“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” Stephen King, 11/22/63
This is an odd book to review because there are so many historical facts (and fiction and speculations) tied into it that it becomes more real than fiction. Another part to this whole story is the fact that I got to visit some of these locations. This made the book come to life more than an movie or TV show ever could have. (To read my blog about my trip, click here.)
The first thing to know about this book is that it is very long. It’s good, but it’s long. Like, 31 hours on an audiobook long. But you have everything: a love story and historical mysteries all sprinkled with a little bit of time travel. It could have probably been about half as long but I still enjoyed it.
While long, the book does have a lot of twists and turns and since the past continues to be “obdurate,” as the book keeps reminding us, there are lots of speed bumps that make you want to pull you hair out at times. But at the same time, you get it. The last is there for a reason, even if we don’t understand why just yet.
The first somewhat annoying part of the story is that he always gets dropped into the last on the same day in 1958. So basically he has to wait 5 years to try to stop the JFK assassination, which creates the need for a huge story in between. Me? I would have just holed up at home or maybe visited some cool places or seen some concerts by people that wouldn’t be around in 2011. But no, Mr.Epping / Amberson decides to live a fuller life that we get to be a part of.
The entire Sadie storyline is where Mr. King might have saved some time for the impatient people like me. While the love story is beautiful, it’s also very long… I got to a point where I just wanted to hurry up and get to 1963 already! And just when I thought we were getting close BAM! Jake gets the crap beaten out of him and lands in the hospital with crazy amnesia to the point that he can’t remember who he is or why he’s there, you know, in 1963, not 2011.
But when the cool things do start happening and you see the outcome of everything, (even I won’t spoil that part for you) we understand why we jumped through the hurdles to get there.
I loved how he went down the “rabbit hole” more than once and what he wanted to do to help while he was there. It was also fun to read into Jake’sthought process of what might happen if he dies in the past or if he did something to cause his parents to never meet… All part of the “time travel conundrum” that we casually talk about at times.
I say, if you have a lot of time in, say, the summer, or on a flight or long trip, read it. It’s harder to stay tuned in reading a chapter at a time but it’s worth it. I’m especially excited to watch the show and see how some things turn out on screen.
GRADE : B