Author: Stephen King
No. of pages: 740
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, Historical fiction
Publication date: November 8th 2011
Date read: November 25th 2017
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.
To be honest: this book wasn’t exactly high on my King TBR. I’m not really that interested in the presidential history of the US, and it didn’t really sound like a King story to me. Boy, how I was wrong!! I heard so many people say that 11.22.63 is one of their all time favourite books and after reading it, I totally understand that. This. Book. Was. Genius.
I absolutely loved the main characters – the way I can only love King characters. None of his characters stay flat, even the ones who only appear for a second. They all seemed so real and because of that I really didn’t want to finish this book. Reading this book took me about a month, but that was mainly because it was part of a read along, hosted by the amazing Johann (@jobis89 on insta). I’ve spent so much time with Jake, Sadie, Deke and the Oswalds, that they really seemed part of my own world. Like it really went that way in real-life history. I believed in it. Finishing this book felt like losing a friend.
Where I normally don’t think a love story adds something to a story where love isn’t the main theme, the love story in 11.22.63 just seemed so natural to me. It happened and it felt just right. I loved reading about it and caught myself think often “just dump the JFK mission already, and give me all the love”. But of course the love part was essential to the JFK part and the other way around as well. (Since I don’t want to spoil anything huge, I’m not going to give the names of the couple).
I know I’m a very nostalgic person when it comes to my childhood, but in a way I’m also nostalgic for a time I wasn’t even born. 11.22.63 is a great example for this. Because of Jake’s narration, I felt like I knew what life back in the late 50’s and early 60’s was like. Rootbeer sounds so refreshing and although it seems like my phone is glued to my hands, I think it would be lovely to go on a holiday to the past and just try an internet detox.
As you may notice, I think King did such a great job with 11.22.63. The structure of the story was perfect and everything just fitted and flowed. On the one hand I wanted to read and read and read, but on the other hand I wanted to treasure the story and its characters and take it slow. Mostly, I just wanted this story to never end!!