Adam Knight’s Book Club: 11.22.63: a Novel By Stephen King

Okay so I’ve been slacking on my book club, but I’ve got much better taste in literature, and I don’t have my own publishing company or political agenda to profit from, so I don’t take it as seriously as the O.  Add to that the Holidays were an extremely busy time for me and I didn’t have much time to read.  Now that 2012 is here I’ve resumed my reading habits, and I’ve got a stack of books to read.  So first off for 2012, is Stephen King’s “11.22.63”

November 11, 1963 is the day that JFK was shot, and a pivotal event in the lives of all Americans at the time; even more so for the “Baby Boomer” generation.  For them, it was one of their first ever memories, and the 9/11 before 9/11/2001.  So yes, this is a book that deals with that historic event, but it isn’t the Zapgruder film dissection, Oliver Stone flight of fancy, or a History Channel great conspiracies and alien influences documentary.  The title, “11.22.63” is a clever way to name the book, but it is NOT ABOUT the assassination of JKF; moreover it’s actually about a time travelling English teacher, trying to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from taking those 3 shots.  After reading the book jacket, the prologue, the entire text and the afterwards, I am going to recommend this book to everyone.  THIS IS NOT A STEPHEN KING HORROR THRILLER.  Though it might be considered Sci-Fi, it really is all in all, a great piece of fiction by one of the greatest writers of his generation.

Here’s the premise: Jake, a 35 year old, divorced English teacher from 2011 is shown how he can travel back in time to a fall morning in 1958.  The friend who shows him gives him the base rules as he knows them: Every time you go through the portal to the past, it takes you to the same time and place, no matter how much time you spend in the past only 2 minutes passes in 2011, money and material things will go back and forth with you, if you go back to the past it’s a complete RESET nothing you did the last trip back has been done, and most importantly the PAST is OBDURATE (stubborn and hard to change).  Jake’s friend who shows him the portal, has worked out a plan to change the world for the better by going back in time and stopping the JFK assassination.  However, his friend having made multiple trips through and developed lung cancer is unable to complete his quest and asks Jake to travel to 1958 live life in the past for 5 years, then head down to Dallas to kill or stop Lee Harvey Oswald. That’s where it begins and from there the story turns into a page turning, surprise twist, turn you on your ear, throw you for a loop, thrill ride through the wonder years prior to “The Wonder Years”.  By the end, the reader will look at history, destiny, fate, Quantum Leap and the fading family picture paradox in a whole new way.

I don’t like dropping spoilers on the Web, but there are cameo appearances from some of the kids from IT, as well as some “loose” references to the Gunslinger Saga.  All in all, I have read everything Mr. King has published over the years, starting with “IT” when I was 11, including the Bachman books, On Writing, and all the published short stories, “11.22.63” is the first Stephen King novel I’ve recommended to NON-King fans, including and especially my father.

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