Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: 11/22/63

Like a lot of late Baby Boomers, I grew up on Stephen King. I have read many of his books and seen most of the movies made from these books. There are very few I have not enjoyed. King's time-travel tome, 11/22/63, is no exception.

It is the story of Maine English teacher Jake Epping, who travels from 2011 to 1958 with the intent of preventing the assassination of JFK in 1963. Along the way, the recently divorced Epping, aka George Amberson, disrupts other crimes, stalks Lee Harvey Oswald, and falls in love with high school librarian Sadie Dunhill as he settles into a small Texas town.

As an author of books in the same genre, I learned from 11/22/63. King downplays the supernatural and brings out the vivid colors and slower rhythm of a time most of us know only from history books. Epping's odyssey is believable and compelling. The protagonist acts as most of us would act if faced with the same challenges and opportunities. I like how King wove part of It, his 1986 horror novel, into the story.

Many critics have panned the love scenes, but I did not find them distracting. The relationship between Jake and Sadie is poignant and refreshing. I cared less for the far-fetched ending and think King overplayed the importance of a single historical event. The book is also long. As is often the case, King did in 800 pages what he probably could have done in 500.

But the strengths of the novel far outweigh the weaknesses. The reader sees another side of Stephen King in 11/22/63, and it's a good one. I eagerly await the author's next work. Rating: 3/5.

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