I am superrrr late on posting this. Other more exciting things got in the way! I still wanted to fill you all in though on the second book I had read in January— “11/22/63” by Stephen King. A NY Times review can be found here.
As one of my volunteer activities with Intel, I have spent time the last two years at Canyon State Academy (CSA), which is an alternative school for young adult males who have gotten in trouble with the law. Rather than sending them to “juvi,” they go to CSA so that they can still obtain their high school diploma. In December, Intel Finance puts on a holiday party for the boys where we deliver the presents and bring games and a rock-climbing wall and a giant, blow-up obstacle course and have a party. As part of the party, employees are asked to adopt students and buy them presents.
My first year, Christmas 2011, I adopted two boys and received their wish list. One of my students wanted a watch or a car magazine. The other student asked for a duffle bag or a Stephen King book. So what Stephen King book did I buy him? Well, obviously the most recent one that had just come out, literally that week—“11/22/63.” I have wanted to read the book ever since. I was curious why, of all authors, the student I had adopted preferred Stephen King.
It is quite a long book, as most King books I’ve noticed on bookshelves are. (YIKES I just found out the book is 849 pages long– no wonder it seemed long!) However, if you’re a US history buff like myself, you will love it! While the book itself is fiction—it essentially is a “what if” account of a man, Jake, with the ability to travel back in time, who goes back to prevent JFK from being assassinated—King did not overlook a single historical detail. I would be willing to bet that not a street scene, product, newspaper article or person described differs from the 1950’s or 60’s reality. Most importantly, King’s detailed characterization of Oswald—the supposed assassinator of JFK, whom Jake devotes his life back in time, to trying to intercept—is beyond anything I’ve read before or read since finishing the book, since my interest in JFK’s assassination was peaked. I am pretty sure King read every single word ever written about the events leading up to JFK’s passing….and then condensed it into this novel. I’m definitely smarter for having read it.
Beyond the history, the book still has multiple complicated plotlines running at the same time, including, of course, a love story. It is funny, too! And violent at times. Changing history isn’t easy (due to the waterfall effect); nor is remembering not to say things like “legit” since back in time people don’t know what that means yet 🙂 The book is just really quite good. I’m motivated now to try out another King book, if he has others based on a historical premise.
So overall, I’d obviously recommend the book! It isn’t an easy read because it is long and filled with historical tidbits, but it is a worthwhile read. I wish I had a paper copy that I could lend my brother, but instead I bought it on my Kindle. It’s only $6.99 on Kindle though versus like $30 for the hardcover.