John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby. Names that shall ever live in our collective memories, even for those of us who weren’t born yet. Have you ever wondered about the many what ifs regarding that infamous day? Well, Stephen King takes us back via time travel to discover just that, and to ponder the eternal question: if you could change history, should you? Jake Epping is a 35 year old High School English teacher living in Lisbon Falls, Maine who also does double duty helping adults attain their GEDs. An essay passed in by one of his adult students detailing the night his family was massacred by his father has a profound effect on Jake. Soon after, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a long kept secret. The storeroom in the diner is actually a time portal to 1958 and Al has been using it to attempt to prevent John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Now however, Al is dying and he wants Jake to take up the cause. Although hesitant at first, Jake becomes caught up in the mission and soon finds himself much more personally involved with the times and people of the era then he ever could have possibly imagined. I have been a Stephen King fan since I first read “Carrie” when I was 14 years old. Through the years, one thing has become apparent regarding his novels. They are at their best when they are character driven because there aren’t many writers besides King who can delve so deeply into the human psyche and make his “Dear Readers” care and identify so much with his characters. For long time fans of his, “11/22/63” is one of his best works. In my humble opinion it actually is his best. There is really no horror in this book, and even the time travel aspect isn’t really enough to plant it firmly in the Science Fiction genre. I guess if I were going to label it, I’d say it was Historical Fiction, and Suspense. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but readers can expect characters from his older books to make appearances as well as some familiar places. Jake and the new characters that King introduces us to feel like old friends as well, and that is one of the many reasons why this prolific author has such a fan base. Even at over 800 pages long the plot moves along briskly, and towards the end I found myself trying to hold back because I didn’t want the story to end. I find it amazing that 37 years after his first novel, Stephen King still manages to amaze with his incredible imagination. As one of his many fans, I consider myself privileged to have traveled back in time in his latest masterpiece. Thank you dear friend.
Kim is the Assistant Head of Children’s Services
Read her full Read This profile: kimb8