Quite possibly King's most unique work. The amount of detail that went into the creation of this novel is staggering. 11/22/63 is another perfect example of Stephen King's masterful character work.
"11/22/63" takes place in present-day Lisbon Falls, ME. It is here where King introduces us to teacher Jake Epping. One day, Jake asks his students to write an essay about a day that changed their life. One of his students named Harry Dunning writes an essay where he describes how his drunk father murdered his mother and siblings. Jake is moved by the story (this plays a major role later in the story). "11/22/63" then cuts 2 years later when Jake meets a man named Al who owns a local diner. Jake and Al get to talking, and Al asks Jake if he wants to meet him the next day as Al claims he has something to show him. Jake agrees.
Jake returns to the diner where he is shocked to see an aged Al who claims he has just traveled back in time to 1958. Al shows Jake a time machine and shows him how it works. He then shows Jake his intricate plan to stop the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. Al reasons that he can't do the mission himself because he has contracted a serious lung disease. Jake agrees to stop the assassination and enters the portal back into 1958 where he has 5 years to prepare for the upcoming assassination. It is there where Jake meets the love of his life Sadie. What follows is an unforgettable journey with memorable characters that will leave you speechless.
There are many things that make "11/22/63" a great read, but one reason stands out from the rest. The characters. I kid you not when I say that Stephen King makes Jake Epping feel like a real person. The book is written in the first person so you feel like you are experiencing events as they happen. This allows you to become in tune with Jake's thoughts and opinions. This aspect proves crucial when Jake meets Sadie. For example, here are a few quotes that demonstrate Jake's views about love at first sight.
“On the subject of love at first sight, I’m with the Beatles: I believe that it happens all the time.”
“But I believe in love, you know; love is a uniquely portable magic. I don’t think it’s in the stars, but I do believe that blood calls to blood and mind calls to mind and heart to heart.”
Another aspect that makes 11/22/63 great is the amount of historical research done prior to the publication of the novel. It is clear from the beginning that Stephen King put hundreds of hours into knowing every single detail of the 1950s-1960s. The story of Lee Harvey Oswald is told with outstanding accuracy and attention to detail. King also details major events that were taking place in the 1950s-1960s. Furthermore, King touches on the consequential aspects that time travel could have. Illustrating to the reader the detrimental effects that changing the past could have on the future. A TV adaptation has also recently been released and I have yet to watch it.
I could not recommend this book more. I know that people have presumptions about all of Stephen King's books being scary. This is just not true. "11/22/63" is far from a horror novel and aligns more with the Sci-Fi genre. If you've never read King, or you were hesitant to start, I recommend you start with "11/22/63". It will introduce you to Stephen King's outstanding character work, and his ability to immerse readers with immense detail. So, please give it a shot, it won't leave you disappointed.
11/22/63 By Stephen King