Published by Scribner
Publication date: November 8th 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Suspense
Writing a review about a Stephen King book feels almost as daunting and futile as deciding to climb Everest. What is left to say that hasn’t been said by professional reviewers the world over? His background, writing style, mental stability and more have been discussed and dissected ad nauseam so I won’t go there. The man has written 50 books and whether you like the horror genre or not you can’t deny he has a wildly creative mind. Plus, if you haven’t sobbed over The Green Mile or cheered wildly over The Shawshank Redemption well then, we should acknowledge you’re not the type of person to read this blog and you should move on. Seriously.
11/22/63 is King’s look at time travel and one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. history- the assassination of J.F.K. What if it had not happened? Stop and think about it. JFK didn’t have the same conviction for the Vietnam War as Johnson. How many American lives might have been saved? What about Martin Luther King Jr., his assassination and race relations? It was already a time of tremendous upheaval but what would it have been like if JFK had lived? These questions were enough to make me want to know what a mind like King’s would come up with. Especially as it is apparently a topic about which he’s had a long time interest (since the mid-70s). So not only are you getting his creative mind but a lot of well validated research as well.
And for some, that’s a problem. The book weighs in at 847 pages. For me, they flew by and I had days when all I wanted to do was GET. BACK. TO. BOOK. I’ve seen reviews that felt the book dragged but I can only shrug and write the reviewer off as having ADD and unable to read anything over 200 pages. I don’t care. I want fully fleshed out characters, authentic dialogue and a plot that leaves no mess but wraps up neatly. And not that I’m demanding or anything but I also want subplots, with interesting characters who appear then disappear but with whom I can be confident there will be resolution, and an ending that surprises me. King delivers on it all.
If you’ve held back or moved away from Stephen King because of the gore factor (I did) then this is the perfect way back in. 11/22/63 showcases his talent as the consummate storyteller; it will draw you in and keep you hooked until the very last page.