22.11.63 – Stephen King

I enjoy reading though I am not the kind of person who can sit down and read a book in a couple of hours or even in a day, it takes me some time. I went through a difficult time some years ago which made concentrating very difficult, I would pick up a book scan the first page and put it down. Thank goodness for audio books which I used for a couple of years until my interest in reading was rekindled, not as in Amazon kindle, though I do have one.

I have  recently been watching the new TV series based on a Stephen King book called 11.22.63, which was one of the books I listened to as an audio book. I love reading time travel books and before 11.22.63 I had never read a Stephen King book before as I prefer sci-fi and fantasy to horror but I was drawn by the subject matter and I have to say that I throughly enjoyed it.

Without giving too much away the book is basically about Jake Epping a school teacher, who with help of Al Templeton who is the owner of a diner, discovers  a rabbit hole in a cupboard of the diner, this rabbit hole always brings whoever travels through it to September 9, 1958, at 11:58 a.m. Al had been using it for years to buy meat that he sold in his diner and what I thought was funny was that he was selling the same meat in his burgers to his customers time and time again. There was a  serious side to Al’s trips into the past to try to stop the assassination of President John Kennedy (JFK). While in the past Al becomes ill, which Al believes it was time resisting change by giving him cancer. Due to his illness Al can no longer travel into the past and so he gives Jake a mission is establish who it was that assassinated JFK and also to see if Lee Harvey Oswald was capable of the assassination and if he was then to kill him before he could shoot JFK.

In the book Jake goes back to September 1958 on three occasions. He was told by Al that each time he returns to the present and then travels back to 1958 time is re-set. The first time Jake goes to 1958 to see what Al was talking about he encounters the yellow card man who recognises that Jake should not be there. In the book the yellow card man is the personification of time kicking back against Jake time travelling. You will see in the book who the character of the Yellow card man changes as Jake travels back on two more occasions. This is missed out in the TV series in which much more could have been said about the yellow/brown/black card man. the colour change is significant as it shows the reader that things are getting worse each time Jake travels back.

Jake second trip back was an experiment to see if he could change history. He kills an abusive parent of the janitor at the school he works. Being successful he goes back to 2011 but only two minutes had passed though a significant amount of time had passed in 1958. When Jake returns to 1958 to accomplish the mission gave to him by Al Templeton the past is re-set and he has to kill the abusive parent again.

There are major differences between the book and the TV series for example Bill Trucott does help Jake to kill the abusive father, Frank Dunning and Bill is recognised as the hero that saved nearly all the family, but in the novel he doesn’t become Jake’s’ side kick in spying on Lee Harvey Oswald. Jake makes a life for himself for five years, calling himself George Amberson.  He takes a job Lisbon Falls High School, Maine,  as a school teacher. He falls in love with troubled Sadie Dunhill who was a school librarian, she becomes a good reason for him to stay in the past but once he accomplishes his mission one way or the other does he stay in the past? You will need to either read the book or watch the TV series. If I was you I would read the book.

The book touches on many issues, abusive fathers, abusive ex husband. It touches on racism in the 1950’s and 1960’s, spying and communism and also on murder and the conspiracy around the assassination of JFK. It is full of intrigue, twists and turns throughout. This is not a book you could read in a few hours even for a fast reader. It is an excellent story that keeps you want to know more and when you get to the end of the book you will wish it could go on. I guarantee that you will be surprised by the way it ends, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

If you are watching the TV series and like it then read the book. If you have watched the TV series and hate it then read the book. If you have never seen the TV series then read the book.

If you want to know more about the book then click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11/22/63

 

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