similar observation about Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage where he repeatedly uses the word vituperative.

What also makes this succeed is what makes King’s horror stories work so well – his uncanny ability to find the unusual in everyday life. King, in much the same way that Steven Spielberg does in film, finds the horrific and exciting in the ordinary. The monster is not just under the bed or in the closet, but in the laundry room, and buried inside a stack of old magazines – or in a pantry in a greasy spoon diner. **Harken back to the comments about King writing for the working class. Hell yeah, elitist literary types, pay attention and you might learn something.

At the end of the day, this is a very good book – a great story told by a master storyteller.

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Profile Image for Ginger.
789 reviews373 followers
June 11, 2019
March 18th, 2018
I've thought about this book off and on the last few months since I read it. I've changed my mind and rating.
I changed it to 5 STARS and still love it. That's the power of a great book!

February 8th, 2018
I went into this book knowing three things:

1. It was HUGE
2. I’m not a big JFK assignation conspiracy fan. I didn’t know if this whole plot would work for me or not.
3. I know Stephen King can get wordy, so I was hoping that this book wouldn’t lag or get off point.

First, I can safely say that yes, the book is huge, but the story is so captivating that I didn’t notice.
Secondly, I now want to go to Dallas and the Texas School Book Depository to see where Oswald did the deed. What a bastard. Not only with killing Kennedy but in his marriage as well.
I’m NOW totally fascinated by the assassination and might be wearing a tinfoil hat soon.
And lastly, Stephen King did get wordy, but I loved all the characters so much that I didn’t mind. The characters in Jodie, Texas made this book for me. He gave the teenagers heart along with the teachers and the whole community. I loved every bit of it.

Stephen King really nailed the baby-boom area. I could see it in my mind as I was listening to this audio book.
Yes, I did the audio book for this and I don’t regret it. At the beginning, the narrator Craig Wasson would change voices to fit the character. I found it a bit odd when he would do a woman’s voice in the beginning of the book but by the end, I loved every minute of it. He did it all from Texas and Russian accents, along with the annoying old woman. Well done sir! Hahaha

I loved Jake Epping. He was a complex and well-loved hero. He made this book for me.
I’m not sure if I would have faced some of the morality choices with the same type of grace. I would have been greedy, and gambling much more than he did in the book! Ha!! I also would have been a bit more bloodthirsty.
Hey, I'm not going to lie.

I highly recommend this book. Seriously, you won't regret reading this. The story along with the characters will make you love, laugh and hate with a vengeance. I was crying at the end and the tension had me on the edge of my seat.
THIS is great writing and storytelling. Well done King!

Oh yeah, one last thing. If I never hear the word OBDURATE again, it will be too soon. This damn word drove me nuts by the end. Use syllables next time King!
Profile Image for Frances.
192 reviews324 followers
March 6, 2017
Jake Epping, a high school English teacher living in Lisbon Falls, Maine, seems to enjoy his vocation along with the very cheap burgers at Al’s Diner made fresh daily by owner Al Templeton. Meeting up with Al one evening, Jake is stunned by the astonishing secret Al has kept for several years. As Jake listens closely he is extremely skeptical and shocked about Al’s request; he wants him to go on a journey. Not any ordinary journey, but an extraordinary and quite unique mission that he needs to take at once. 11/22/63 is guaranteed to capture readers and draw them into a time period that many will recall and reminisce with pleasure about the good old days. For the most part the story moves along at a gentle speed, no rushing, no fast action, just an easy going way of telling a profound heartfelt tale. However, when you least expect it the story line takes an abrupt turn with nail biting, breath-taking moments. Stephen King is a master at his craft and 11/22/63 is a dazzling, outstanding achievement. Highly recommended to all readers.

Profile Image for Sarah.
144 reviews96 followers
May 21, 2021
This book is one of the best I have read in awhile for its length. It's pure genius.

Who hasn't wanted do-overs in their life ? I would probably go back to when I started high school and make wiser decisions.

I would have loved to have heard the conversations between Stephen King, his wife and their son, Author Joe Hill. His wife still stands with the theories that Oswald didn't act alone, and Joe Hill thought of another way to end the book.

The way King describes the characters in this makes them very believable and ones you become attached to. The lead character is complex and often alone. I was often thinking to myself, "no, don't do that, do this." He is also the narrator of the story. Jake/George is told about a time travel mechanism by a friend where he can possibly save JFK from assassination and change the future. To reveal more would require spoilers.
The strength of the story actually lies with the characters, and the bonds that they form. I felt their emotions just like I was there. I could taste the root beer in the frosted mug at the soda fountain counter.

