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Showing 1-10 of 9,149 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 11,371 reviews
VINE VOICEon November 15, 2011
"11/22/63", Stephen King's latest, might just be his greatest. Seriously. At least as far as "mainstream" fiction or "literature" goes. Yes, it is built around a well-used SF trope, time travel, but really, the portal to the past that Jake Epping is shown in the back of an aluminum diner is only the launch mechanism for this fantastic journey. There are no monsters here, at least none that aren't human, and little or no horror in the supernatural sense that King's constant readers have come to know, love and expect. Even SK's other "straight" fiction, "Misery", "Dolores Claiborne" and "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" come to mind, had elements of the supernatural and/or flat-out horror. Not this time.

But that doesn't mean that 11/22/63 is boring. Quite the contrary. Although it might seem that it would be tough to build suspense around a conclusion that seems to be inevitable, this turns out not to be the case. Big time. I just finished playing hooky from work for a day when I read the last 400 pages non-stop (except for a couple of bathroom breaks), because I just couldn't stop. I just kept pressing the advance button on my Kindle.

The adjective that first comes to mind in describing 11/22/63 among SK's oeuvre is, oddly enough, "mature". I have read every novel and anthology that King has published, plus a large number of single short stories, starting with "Carrie" in a borrowed paperback back in the late 1970s. I have never before thought of describing his work in any of them, many good, some great and a few clunkers (some of which I have reviewed as such), as mature. But that is the first, best word that comes to mind in describing 11/22/63. There were others too; exciting, romantic, bittersweet and, as with all SK's stuff, well-written.

Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination were obviously very well-researched, clear from the details in the text even before one gets to the afterword that describes some of the sources and methods used. The lead-up to the day of the assassination is described in great detail, along with Oswald's relationship to his family and associates, all matters of historical record (at least according to the sources cited by SK, with which most of the readers who did not like the novel disagreed emphatically). But I should point out that the facts concerning the Kennedy assassination are actually not the main focus of the novel.

The world of 1958-1963 is described in wonderful detail, through the eyes of Jake as he gradually sheds his early 21st century armored shell and falls in love with a small Texas town and Sadie, its new young librarian. Their love story is the centerpiece of the novel and is told with great depth, sensitivity and believability. I'm old enough to have experienced lots of the stuff that Jake encounters in 1958 (albeit as a child) and it jives with and jogs my recollections and induces a feeling of longing for older, simpler times. For King''s "Constant Readers", there are easter egg cameos from "It" and "The Langoliers" that I recognized. Knowing SK, there may well be others.

The ending is not predictable (if you say you saw it all coming you are either lying or should be a best-selling novelist) and is surprisingly satisfying. To those who say King doesn't know how to end his novels, I say, read this one.

Very Highly Recommended for all (even those who think they know but don't "like" Stephen King).

J.M. Tepper
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on May 10, 2017
Some might buy the book looking for an alternative story about Kennedy assassination. Even though this is what the main character aims at the whole time, the focus of the novel is on the aspects related to time travel. Many suspenseful events of the story are about the life of Jake Epping in the 60s. Also, the author sought to bring Lee Oswald nearer to the reader, making him more of a human being than that character we all imagine only awaiting for the Kennedy convoy to blow up his head.

Nice reading, I recommend for those interested in time travel plots, as well for those interested in some descriptions of the 60s Southern US life.
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on June 1, 2017
Stephen King is, simply put, a master. He does what he does, and he does it so well. I am woefully under read when it comes to his bibliography, but I am aware that he doesn't always nail it. But man, I think he nailed it here. Having not read King since finishing the Dark Tower, I was all too ready to fall back into one of his tales.

11/22/63 is a novel about a time-traveler named Jake Epping who attempts to travel back and stop the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I think that if you've heard of the book, and have even an inkling of an idea what it's about, you know that it's about that (so I don't feel like I'm spoiling anything there). Now, as big of an undertaking as that is, imagine you had to do it while the obdurate past was against you. Constantly pushing back against any unwelcome changes to its linear history. That is what Jake must face. And along the way he meets a plethora of diverse and dynamic characters, visits many interesting cities and towns in Maine, Florida, Texas, and even falls in love. I was touched enough by the ending to shed a tear, and that typically leads to a five-star rating from me.

I imagine that I'll be thinking back on this story for some time to come. The past harmonizes after all.
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on June 7, 2017
Jun 07, 2017
Susan Watters Mumford rated it
it was amazing

I took my time reading this book because I wanted to pay attention! I was in utero when JFK was assassinated. For me, there is no "I remember exactly where I was" when he was shot moment. As usual, Stephen King does a bang up job of bringing you up close and personal to the action. Granted, this is a time-travel tale in which he took certain liberties with history, but he did keep it as close to reality as possible.

I was full on emotional at some points with tears rolling down my face, which honest to the Big Guy, really is no surprise while reading a King book. He doesn't do a whole lotta love, but the love angle was quite touching, Honey.

Jake Epping ~ George Amberson was an admirable hero. He just melded into the story like one of my big brothers. Easy to trust, like, talk to, maintained a cool-head. Smooth, Honey.

Loved Sadie. I am NOT tall, but I fall UP stairs. I am NOT graceful, but I trip over a SHADOW. I am NOT bizarre, but I believe in DREAMS, Honey!

I abhorred Lee Harvey Oswald. Really? Why would I? He is of no consequence to my life now, then, ever. But, I did. I hated that sniveling little bastard. Not for the reason the whole world hates him - for assassinating JFK. I hated him for laying hands upon his wife. I did not have one drop of sympathy for the fool.

