Sunday, December 4, 2011

11/22/63 by Stephen King

It's amazing how less monstrous books seem when they are on the Kindle.

Time is a funny thing. While reading this book, I kept remembering something I said to my mom, when she lamented about wishing her father (who died when she was just a small kid) was still alive. I said that would have changed everything, for one person to be alive when they weren't supposed to be. My grandpa was my grandma's first husband. It took my grandma's 3rd husband's stepson to introduce my mom to my dad. If my grandpa had lived? I, for one, believe things would be worse (I wouldn't be here....duh).

In 11/22/63, a time portal is found in a diner. The diner's owner was using the portal pretty frequently and made a decision that he had to save JFK from assassination. His logic was all well and good and he was rife with good intentions, but he didn't get the deed done before getting to old and ill to carry it out. So he passed it on to Jake Epping, a newly divorced high school English teacher.

The time portal always starts out on 9/9/1958. Always. For as long as the traveler is in the past, it only appears they are gone from the present for 2 minutes. In order to save Kennedy, the traveler would have to stay in the past for over 5 years (and age five years - this isn't magic). Which is exactly what Jake does.

I'll try not to give away spoilers but I'm putting this book on par with Bag of Bones. King has somehow turned from a scary horror writer into an epic storyteller. I'm not sure where the transition happened, although I'm thinking it was around The Green Mile.

Clearly a lot of research went into this, because it felt like authentic 1950's/60's. But how would I know? I'm eager for my mom to read this and let me know what she thinks.

You'll learn a lot about the butterfly effect in this novel, something I've always been intrigued by. The tiniest change or action by one can cause a huge chain of events somewhere else. A good time travel book expounds on this theory and King didn't disappoint.

Now, that I'm finished with the book, the only thing I keep thinking is "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". Was it really a good idea to try and save Kennedy? What kind of President would he have been? Clearly people assumed he would have been a great one. He's still talked about in awed tones. But no one knows. And frankly, it's probably best left unknown.
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