Thursday, April 26, 2012

11/22/63 by STEPHEN KING: A KINDLE REVIEW

DISCLAIMER: I am a Kennedy baby (my mom denies this), born 08/26/64, nine months later.


At first glance 11/22/63 seems like it's going to explore the question, "Would the world have been better off if Kennedy hadn't been killed?", but it is so much more than that.


King dives right in and in the first few clicks (it's an ebook), you’re back on Sept. 9, 1958. It’s 11:58 a.m. There are only two conditions to traveling back in time. One, it’s not a one-way trip. It doesn’t have to be. But when you return, no matter how long you’ve stayed in the past — two days, five years, whatever — only two minutes have gone by in the present. Two, each time you go back to the past, there is a reset,  it’s 11:58 a.m., and everything you did on your previous trip has been erased. Also, you continue to age.


Living in the past, even the recent past, is not so easy but if you know your history and play it smart, you can fit in. It becomes very clear that King has studied his history and truly pondered how a man from the present  could live in the past, 20 years before his birth. This is fascinating and King's attention to detail is thought provoking, paradigm shifting and fun - he worked on this novel for almost 30 years. However, at its core (at least for me), 11/22/63 - is a true, old fashioned love story. 


Just as King has us rooting for true love, he reminds us that he is a horror writer and in keeping with his recent books - Under the Dome; Full Dark, No Stars - the horror does not come from the sewers or dark creatures, it's humans and it's brutal. King doesn't hold back and I found myself thinking he could teach the SAW writers how it's really done. By the time we get King's answer to Kennedy living, it's almost insignificant. 


11/22/63 is a great read and while King does revisit some past novels and characters, the casual King reader won't notice. At 878 pages, it's about average length for a King book and we get to know and care about the characters at a depth never approached by The Hunger Games, which I read after this novel. Not really fair to The Hunger Games.

9 comments:

  1. admittedly i did not read your review bc I want to read the book. Not even a King fan here, but I am a Kennedy baby (well, not his..........I don't think).

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  2. Wow Sean you share the same BD as my brother, and I never heard that expression before (Kennedy Baby) so now I have a new name to call him. Max

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  3. Ha! When you posted on my blog back in November, you said you were going to start reading it. Of course, you had a whole bunch of other crap go on in your life since then, but I'm guessing it did not take 6 months to read it?

    I'm about to crack that new Dark Tower novel that came out this week. Looking forward to another trip to Mid-World.

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  4. David - I didn't get to read it until Feb. Unfortunately, ever since grad school (way back when) I have been a much slower reader. My eyesight doesn't help either.

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  5. Max - Kennedy baby is like the baby booms 9 mths after storms and blackouts. My parents were still newly weds, but statistically I'm a Kennedy baby and the last of the Baby Boomer generation.

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  6. I read it and didn't like it as much as you.
    As usual, I felt it was bloated with too many details, and found whole sections of the book to be a waste; they could have been pared down to a paragraph [ie: the prizefight seemed a waste].
    I loved the whole time travel aspect, and the man without a home aspect. And the love story aspect. I just wish King would edit.
    I really feel you could skip every other page and you'd have a very satisfying 400 page book.

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  7. I am currently reading this now, a few pages each night in bed. Right now, he's gone back to the 50's and has just made a deposit into a bank and gotten his checking account initiated. This novel is going to take me all Summer at the rate I'm going, but I am finding it fascinating - and I don't even like King. It's massive as well. I can see why it's being made into a film now by the director of 'Silence of the Lambs', Jonathan Demme. I hope to finish it before it comes out...on dvd! - Montana Cowboy

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  8. Love this book and looking forward to the next one, a new Dark Tower installment.

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