Al discovers a portal to the past in the storage room of his diner and decides he can use it for the greater good if he stops the assassination of President Kennedy, since he thinks that’s a pivotal point in American history. When Al becomes too ill to complete the task he has set for himself, he enlists one of his loyal customers, Jake Epping, to do it for him.
When my book club selected 11/22/63, by Stephen King, I inwardly groaned. Did they really expect me to read a 800 something page book by Stephen King? In the spirit of book clubs, I decided I would give it a try and was thrilled when I won a copy of the audio since I had a couple of road trips planned.
Imagine my surprise when I was hooked on this book from the very first word. I’ve avoided Stephen King’s work all these years because I don’t like horror, only to discover that this man can tell a story like no other. I was invested in this story right from the start and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. I found myself thinking about the story a lot and, quite often, wanted to get in my car and drive around just to listen to more. Yes, the book is long, but it didn’t feel that way at all.
The story is told from Jake’s point of view and I thought he was a fabulous character. Part of what makes him so endearing is that he realizes he’s not perfect and readily admits his faults. He’s earnest and kind, and really hopes to help humanity. It was fun to experience the 1950s and 60s through the eyes of a contemporary.
King pays great attention detail – in the hands of another author that probably would have driven me to distraction, but I found myself relishing the details and hanging on every word. King’s research was excellent so I learned a few things and found myself googling some of the details to find out more.
At the heart of 11/22/63 is a very sweet love story. It’s also a pleasant look at our past. Things didn’t end the way that I anticipated, but that’s okay, the ending worked for me. My book club didn’t find a lot to discuss with the book since everyone loved it.
The audio version of the book is read by Craig Wasson and he does an outstanding job. For me, he was the voice of Jake – I can’t imagine anyone else reading it as well. The book is on 30 CDs and takes over 30 hours to listen to. There is an afterward by Stephen King at the end of the last CD that is well worth listening to as well.
Challenges: What’s in a Name 5