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Was a good idea about time travel, but thought the story about saving JFK got hijacked by the subplot. (Life in small town 'Jodie Texas' and Jack falling in love with the school librarian, Sadie.)
I thought Jack wanting to stay in 1963 and never return to his own time of 2011 was kind of troubling too. It made him seem selfish and escapist. Jack is willing to ignore racism, sexism, and unchecked pollution because he has Sadie and people are more "neighborly." Really? Nobel prize winner Sinclair Lewis might have had something to say about being "neighborly" in his novel "Main Street."
On the plus side, "11/22/63" seemed really well researched and I had fun looking up movies, music, and other things mentioned about everyday life back then. The story flows along if readers can put up with the long digressions into Jack's 'other' life in the small town.
Others might really like the novel. The long subplot, and Jack kind of being an escapist unwilling to live in the present just wasn't for me.
An absolute page turner. Readers can tell King really researched the hell out of the era and left no detail out. Even though I spent the entire time trying to guess or figure out what would happen next, King continued to surprise throughout the story. I was absolutely engrossed.
This is another time travel book where the person traveling has to decide whether it is right to change history or not. Jake goes back in time with the intention of stopping Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating Kennedy. When the time comes he has to decide what is the moral thing to do. I found the story interesting.
Wow, what a stonker. Over 1,000 pages in the larger print version. King's concept here is so expansive. It contains the King-isms and humor that you'd expect. But you actually feel his enjoyment while writing this, that makes it my favorite SK work. 4.5/5
In this time travel thriller novel, English teacher Jake Epping is given the chance to go back in time and stop the 1963 assassination of JFK. Violent and creepy as you would expect for a Stephen King story, the time travel rules are clearly explained, and the story is methodically paced. References to other stories by King took me out of the tale, but if you love time travel "What if" questions, this book is for you.
The novel 11/22/63 by Stephen King is an excellent book that combines real-life history, with a few supernatural elements, while still creating a believable and vibrant world. The novel follows a high school teacher named Jake Epping who goes back in time in order to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The book follows Jake’s journey as he ends up learning from the past. The book is very engaging and keeps the reader guessing what happens next. The one minor inconvenience about this book was that it is quite lengthy so it might take some time to complete. I would rate the book for ages 12+
It's a great suspense time-travel story with a wonderful romance. I learned things about the Kennedy assassination that I've never heard before. Beyond the finely-tuned descriptions, the characters are completely engaging. Definitely one of my all-time favorites of Stephen King's books.
I've read very few of King's novels - just this, Dolores Claiborne, The Stand, and Different Seasons - but I consider myself a fan because I love his non-fiction On Writing and his magazine work. While there were things I liked about this book (after all, I did read all 850 pages), in the long run, I was disappointed.
This was about Jake, who gets the privilege?/duty? to travel back in time to alter history by preventing the assassination of JFK. I liked the early part of the time travel when Jake is in Maine and the history-altering he does there, and then the relationship between Jake/George and Sadie. Could you read this book and not love Sadie? (The answer is no.) Other than that, I didn't like too much. I found everything about Oswald pretty non-engaging and it seemed I read an awful lot about apartment complexes in 1960's Texas. (Now Oswald lived here, now Jake/George moved there, and on and on and on...) The inherent complexities in time travel weren't handled either particularly well or innovatively. And there were three ends: the end of the "mission" (so to speak), the end of the after-mission, and the very end (sorry to be so cryptic; I don't want to be a spoiler). The after-mission piece - where the results of everything that's come before were revealed - was utterly and laughably ridiculous. Why would any of those things have happened? However, I did like the very end/coda.
How would Steven King's character have ever been able to have prevented the multiple assassins who actually killed President Kennedy? Well, I guess in fiction, anything is possible, even with a Praetorian Guard involved.
Time travel from 2011 to 1958 makes this a science fiction thriller with historical accuracy and my favorite Stephen King read so far. You can't help but root for Jake Epping as he steps out into 1958 and sets out to change the past -- his most important goal to stop the Kennedy assassination. No matter how much time Jake spends in the past only two minutes will pass in 2011. Every time he returns the past resets, but residue remains. As Jake waits for the fateful day, he meets the new school librarian -- Sadie. Loving Sadie will make things easier and harder and give us final scene that is movie made. I have confidence that J.J. Abrams has done this book justice in his Hulu miniseries. Can't wait to check it out!
Interesting premise for a novel but it is very, very long novel and the ending was rushed and disappointing.
Groundhog Day and Back to the Future get serious and take on a story out of The Twilight Zone, only longer than a thirty minute show could handle. Highly entertaining! Once in every few years I get the hankering for some Stephen King, and this book does not disappoint. Being from Texas myself, I enjoyed the local color. Four stars.
Who set up the Yellow Card Men? Why don't they just close down the portal, or force a time traveler to turn around and go back to his own time? All they do is complain and argue until they go crazy. It's said they have to keep track of all the different time strings mentally, and it drives them nuts, but why do they have to do that, they never do anything about it? Dr. Who could clear up this situation, PDQ, I think.
One of King's better books in recent years. Has all the good and bad qualities of a Stephen King story: Captivating concept, tons of well-realized characters, needlessly long, and an ending that completely comes undone and makes the first 900 pages of the book nearly mute.
He does an impressive job transporting the reader back in time as well as capturing a beautiful love story in the process.
// On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas . . .\\
WRONG! ! ! King has done a pathetic lack of research on a most important and epochal subject [the murders of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr., completely altered the progressive arc this country was on] and it blatantly shows throughout this poorly written fiction based upon fiction.
