You remember Oliver Stone’s JFK? (I know…who doesn’t? It’s a pop culture icon, also infamous from an episode of Seinfeld.) Well when I first saw that movie, that whole conspiracy thing got me—hook, line, and sinker. I Wikipedia-ed the crap out of everything relating to that assassination (because, yes, I first saw JFK so recently that Wikipedia existed).
Anyway, to say that the plot of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 intrigued me is putting it mildly. JFK assassination AND time travel? What an amazing combination! I’m not exactly sure why it took me so long to read this book. I’d heard of “that new Stephen King book” since it first came out when my mom thought about buying it as a gift for Colin, but I knew nothing about it; just figured it was another Stephen King book. When I saw it on the library shelves recently, though, an uncontrollable impulse just lead my arm to reach out and grab it, so then it was pretty much decided. I was going to read it.
And it’s actually the first and only Stephen King book I’ve ever read.
The plot of this book, for those of you still as clueless as I was, can be summed up in a sentence: Modern-day English teacher Jake Epping finds a wormhole that leads back to 1958, and he decides to take a stab at changing the course of history by stopping the assassination of our 35th President.
That’s putting it simply. In its 849 pages, this book gets sooooooo much more complex. We jump through the portal as Jake does, discover its quirks as he does, put the pieces of the puzzle together as he does. And we’re left to decide, as he is, if a different course of history would necessarily be better.
At 850 pages, 11/22/63 qualifies as a top-shelf chunkster, but it reads so unbelievably fast that you won’t even notice it. I am not exaggerating when I say this story sucked me in, completely and hypnotizingly. I got so caught up in this fantasy world that it put me in a daze whenever I stopped reading. King pays such ridiculously close attention to detail that you do forget you’re sitting in 2012 reading a fictional story. And further, the plot has got that same feature of The Shadow of the Wind in that it covers any and all genres that may interest you. Action, sci-fi, history, romance—it’s all thrown in and mixed together to create this really amusing and thought-provoking ride through history. Because say somehow, some way, you can change history…do you think it really wants to change?