Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about time travel. Brief synopsis:  It's 2011 and Jake Epping is a high schoo...

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about time travel.

Brief synopsis: It's 2011 and Jake Epping is a high school English teacher who teaches adult education classes in the evening and enjoys a cheap burger at Al's local diner. But Jake's world gets turned upside down when Al let's him in on a little secret - a closet in the back of the diner is a rabbit hole to 1958, and no matter how long one stays down the rabbit hole, they'll always come back to two minutes later in 2011. Now Al's dying and he needs Jake to complete the mission he's tried so hard to complete - stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating JFK.

When Hulu developed an 8-episode mini-series a few years ago about JFK and starring James Franco, I was totally there for it. 11/22/63 - the date President Kennedy was assassinated - now turned into a science fiction novel about time travel, and hence a mini-series. I watched it every single week and absolutely loved it. It took me a little longer than I'd meant for it to, but I finally got around to picking up the Stephen King novel from the library, and though it took me close to two weeks to finish the book (those King novels sure are dense), I enjoyed every second of it. Once I finished, I immediately watched the mini-series again, and that adaptation? I didn't love it so much the second time around, because the book was fantastic. Seriously.

The characters, even those that seem minor, are so well developed. The mixture of facts and fiction are completely intriguing. Oh, and those little tie-ins with other King novels were a wonderfully pleasant surprise (and I'm talking about Richie-who-lives-in-a-ditchie and Bevvie-from-the-levvie in a little town called Derry). I swear Stephen King is a genius and if I never get to meet him, I will be eternally sad about it.

I had more than my fair share of cries while reading, because the lives of the characters and the surrealism of what could have been. Sidenote: I went to Dallas a few years ago and stood there in Dealey Plaza and sobbed in the middle of the street. Those moments were incredibly surreal and somehow that just added to the story King laid out in 11/22/63.

I can't say enough about how amazing the book was. I will say that if you haven't read nor watched - watch the show first, so you can enjoy it as it is. Then read the novel and become completely immersed in the life of Jake Epping/George Amberson and the precious little town of Jodie, and the impact educators can have on the lives of students. Watching the series after reading the book really took away most of the awe of the series - they both tell the story is totally different ways, but the book is always better rings true with this one, too.

I'd definitely recommend this one.

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  1. Replies
    1. Agreed! It was so good. I still haven't been able to soak in the newest book I'm trying to read because it was so good.