11/22/63 – Stephen King
Having never read a Stephen King book, it was with some trepidation I began reading 11/22/63 for my bookclub. I was surprised that I ended up enjoyed the book. It is not the usual King “Horror,” but about a time traveler and a real historical event. The event is the watershed moment, November 22, 1963, the day President John Kennedy was assassinated. It is a lengthy book, something I have heard repeatedly about King’s writing, but not a badly written story at all. The book focuses on time traveling teacher Jake Epping and his journey as he attempts to change the obdurate past. It weaves in the historical figures Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, with the fictional people Jake meets along the way. The more outrageous time travel element is about the only discernible supernatural or paranormal device more expected of King, but at it’s core remains a character book and a book about choices. The story about a regular man, an extraordinary opportunity, and the consequences for himself and those around him of taking or not taking that opportunity. And as historical fiction, and being a history lover myself, the notion of a journey to the past, and the implications of altering the past, or the butterfly effect, did intrigue me despite my being unfamiliar with King’s writing. Engaging storytelling, and an interesting premise, helped me navigate King’s lengthy writing style. Overall, I found it an enjoyable read, good for King fans as well as King newcomers.