21 days . . . After October 11, 1963, when President Kennedy signed NSAM 263, allowing for the withdrawal of US military advisors from Vietnam, President Diem of Vietnam would be overthrown in a military coup and he and his brother would be most horrifically murdered [too gruesome for the details here] - - 21 days after that, President Kennedy would be killed in Dallas, TX, in another staged coup. And 21 days prior, during that coup in Saigon, fired CIA director, Allen Dulles, and CIA station chief in Italy, William Harvey, would meet in Dallas, TX, to set the stage for 21 days later on Nov. 22, 1963.
If only King could have written a fictionalized account based upon the truth . . .
[And for the record, far more than three shots rang out, but since those 3 or 4 Mannlicher-Carcano rifles were fired almost simultaneously, witnesses correctly identified 3 different points of origin, depending upon where they were situated, and the Secret Service agents correctly described a crossfire that day.]
Well written and interesting although if you think about it too closely it all falls apart. Plus, as usual, King pads the story with tons of extraneous crap that doesn't move the story along. Probably more interesting if you are old enough to have experienced 11/22/63 itself.
Fantastic book! The premise pulls you right in.. what if an ordinary man could change history through time travel? And once the premise is set, King displays his gift for developing a rich cast of characters. You feel for the protagonist and also feel like you're part of the action, like watching a movie. (Speaking of which, the Hulu miniseries done in 2016 is very good too!) And as it turns out, you'll find that King has done his homework on the Kennedy assassination, and gets a lot of details right on the actual events as they happened leading up to the fateful day in 1963. This novel, which stands on its own outside of his legendary body of work, just confirms that King is one of the great storytellers of our time.
Next to The Stand, my favorite King novel. Unlike many of Mr. King's books, this one had a great ending. Loved it start to finish.
Very rich in worldbuilding and a great mix of both speculative and historical fiction. There's even a return to Derry! If there's one knock it's that it drags on too long in the middle.
Not much to say about this very long book. One thing's for sure, King is one hell of a story teller. Did it need to have so many pages to get his message through? Were all the descriptions and situations essential? I'm not sure, maybe. Is the fact that it's long makes it better, or clearer? I'm not convinced. But this is Stephen King, the unstoppable scribbler. And we love him just the way he is. It's just that sometime when he finishes another epic, the size of it is somewhat daunting to face. Also it's pretty heavy inside my backpack.
This is my first ever read of anything by Stephen King. The premise here is that the narrator has access to a "rabbit hole", a gateway to the past. The rabbit hole always takes him back to the same day in 1958. He is convinced by a friend to go back in time and stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing John F. Kennedy; since he can only go back to 1958, he has to live through the intervening five years while he waits for Oswald to arrive in Dallas, and these five years are the meat of the story.
One of the most common less-than-positive comments I've heard about this book is that it's so immense, and I do feel that there are parts of the story that were not crucial to the plot that could have been trimmed down or removed altogether. The narrator performs two "trial-runs" to see what effect his actions in the past will have on the future. While reading these parts of the book, I couldn't help feeling that, while they were interesting, they were mostly just keeping us from getting to the heart of the story.
I have a couple other issues with King's handling of certain characters - specifically, Jake's ex-wife, who is an alcoholic, and Sadie's ex-husband, who is mentally ill. But in the narrator's eyes, these aren't bad people who also happen to have these other flaws; Jake's ex-wife is a bad person because she's an alcoholic. John Clayton is a bad person because he is mentally ill. Ergo, all alcoholic women are conniving b*tches and all mentally ill persons are deranged stalker-killers.
After going to so much trouble to explore some of the characters, I was disappointed that King's portrayal of Oswald was so one-dimensional. There was no attempt to explain the reasoning Oswald employed for killing Kennedy; Oswald is just portrayed as a sociopath bent on getting the attention he felt society owed him.
I did like two concepts related to time travel that King uses well - the idea of the "obdurate past", which is the idea that the past resists being changed; the greater the change, the stronger the resistance. Coupled with that is the concept that changes to the past will have repercussions beyond the specific changed event: the "butterfly effect". While Jake thinks some of his actions are small and inconsequential, he comes to realize that, just by even being in the past, he's creating ripples of change in the future.
This was the first ever book I have read by Stephen King, and it was hands down amazing. This book took place in 1963, Dallas Texas. Jake Epping, also known as George Amberson, goes back in time. Mission: save John F. Kennedy from being assassinated. Why: to see how life would change, of course! In my opinion, this was one of the most interesting and thrilling books I've ever laid my eyes on. There were absolutely NO trivial or dull moments. In 11/22/63, you are brought back to the sixties, where life is tremendously different. Jake Epping is given the opportunity by his dying friend, Al, to discover if it was really Lee Harvey Oswald who killed the famous former president. Since I am Canadian, I knew hardly anything about American history, nor cared. While reading, I got so interested to the point where I took time out of my life reading information on the JFK assassination, as well as creating projects at school based on this topic. Stephen King made all aspects of John's assassination interesting! I particularly loved how much research he put into creating this book. There were so many details, conspiracies, and options portrayed in this novel. I definitely recommend, and I give this book 5/5.
- @Montgomery of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
So, you found a portal to an earlier time, and have the opportunity to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. Do you a) start researching and planning right away, and do everything possible to change the course of events, and generally try to improve the world you're in with your modern knowledge; or b) do nothing but mark time for several years, while working at the same kind of job you worked at in your own time -- and love blooms? If you've read other Stephen King books, you know which way this story goes. I'll admit it, I was glued to this book, if only because I wanted to know "when is something interesting going to happen? So many possibilities." Then later on, I was thinking: "surely the book is not going to end that way. No, there's going to be a twist. Any time now." But it does end that way, exactly the way you think, and it's borderline insulting to Kennedy's legacy. Many parts of this book are interesting and well written, but prepare to be disappointed.