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11/22/63
11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
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 Un...  more », 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.

A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best. 
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ISBN-13: 9781451627282
ISBN-10: 1451627289
Publication Date: 11/8/2011
Pages: 849
Rating:
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 261

4.3 stars, based on 261 ratings
Publisher: Scribner
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Audio CD
Members Wishing: 194
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed 11/22/63 on + 291 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This is one thick book, coming in just shy of 850 pages, and I won't lie, it's not my favorite work by Stephen King but an enjoyable read nonetheless. The story is about Jake Epping, a single schoolteacher who finds a portal to 1958 in the back of a diner and sets out on a mission to save John F. Kennedy's life on November 22, 1963. There's a love story running right through the center of the story, and this I think is one of the only faults in the book, because the love story part runs a bit on the long side and bogs the main tension line down. The ending is somewhat unexpected and bittersweet--what is with Mr. King writing tearjerkers of late? On the whole, a good book with some surprises, good, bad, and ugly.
reviewed 11/22/63 on + 568 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I had kind of given up on Stephen King - I believe the last novel of his I tried to read was "Lisey's Story" a few years ago which I couldn't finish. I loved all of his earlier works including "Salem's Lot," "Carrie," "The Shining," "The Stand," and on and on, but some of his later stuff just didn't do it for me. But when I first heard about "11/22/63" and its premise of going back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination, I had to read it! I got a copy as a Christmas gift and I was not disappointed. This has to be one of King's best books since "The Stand" - I loved every word of it (and that's a lot of words - almost 850 pages worth)! I was 13 in 1963 when Kennedy was killed and I actually remember thinking at the time that it would be nice to go back and prevent the killing - it really was like a bad dream. King's book uses this idea and the resulting novel is all that you could ask for in a time travel story. Some of it was reminiscent of the "Back to the Future" movies including using known sporting events results as a betting tool to make money. It also reminded me a little of "It's a Wonderful Life" and how changes can effect other events and people's lives. Along the way in this novel, King takes us back to Derry, Maine and the events of his novel "It". He then provides a myriad of information about Lee Oswald and his wife Marina, and the events leading to 11/22/63. The novel also includes a great love story and the ending I thought was near perfect. This is the first book I have read in 2012 and I doubt I will read a better one this year - very high recommendation!
reviewed 11/22/63 on + 328 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
It was better than I expected. Main character Jake/George was well written. Book was way too long could have cut 25% and not missed much. Worse thing was I had a pretty good idea how it was going to end. Last chapter was charming though. Read Stepehn King's afterward at end of book it was very interesting.
reviewed 11/22/63 on + 1434 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
First Line: I have never been what you'd call a crying man.

That's what high school English teacher Jake Epping will tell you, if you were to ask. But while grading essays, he's blown away by what GED student and janitor Harry Dunning has written. Somehow, some way, fifty years ago Harry survived his father's sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is still thinking how life can turn on a dime when he learns of an even more bizarre secret: Al, owner of the local diner and Jake's friend, wants Jake to take over his obsession. Many years ago Al discovered a time portal in the diner's storeroom, and he's been trying ever since to prevent the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Jake allows himself to be persuaded, and when he steps through the portal, he finds himself in the era of Elvis, cheap gasoline, and almost universal cigarette smoking. Jake has plenty of time to start a new life in small town Texas, but each day draws him nearer to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. Will he be able to accomplish what Al tried and failed to do? And if he does stop the assassination of the president, what sort of consequences will there be?

I have to admit that I held off reading this book for a long time. I was in third grade when JFK was assassinated. Yes, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news. For reasons that don't need to go into a book review, this event hit my mother and I hard, and I was reluctant to rip the Band-aid off that particular wound, even if it had healed long ago.

I should not have worried, and I should not have waited. This book has very little to do with JFK and everything to do with Jake Epping. Stephen King's main character takes us all on a nostalgic yet honest journey through America during the end of the Eisenhower administration. Everything is brought to life in vivid and loving detail. I enjoyed reliving the era of my childhood, but as I read, I found myself thinking more about recent American history, its might-have-beens... and about love.

Few writers can immerse me in their fictional worlds so completely as does Stephen King. No matter how strange, King creates characters and backdrops that are familiar and that I can trust-- which is a very good thing because I need someone/something trustworthy at my back while I'm reading to figure out how to escape his weirdness!

If you've been postponing reading this book for the same reasons I did, you can stop. When you read 11-22-63, you're going to read a lot more about love than you will about bullets and lone gunmen.
reviewed 11/22/63 on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I am a huge fan of Stephen King. When I saw this, I had to read it. I know that JFK's assassination tends to be a serious and controversial subject, so I hoped that the book would be worth the read. It definitely was.

