Thursday, November 22, 2018

11/22/63 - Stephen King

Forgive the Bonus Post on Thursday this week! It went against everything in my brain to try to post this review on ANY other day than 11/22.

Summary: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful. (Summary and image from

Review: Well, hello there! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been able to post. Turns out when you’re teaching full time (which was a temporary and a wonderful experience), reading doesn’t happen much. Especially when you’re trying to get a bunch of seniors ready for AP tests! And when reading doesn’t happen, it’s pretty darn hard to write reviews! I’ve missed it, terribly.

So, funny thing about teaching seniors who have finished their AP exams - their brains are fried. They’re done. Dead. Nothing academic is going to happen happily after that test is turned in. Unfortunately, I still had to have them do a project and a final ... enter, CONSPIRACY THEORIES! My government kids were tasked with researching and presenting a conspiracy theory to the class. We had quite a few lizard people, a few flat earthers, one or two crazy ones I’d never heard of, and JFK. So much JFK. So many interesting twists on the JFK assassination that I decided it was time to check off two boxes on my bucket list: read a Stephen King novel, and delve into the JFK conspiracy. Enter 11/22/63.

I now understand why King is the king of authors. In the past few years as my kids have gotten more busy and my reading time has shrunk, I’ve gotten more and more picky about what I want to read. If I’m 100 pages into a book and nothing has happened, I bid the book adieu and move onto something else. I just don’t have the time to waste on a snoozer anymore.

That being said, this is no snoozer. 100 pages into it, nothing major had happened yet, but the writing was so beautiful, so engrossing, I couldn’t put it down. 800+ pages and I finished it in a couple of days. 

It’s an interesting concept - what would change if you could stop the assassination? What ramifications would that have for the world that forms post-attempt? Couple that with the undebatable talent that King possesses in creating and weaving worlds, and I was absolutely enthralled. 

That being said, the language is ROUGH. I was surprised to see so much profanity and such bad profanity when the writing was so good. It took me aback. It’s a pity, too. Based on what I’ve read, I have no doubt that King could have gotten the point across without the language to that extreme, and it almost felt lazy. However, that didn’t stop me from telling everyone I know who could handle the swears that they have to read this book, right now this very minute.

Rating: Four stars

For the Sensitive Reader: Language. And sex. And violence. But so much language.

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