By Stephen King
A Little Background Info about the assassination
I’ll admit, I had heard about the JFK assassination but never really knew the circumstances surrounding this historic event or the aftermath of JFK’s death. I had never heard of the name Lee Harvey Oswald until I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I think that a little research about the events that unfolded after the assassination will help you understand the book a bit better .Although to be honest, Stephen King wrote 11/22/63 in such a way that anyone can enjoy the book even without knowledge of the event. King had carried out extensive research and explains everything quite well especially in the afterword.
“Almost half a century has passed since John Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, but two questions
linger: Was Lee Oswald really the trigger-man, and if so, did he act alone? Nothing I’ve written in
11/22/63 will provide answers to those questions, because time-travel is just an interesting makebelieve.
But if you, like me, are curious about why those questions still remain, I think I can give you
a satisfactory two-word response: Karen Carlin.” Stephen King-11/22/63
Lee Oswald at a press briefing after the assasination
If like me you are curious to know more about Oswald and the motive behind his actions, check out his wikipedia page; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Harvey_Oswald
It is said that the world changed when JKF died. I ‘Google-ed’ these ‘changes’ and found and an article that listed the below as some of the ways that the world changed after the assassination:
i. TV surpassed newspapers; apparently the assassination received the longest TV coverage unlike any other news event/news that had taken place before it. The article further states that, no other event received such a long news coverage on TV until 9/11
ii. The death of JFK also marked the beginning of the conspiracy era with so many conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination
iii. It offset a permanent distrust of the federal government
iv. A full on military engagement in Vietnam
Read the whole article here: http://mic.com/articles/74069/5-ways-jfk-s-assassination-changed-america-forever
Okay so with that background info , here is a review of the book(no spoilers).
Stephen King attempts to address the question,’ What would have happened if JFK had not been killed?”
I’ll admit, wasn’t too keen on t reading the book especially because i assumed that the ending would be obvious. However, i had to read it because my book club was reviewing it and it had some really good online reviews.Well, I am definitely glad that i did.
The main character in 11/22/63 is Jake Epping. In 2011, Epping is a divorced, high school teacher leading a normal life until his friend Al, dying of cancer lets him in on a secret that he can travel back into time. If you are like me and not a fan of science fiction, worry not because King does not dwell so much on the actual process of the time travel. Epping finds out that not only can he travel back but Al has also been attempting to go back into the past and change the course of history by stopping the assassination of JFK.
After being convinced by Al to take on the mission, Jeff Epping goes back to the past and takes on the identity George Amberson. We see him make several attempts to change different aspects of the past before setting on the main mission which was to stop the assassination.
The book has an easy flow and is easy to follow even if you have limited knowledge of American History. There were many nostalgic moments as he goes back to the 50s when life seems to have been easier and definitely cheaper. I was amused by the part where Epping is having a conversation with someone from the 1950’S explaining that in 2011, America will have a Black President. The shock and disbelief and the way King expressed it is quite funny. Stephen King also does great work with character development in 11/22/63. Jake Epping is very easy to relate with. His fears, expectations, courage and relationship with Sadie are all too real. Sadie Dunhill is another likeable character that I found quite easy to emphasize with, from her terrible marriage to falling in love with Amberson and then the tragedy that follows, Stephen King did very well is coming up with such a strong female character. Other characters that I liked include Miz Mimi and Deke Simmons.
One thing I didn’t like though was the fact that the event that Epping set out to change took place in 1963, but he still went back years before the event. This dragged out the book and some chapters were hard to read because the story became too slow. Although it is perhaps understandable that King does this because Epping had to try and change the other events and complete other missions before taking on the major one. I also didn’t like the amount of attention that was given to spying on the Oswald’s. At some point, it became too much that I lost focus on the plot.
Stephen King still finds a way to keep readers turning the pages as you try to find out how it all ends. At one point, i was even tempted to skip to the end and find out whether Amberson was successful in stopping the assasination, however, I stuck with the story all the way to the end.
I loved the ending of the book (no spoilers). I think at some point in life we all tend to wonder about would happen if we can go back into the past and change something especially our past mistakes. Read 11/22/63 and find out what the main character, Jake Epping/ George Amberson discovered about changing history.