Published by Simon & Schuster on November 8, 2011
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King's heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination, a thousand-page tour de force.Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment a real life moment when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.
Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning's father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.
Not much later, Jake's friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane and insanely possible mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake's new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
What I Thought…
My first book of 2012 is finally finished! And what an awesome book it was. This is my second King book and I will say there will probably be more in my future. King’s descriptions of the 60’s were phenomenal. He gave you the good (10 cent drinks, overall friendliness, safety of the times) and the bad (racism, sexism) to create an overall picture of the time period that made you feel like you were there.
I love the question that this book poses: If you could change the past would you? and What would happen if you did? In Jake’s very first experience through the portal he experiences how the past does not want to be changed, thwarting him often, making it hard for him to complete his “test run”. After he comes back to the present from his “test run” he sees that sometimes the future doesn’t quite work out the way he planned. But nonetheless he went back to continue on his mission of preventing the JFK assassination.
I also enjoyed the love story. It did not overwhelm the book, but added a nice touch that helped to understand more of Jake’s motivations and actions in the past and the present.
Even though this book has a science fiction element (time travel) it felt more like historical fiction. Despite the books size it was a pretty fast read. There was a lot of stuff happening and King kept you wanting more.