Thursday, March 23, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

I'm excited that I have finally finished my first Stephen King book (speed reading my sister's copy of Carrie when we were both teenagers doesn't count).

Anyway, I'm not a big fan of horror so I have generally stayed away from Mr. King's work previously.

However the premise of 11/22/63 fascinated me (someone goes back in time to try and stop the John F. Kennedy assassination) and even though I was a bit daunted by the size of the book I put it on my amazon wish list around Christmas time and was happy when it arrived.

11/22/63 is about a lot more than just time travel, but as a time travel novel it succeeds quite extraordinarily.

But 11/22/63 also succeeds as a love story, a thriller and as social commentary (about the 1950s and 1960s in America). I appreciated the fact that the protagonist gets sent back to 1958 and although there is a lot he likes, he also notices that for people who are not cis heterosexual white males like him, life in the 1950s was not so great (racism, antisemitism, homophobia, antediluvian attitudes about contraception and sexual activity are all brought up during the course of the novel). Maybe since a lot of the story takes place as the main character works as a teacher and I'm a teacher it strongly appealed to me, but I don't think so. I think this book has a pretty universal appeal.

It's definitely a bit slower than it needs to be but it also succeeds on its own terms and it totally deserves its excellent ratings by oodles and oodles of people on Goodreads. If someone understands the ending could they please explain it to me, especially the stuff about the various (Yellow, Red, Green and Ochre) card-carrying guys at the time portal. Even without that, I am glad that I read the book. I'm aware that Hulu has made a series based on the book starring James Franco but I don't feel like I need to see another version of the book.

This was the first Stephen King book I had read but is certainly not be my last! I don't think I'm going to run out and read The Dark Tower stuff (which is supposed to be a tale of epic fantasy). I have already read the Bill Hodges trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch), which I enjoyed tremendously since it is in the mystery-thriller genre. I look forward to reading books by Mr. King in some of my other favorite genres.

Title: 11/22/63.
Stephen King.
Paperback: 880 pages.
 Gallery Books.
Date Published: July 24, 2012.
Date Read: July 2, 2015.

GOODREADS RATING: **** (4.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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