Loved the book. Loved the story. Always love Mr. King's writing. Loved the ending, Honey. Glad you listened to Joe.
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on August 19, 2016
To echo other reviewers, it starts off strong and dives off the cliff in the middle. Stephen King's novel starts off strongly with the backstory and the early time travels, but once the main character arrives in Texas, the story quality starts sloping. I think he was looking for filler and hadn't originally intended on including the romance. The story is strongest when King focuses on Oswald and those chapters following up to November 22, 1963. It was also my impression that King maybe wanted to write more of a crime story (the scenes featuring the mob and crime figures had more stylistic zeal than the high school scenes). I'm still recommending it as a fun time travel story, but King has done much better.
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on April 18, 2017
Great book whether this is your first King read, or you've taken many a trip to the Tower (say thankee). Fans of the novel IT will see some familiar faces in Derry, and a Takuro Spirit to boot! Many King fans are calling this one of the greatest love stories King has told, and I am close to agreeing. That being said, a warning- if you read the book and love it, please know that the Hulu mini series starring James Franko is SO DISAPPOINTING. I would say its very loosely based on this novel... I was mad the entire time I watched. If you watched the mini series first, prepare for something much better and more in depth in this novel.
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on February 25, 2016
No, this isn't a book about surfing and yes, I did paraphrase the title from an old '60's song of the same name.

What this book is, however, is s compendium of wonderful America in the Sixties imagery that centers around a well-crafted love story and doing the right thing, even when doing so hurts.

I am not a horror story fan by any means, but as a teacher of American History I cannot help but be impressed by the wonderful descriptions of American life from a bygone era that are here. Every decade has warts, and the Sixties were no exception. However, King has crafted a novel that makes "fifty-something" people like me wish he were able to have experienced something as simple as a root-beer float sans preservatives or a small-town sock hop without the presence of drugs or the potential for deadly violence.

I was born in the early 1960's, and can barely remember Kennedy getting shot, but I started reading from the time I picked the book up after its delivery and l didn't put it down again until I finished it, except, of course, for my work schedule and meal breaks. The book is well over a thousand entertaining pages in length and is worth a good, careful read. The modern theme of time travel is the main thread that brings the novel together, but if you allow yourself to get immersed in such down-to-earth characters such as George Amberson/Jake Epping or Sadie Dunhill, you will soon discover that you can relate to them in a big way.

The book is not a historical novel written as a step-by-step account of the Kennedy Assassination. It is a work of fiction. The assassination serves as a continuing literary catalyst for George's/Jake's overall mission: to save the world by preventing Kennedy from getting shot. Does he do it? What might the global situation have been if JFK had survived 11-22-63? Find out for yourself, toward the end of a very enjoyable adventure.

Bottom line: Buy the book, it's surely worth it. If you happen to have lived during 1958-1963, buy the book and enjoy a thought-provoking time of reminiscence. If you are like me and are too young to have lived during the times described in the novel but enjoy a good suspense yarn steeped in actual historical events, get it and read it anyway. You may find yourself wishing you had been part of what America was like 50 years ago.

A post-script: the miniseries based on the book is currently airing on Hulu. I don't yet know how the miniseries will handle the ending of the book, but you'll like the way the book ends!
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on July 1, 2015
I really liked the story up until the portion where the main character starts seriously stalking Oswald. It almost seemed like two different books thrown together where the first part really had little bearing on the Kennedy part, except for what precipitated the search. I watched the Kennedy ordeal unfold on TV live, so I have a pretty good idea of what happened; perhaps that's what ruined the book for me. I actually found myself getting bored with the Oswald/Kennedy portion of the book and started skimming it. Another person with whom I had a discussion about this book had the same reaction.
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on October 10, 2013
I love Stephen King books, having read, probably about 75% of his works. I was looking forward to reading this one, based on the high user reviews, but it took me a couple years to get there. Now, this is a fine work, by a skillful and oh so talented writer, however, I found the novel to be bloated. Yes, S.K. can be wordy and that is to be expected, but this novel had too many parts that simply had no impact on the story.

This novel is NOT "The Stand" or "IT", and there are too many extra tangents and storylines that detract and take away from what the novel is. I don't understand why we need to learn about Jake's wife Kristy and her A.A. slogans - neither seemed relevant.

I sped through the last half, just to get it finished, and at times skipping/skimming pages (without losing anything important to the story). And after all this slogging, I found myself getting really irritated with all the fluff (fluff that I usually like). Usually, I like how he points out the interesting wording on signs, and misspells words, and other word play, but by the end of the novel, I didn't really want to read anymore. There was a little bit about how the sign at the drive in would be changing to some snappy slogan, when it closed for the fall, and I just wanted to shout ...ENOUGH...get on with the story.

There is a major flaw in the story. Instead of hanging around, and hosting fundraisers, and coaching a school play, going to dances, and town events - the main character George/Jake, could have just tracked down Oswald immediately, killed him, and then gone back to the present day and see the effect.

Other things. The whole time in Derry, meeting some characters from the novel "IT", talk and mention of evil places (Derry, Dallas) etc., seemed really irrelevant to the story line. He meets Bevie from the Levie and richie from the ditchie dancing on a lawn somewhere - really - and that was it, no relevance, nothing, just crap from other novels with nothing to do with this one. I think S.K. is prejudiced against pharmacists, as a simple trip to the pharmacy seems to result in negative interactions with the druggists.

And the romance aspect - simply terrible ending for such a promising romance. Sorry, Stephen King, if you are going to write a feel good ending - then it could have been done so much better, and really, there is no valid reason why Jake could not have gone back to 1958 and spent his life there quietly with Sadie - none- really, really!
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on February 8, 2016
A rip in the space time continuum.
Read first 80 pages while watching the Super Bowl.
Just love it.
Wish the super bowl was as good
Can't wait to finish
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