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This review is from: 11/22/63: A Novel (Hardcover)
For a long time I've wondered if Stephen King would ever come out with a book again that rivaled those years when he had hit after hit and each book was better than the last. He has achieved that and more with 11/22/63.
The main character is Jake Epping, a thirty-something english teacher, who innocently becomes caught up in a time bubble that allows him to travel from 2011 back to 1958 and back again, each trip, no longer how long he stays in 1958 causes only 2 minutes to go by in 2011. When his friend Al, the local diner owner shows him this, he can't believe it and they start to wonder if they can go back to change some things and right some wrongs. Jake wants to see if the janitor who is taking his night class could be healed from a life long injury brought on by an abusive father who kills his entire family. He also goes back to see if he can save a young woman who is wheel chair bound after she is hit with a bullet in a hunting accident. Things seem to be going well, and he starts to spend more and more time in 1958 where he takes on the name George Amberson. As George, he teaches school, falls in love with the young librarian and gets enmeshed in the world of 1958, long before he was born. As he and Al talk he finds that Al's one last wish is that he try to get to 1963 and prevent the Kennedy assasination. This becomes his focus on the last half of the book, tracking Oswald and his family and trying to figure out how and when he will take the would-be assasin out so that Kennedy can be saved. But what is the cost?
The last quarter of the book is very fast paced and it was difficult to put it down. You aren't sure which case you will end up with, a John Kennedy who lives and what that would mean to 2011 or a John Kennedy that dies, and if that is the case, why would that be the outcome that we would want? If he changes the past, will he end up with Sadie, the lovely librarian, or not?
As many who read King know, he sometimes can write a long book that you love until the ending comes and you feel like "damn, he got me again", a great book with an ending that did not satisfy. This book was not like that in the least. The ending was fitting, made sense and was extremely satisfying on every level.
I would have to say this has been one of the best books I have read in a while and I'm happy to say has that same old vintage King feel that I so loved in the past.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this as a great read for those that love King's earlier works, those who love the time travel element or just want a book that is both unique and satisfying.