I think if people try to argue the "what ifs" and the politics of this book, you are missing the point. The book is long by some peoples standards but I thoroughly enjoyed every page. It was interesting the way King wrote fiction/non fiction/science fiction/love story all together in one book and it flowed without any effort. It keeps you guessing a lot of the time which I liked.

Overall, this book is phenomenal. I can tell King did a lot of research on this book, but now I want to know more. This is a fast for the length of the book and I highly recommend it
Profile Image for Baba.
3,621 reviews988 followers
January 22, 2021
What would you do if you could go back to 1958? How about saving JFK? Fantastic speculative fiction book by King, as we delve into the 1950's from the viewpoint of someone living in 2011. Truly great read, that finally gets me interested in the JFK conspiracy theories. Stephen King flips some really heartwarming romance in this one too, that almost creeps up on you before you realise it's there, and it's almost all this book is about?

And even before all this gets going there's a great stop off at 1958 Derry too, that Constant Readers will just gush over. Am I right?

A book I initially picked up last year, and put down before picking it up again for my Stephen King read-a-thon this year (2016). Yet again, when I think I'm done with Stephen King he comes through with another masterclass. This is just so good, and I have no idea where it come from with so much of his recent stuff just being OK, him having set his bar so high. #BabaRead :) 9 out of 12.
Profile Image for Francesc.
459 reviews221 followers
July 21, 2023
A parte de relatos, es la PRIMERA novela que leo de Stephen King. Sí, sí, sí, supongo que alguien se estará poniendo las manos en la cabeza, pero bueno, así está la cosa. A mi no me gusta el terror y, aunque sé que no todo lo que escribe King es terror, sí que es una parte importante de su trabajo.
Para ser la primera, he de reconocer que me ha encantado.
Siempre me ha gustado todo lo relacionado con el magnicidio de JFK, pero la premisa de los viajes al pasado no me fascinaba al principio y tenía ciertas reticencias.
Pero King plantea la novela de manera brillante. El viaje en el tiempo es importante, pero lo verdaderamente brillante es la construcción de la trama. Seguramente hay algún pequeño error porque con tanto viajar al pasado siempre hay paradojas que no cuadran, pero yo no me he dado cuenta.
Es verdad que el final no es perfecto y se ha llevado un poco al extremo, pero tampoco desentona en exceso.
La historia de amor es genial y los personajes tienen muchos matices. Nada que decir de la documentación. Aquí hay una cantidad ingente de trabajo y de precisión.
Por las reseñas que he leído y por el feedback que he recibido en privado, muchas personas la consideran la mejor novela de Stephen King. Al menos, he empezado por lo mejor.

No será el último libro que lea de King.

-------------------------------

Apart from short stories, this is the FIRST novel I have read by Stephen King. Yes, yes, yes, yes, I suppose someone's probably getting their hands upside down, but well, that's the way it is. I don't like horror and, although I know that not everything King writes is horror, it is an important part of his work.
For being the first one, I have to admit that I loved it.
I've always liked everything related to the JFK assassination, but the premise of travelling back in time didn't fascinate me at first and I was a little reluctant.
But King's approach to the novel is brilliant. The time travel is important, but it's the construction of the plot that is truly brilliant. Surely there is some small mistake because with so much travel to the past there are always paradoxes that don't add up, but I didn't notice it.
It's true that the ending isn't perfect and has been taken a bit to the extreme, but it doesn't clash too much either.
The love story is great and the characters are very nuanced. Nothing to say about the documentation. There is a tremendous amount of work and precision here.
From the reviews I've read and the feedback I've received privately, many people consider it Stephen King's best novel. At least, I've started with the best.

It won't be the last book I read by King.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews937 followers
May 4, 2020
Muy buen libro, me gustó mucho. Es una historia muy bien elaborada, que me hizo realmente viajar en el tiempo.

En realidad 4,5

Decidí leer este libro porque amo los viajes en el tiempo. Me parece muy interesante lo desconocido, inexplicable, sorprendente, excéntrico y misterioso que llegan a tener este tipo de aventuras. En 22/11/63 quería descubrir como Stephen King desarrollaría una historia sobre esta temática, mis expectativas eran muy altas porque venía de leer Apocalipsis y quedar encantado con su estilo. Después de finalizar esta lectura, puedo decir que también he resultado muy satisfecho con esta obra literaria.

