When I heard the premise of Stephen King's latest novel 11/22/63 I was immediately intrigued. The novel explores the possibility of someone going back in time and preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The front cover of the book carries this through by reproducing a Dallas newspaper that tells about the assassination and a back cover that celebrates the fact that the assassination attempt had failed. While not a big fan of horror or science fiction, I have always had a soft spot for time travel fiction and so, undaunted by the 849 pages of this massive tome, I started right in.
And what a wonderful book it turned out to be! The crack in the space and time continuum that allowed Jake Epping to go back and forth in time placed him in September of 1958 and also allowed him to return to 2011. King does not shy from the ethical and philosophical questions of his premise. Does one have a license to kill someone based on less than sure evidence? What if one's presence in the past alters the future in other unknowable ways? What if a different outcome to JFK's assassination didn't produce the safer and happier world one had hoped for? Does one have the right to change the future of someone else to bring about an event that might help a whole country or even the world?
Jake had time to build a life and relationships between 1958 and 1963. He attempts to use his time in the past to find out more about Lee Harvey Oswald and to effect other positive changes, but for some of that time he worked as a high school teacher in Texas and became close to his fellow teachers and students. In the end, the decisions he makes based on those relationships mattered more to me than the resolution of the assassination attempt. Midway through I was torn between turning the pages even faster and not wanting the book to end. By the last 100 pages I couldn't put the book down. Kudos to Stephen King for a wonderful and thoughtful adventure!
Submitted by Pat D @ Central