narrated by Craig Wasson
849 pages, or 30 hours and 44 minutes in audio form
This is my favorite King novel!
And okay, so I’ve only read three, but this one pretty much blew The Stand and IT out of the water (and I liked those books).
Quick synopsis: High school teacher Jake Epping is sent back to the past through a rabbit hole. His mission, should he choose to accept it? Stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy. The rationale behind this is that if Kennedy had lived, there would be no Vietnam War and the future would be an even better place. The potential of Camelot, and all that shit (not that I’m bashing Camelot, ’cause I so would’ve voted for Kennedy had I been there, I just have issues with the idea of altering the past to get a magically better present).
11/22/63 is basically a time travel novel. But it’s also so much more. It’s a story about the repercussions of messing with the past, and love and friendship and community, and the repercussions of messing with the past (and hey, I’m repeating myself just like King!).
I have to admit, I spent a good portion of the story wondering if there were even going to be repercussions. In typical King fashion, this puppy is long. Jake spends YEARS in the past, waiting for the one big moment that he is there for (because the rabbit hole only takes you back to a certain day in 1958). So there are YEARS to kill. Also, he goes back a few times and relives the first few months. God, that was almost agonizing.
Anyhoosie. It’s not until the very end of the book (again, in typical King fashion) that we see what happens when you play god and mess with the past (both big and small events). While I was a bit surprised as to what actually happened, I was exceptionally pleased (if not a little heart-broken) that Jake came to his senses.
Some random thoughts:
Once again King has pet phrases that he overuses. If I ever hear the phrase “the past is obdurate” again, I might just scream.
As I mentioned in my final IT post, the town of Derry makes an appearance, and it is awesome. This was one of my favorite parts of the book, even if most of the Derry characters were total asshats.
I loved the entire Sadie storyline, and the town of Jodie.
Al. Oh, Al. You are so, so misguided to think that changing the past always works out for the best. Just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean that her life will automatically be better if you make it so that the life-changing event never happened. I would’ve liked this to have been explored more fully (although yes, I know, the book is already too long). It seemed that after they changed the course of the woman’s life she faded into the woodwork, whereas in the timeline where she is in the wheelchair she lived a very full and successful life.
The yellow/orange/green/black card man was driving me batty. I’m really, really glad that there was finally an explanation!
Raise your hand if you read the book and then had google Marina Oswald to find out what happened to her. (raises hand)
I loved the characters in this book. I happen to think King is genius at characterization, and his genius shines in this one. Yes, there are a lot of people, but unlike IT and The Stand, I wasn’t ready to edit any of them out.
I listened to this, and the audio was fucking brilliant. Seriously. Fucking. Brilliant. King must have awesome karma, because it seems like he gets all the good narrators. I actually wanted to go to the gym, just to get more listening time in. If you’re ever looking for a 30 hour audio book, this is the one.
Other than the horror of changing the past, I wouldn’t classify this as horror. If you’re afraid of reading King because you think he’s scary, start here. Just be warned, this sucker is LONG. Although not as long as The Stand!