Rating: 5 / 5
11/22/63 by Stephen King has been high on my list of books I wanted to get to for a long time, though the size was a bit intimidating. When there was not one, but two buddy reads scheduled for this book in May, it was time to give it a read. I am so glad that I finally did!
11/22/63 follows English teacher Jake Epping. Jake’s friend Al owns the local diner and he calls Jake over to talk. Jake is shocked by Al’s condition, he seems to have aged well beyond his years. He can’t hardly believe Al’s explanation. It seems there is a portal in the diner which allows someone to travel to a particular date in the past. The past can be changed, but each time someone goes back it resets it all. Al is obsessed with changing one particular event in history, stopping the assassination of JFK which will happen several years after the date the portal leads to. Now in failing heath after several trips back for research, Al enlists Jake to take up the cause.
After an initial trip back to test the waters, Jake agrees to settle in for the long haul. First he must convince himself that Al’s research is good and that Lee Harvey Oswald is the villain he is commonly known to be. With a lot of time to kill, Jake settles in to life in the past and his desire to make a home and his desire to fulfill his mission are at times at odds. He also learns that the past doesn’t want to be changed and it will throw obstacles in his path in all kinds of ways.
I loved this book! I was worried it was going to be a beast to get through at 850 pages, but it was such an easy read that those pages flew right by! I actually had to resist reading the whole thing in one binge! I really enjoyed this take on time travel and seeing the ways Jake navigated the past. King plays around a lot with how history repeats itself or “resonates” in his lingo and the ramifications of the butterfly effect. Though he points out a lot of this directly in the narrative, it also kept me looking for instances of things coming back around. King is known for making reference to his other works in his novels and this trip back in time allowed for some great easter eggs for fans to pick up. More ways the past resonates, I suppose!
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read this book, I would highly recommend it. It does a great job of merging historical fiction with some sci-fi elements, with some romance and politics mixed in as well. Even if you aren’t a fan of the horror genre under which you’d most often find King listed, I think this is one you may enjoy!
#AroundTheYearIn52Books – a book related to time
#MMDChallenge – three books by the same author