Stephen King crea esta historia de una forma sencilla. Por medio de un portal en el tiempo que se encuentra en un restaurante, Jack Epping, un profesor, viaja en el tiempo al 9 de Septiembre de 1958 a las 11:58 a.m. La particularidad de este fenómeno, es que sin importar la cantidad de tiempo que el viajero se demoré en el pasado, al regresar solo habrán transcurrido diez minutos en el presente. Si al viajero se le ocurriera volver a viajar al pasado, llegaría nuevamente a la misma hora y día de 1958, provocando un reinicio que borra todos los cambios realizados anteriormente en sus otros viajes. La explicación que King nos ofrece sobre este fenómeno es correcta, así como su desarrollo y combinación con el efecto mariposa.

La ambientación que nos ofrece King sobre la década del 50 y 60 también es excelente, donde sin usar tantas palabras, sentimos como si realmente estuviéramos viviendo allí. La forma como describe la vestimenta, lenguaje, costumbres, creencias, pensamientos, etc., no nos agobia en ningún momento y al contrario, nos incentiva a investigar por ejemplo sobre la historia de Estados Unidos o la crisis de los misiles en Cuba. Es tan buena la ambientación que resulté disfrutando una pelea de boxeo como si fuera aficionado a este deporte, aunque no me gusta esta disciplina.

Los personajes también están muy bien creados. Todos ellos viven historias cotidianas, están llenos de amor, odio, incertidumbre, etc., y se comportan como cualquier ser humano. Eso provoca que se sienta mucha naturalidad al leer sus historias y conocer sus pensamientos, dándonos la impresión de que son reales, o que al menos podrían serlo. Además, como tienen que interactuar con seres que si existieron como Oswald o Kennedy, eso ayuda a que ese efecto de realidad se sienta con mayor claridad.

Siendo honesto yo esperaba otro tipo de libro. Yo esperaba que el punto central de la historia fuera salvar a Kennedy, pero no fue así. El punto central, es que como lectores acompañemos a Jake en su aventura, siguiendo a través de cada capítulo su doble faceta y sus planes; es conocer la vida que llevó en ese tiempo; es acompañarlo en sus dificultades y problemas; es entender sus incertidumbres y decisiones; es ser testigos de cómo el pasado intenta por todos los medios, que Jake no altere el desarrollo de los acontecimientos; es estar a la expectativa por lo que ocurrirá en el presente tras los cambios realizados en el pasado; es reflexionar y preguntarnos permanentemente ¿Qué haríamos nosotros? ¿Perderíamos la cordura por conocer la forma como van a ocurrir los acontecimientos? ¿Nos dejaríamos consumir por la avaricia por estar enterados de los resultados de las apuestas deportivas u otros eventos? ¿Si encontráramos la felicidad en otra época, nos quedaríamos viviendo allí olvidando el presente para siempre? ¿Evitaríamos un asesinato, a pesar de que no sabemos cómo se alterará el presente? Eso, es lo más especial de este libro.

Una gran enseñanza que me queda de esta lectura es que no debemos atormentarnos por lo que pudimos hacer en el pasado y nunca realizamos, o por los errores que cometimos y se convirtieron en nuestros recuerdos negativos más significativos. El arrepentimiento nos destruye por dentro y nos enferma. Debemos dejar de juzgarnos a nosotros mismos, porque debemos entender, que sin importar si actuamos bien o mal, tendremos que vivir situaciones positivas y negativas en nuestra vida. No hay forma de evitar las dificultades y los problemas, porque así tomemos las mejores decisiones, siempre aparecerán esas vivencias difíciles. Simplemente, hay que aceptar con gratitud los acontecimientos positivos que vivimos y afrontar los negativos con mucha actitud, entendiendo que de esas experiencias, aprenderemos muchas lecciones importantes que debemos conocer.

Lo único negativo que mencionaré de este libro es que el inicio lo sentí muy lento. Esto sucedió porque en la sinopsis nos hablan de que se realizará un viaje en el tiempo para salvar a Kennedy, pero mientras la historia del libro llegaba a esa parte, sentí que no avanzaba el argumento. Fueron como las primeras cien páginas en las que me pasó eso, pero después de avanzar más, me acostumbre al ritmo de la obra, permitiéndome disfrutar escena tras escena hasta llegar al final.



Realmente, vale la pena llegar hasta el final. Gracias a esta historia nunca olvidaré la fecha en que asesinaron a Kennedy, sería una blasfemia olvidarla después de estas ochocientas cincuenta páginas llenas de aventuras. Libro muy recomendado para disfrutar y reflexionar. Léanlo.
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