Saturday, November 26, 2011


by Stephen King
2011 Scribner
Rating: 4/5

     I am a huge fan of Stephen King's short fiction. His last book Full Dark, No Stars was one of the darkest things I have read in years. I have not read one of his long novels in almost 10 years, but the subject manner of this one convinced me to give it a try.
     Jake Epping is a recently-divorced high school teacher in a small town in Maine. He gets a call from a Friend who runs a local diner. All shows him a portal in the diver that goes back to September of 1958. Al is obsessed with using the portal to go back and stop the JFK assassination, but has so far not been able to do so. He is now ill and recruits Jake to try to stop Lee Harvey Oswald.
     Jake sets out to do that, along with fixing a few other wrongs that he thinks should be righted. What he does not count on is that time has a way of trying to keep the timeline unchanged. In the 5 years of the past he has to live through before November of 1963, Jake gets in and out of trouble, meets a wonderful woman in Josie, Texas, and tracks the movements of Lee Harvey.
     As usual, King is a master of characters and dialogue, the conversation in the book almost always ring true. The book may be a bit overlong at 849 pages, but it reads quickly. The New York Times said
 "The pages of “11/22/63” fly by, filled with immediacy, pathos and suspense. It takes great brazenness to go anywhere near this subject matter. But it takes great skill to make this story even remotely credible. Mr. King makes it all look easy, which is surely his book’s fanciest trick."
     I got lost in this book, staying up way too late several nights to get through one more (and then another) chapter. One thing that did pull me out of King's world is that he got small facts wrong occasionally. They are things that won't bother most readers, but local sports fans or Ft. Worth residents may stop and say "That's not right!" As the book started to wind down, I became concerned that King was going in a bad direction with the ending, but he pulled it off with several satisfying twists.


  1. Lee, my sister is reading this book and LOVES it; she says she cannot put it down. I look forward to reading it.

    Mary Kate

  2. Everyone I've talked to has loved this new book by King. I think Dreamcatcher was my last read of his, so it's been a few years. Does this take place in Derry? With a few characters from IT? I read that somewhere... Hope it doesn't give me the nightmares that IT did!!

  3. "Dreamcatcher" was the last of his long novels that I read too, but I have been faithfully reading his short story collections. Part of the book is set in Derry, the setting of "It", and a couple of character from that book appear, but not enough to give you nightmares. It was more nostalgic in feeling then scary, although Derry will never be a nice place to visit.