The book is a bit weird, and really getting into it takes a bit of time. Keep with it, I promise it's worth it. The main character is told about a "rabbit hole" and goes through to change history and the course of the world.

Within the first thirty pages of the book, you're pulled in and can't quit reading. I think I read over 100 pages the first time I sat down and opened the book. After that initial reading time, things got slow. I am a mother of two and generally read before bed. For a while, I had no problems turning off the light and going to sleep. Once the book picked back up, I would have to force myself to shut of the light around 4am, knowing that we had to be up by 6. Its definitely worth it, just keep going through the slow parts.
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reviewed 11/22/63 on + 180 more book reviews
Schoolteacher Jake Epping is about to learn to most stunning secret ever. After being summoned to Al Diner he is told of a portal aka the rabbit hole that will take him back to 1958. Als lifetime obsession is to prevent that assassination of John F. Kennedy and he has compiled a book full of Lee Harvey Oswalds movements up but he is missing the keydid he act alone or not. Now cancer has taken the opportunity for Al to find out and he must confide in one man who is young enough, smart enough and doesnt have many ties to go back thru the portal and hang around until 1963 to find out and possibly stop Oswald from committing the assassination. Als time is short and he needs Jake to believe him so he sends him thru to test the waters. Jake does have one thing he would like to change about what happened to one of his adult students, coincidentally, in 1958, and decides to test the rabbit hole. Even after somewhat successfully achieving his goal and coming back, Jake is hesitant but Al does something to force his hand and Jake has no choice but to head back under his fake identity that Al created for him, George.

Having to wait around until 1963, Jake/George starts to become bored and wants to teach again and begins to form attachments to some very interesting characters all of which he was warned not to do. Each new character ends up playing an intricate part in what he came to do. 11/22/63 wouldnt be the novel it is without all the trials that Jake/George endures during his time in the past. The reader becomes deeply invested and wish for a happy outcome even though fate has another idea on what is to become of those that meddle with the future. History does not like change and even though Al warned Jake/George about this, it still takes all of us by surprise.

I loved every page of this 842 page novel. King had me quickly flipping pages to find out what happens next and then he left me raw and broken at the end. The time travel aspect is real basic. The portal takes the person to the same day every time and each time you enter it will reset all that was changed that last time someone went through. Though you may be gone for months or years, in your future time you are only gone 2 minutes. The blending of fact and fiction is one of Kings strengths and it is showcased brilliantly in this remarkable read. If you enjoyed Under to Dome you will love what King has in store for you in 11/22/63.
reviewed 11/22/63 on + 91 more book reviews
SciFi/ Historical Fiction. * * *. An aging Diner owner entrusts to a middle aged teacher the secret of a time portal located in his Diner in the hopes that the teacher may finish a job the aging owner was too sick to finish himself: travel back in time and stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At least thats what the book jacket says. That summary is really the backstory; the motivation, if you will, that propels that protagonist's actions.

Jake Epping establishes a second life in the past as he awaits the day he must act. As time passes, critical decisions must be made; decisons that, ironically, were unforeseen; such as, HIS future in the past. The book really asks: Can you live in the past when you know what the future holds?

The book could have been about two hundred pages shorter. Jake takes an initial jaunt as "practice" that really don't affect the rest of the story, if only to establish how the hidden time portal works.

Without divulging whether or not Jake succeeds in his mission, I will say that King's use of time teleportation and its butterfly effects add realism to the conclusion.
reviewed 11/22/63 on + 2 more book reviews
I LOVED this book!! I'm not even a "die hard" Stephen King person. I have absolute respect for him as a successful author - no doubt - I just don't get everything that he does. I've enjoyed some of his work though, I even made it through "Under The Dome", which I thought was okay. It was good enough to get me through all 1,088 pages but I wasn't super excited about it.

I loved 11/22/63 though. It really makes you wonder what life would be like if one thing had or hadn't happened. There are so many of those "watershed moments" in all of our lives, some affect a smaller circle of us, some affect the entire nation and spread to the rest of the world like the assassination of John F. Kennedy and 9/11. We immediately think if only those things didn't happen, life would be great, but would it? What would you do if you had the power to change fate? Would it really make things better or worse if things didn't follow the way they are meant to be?

This is really a GREAT book for a book club. You can really get into some wonderful, deep discussions. Books that get you thinking and talking afterwards. Love that!!

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