11/22/63 by Stephen King – Book 18

Happy birthday, Stephen King!

In honor of Stephen King’s birthday today, I decided to join in the mayhem of Stephen King Week over at Insatiable Booksluts (yes, that’s the name of a book blog!) and read a King book.  I’ve always been a big King fan, having read a good chunk of his books, and will continue to do so.


Stephen King @ Florida State University via Love at First Book

My camera was awful way back then, but you can tell it’s Stephen King at FSU!

I was even lucky enough to meet Stephen King when he covered for a colleague of his a few years ago who was supposed to speak at Florida State University.  My friends and I arrived 3 hours early (and STILL were not first in line), heard him read a short story (which I taped most of on my camera), and were lucky enough to be able to receive autographs in our own King books (sitting on my shelf and will NEVER EVER be loaned out).  I was even brave enough to ask him (probably sounding like an idiot) if I could shake his hand, and was pretty excited when he agreed!

Enough of my own nerdiness, on to the book!  For my Happy Birthday Stephen King book choice, I chose a book based on MY birthday (“11/22/63” but I’m totally in the 80’s, not 63!).

I read “11/22/63” by Stephen King, and have to say that it was a phenomenal read.  Jake Epping is an English teacher who is introduced to a time traveling “rabbit hole” in the back of one of his favorite burger joints run by dying Al Templeton.  Figuring out that he was able to go back in time and actually prevent events from occurring, Al became obsessed with the idea of preventing the JFK assassination, which he believed would also prevent a string of events from occurring (such as the MLK assassination).  Since Al was dying of cancer, and Jake was a younger, divorced with no children, unattached teacher, Jake was the perfect person to step in and prevent this tragedy from occurring.

Jake goes back to 1958, and begins to change history, all the time worried about the butterfly effect (like the Ashton Kutcher movie, where changing one teensy thing can cause insurmountable changes and catastrophes).

During his time in the past, he teaches English, makes friends, finds the love of his life, all while stalking Lee Harvey Oswald and his family.

Will Jake be able to prevent the Kennedy assassination?

I enjoyed this book for MANY reasons!  Jake is a quick thinker and very likable.  There’s a little “Back to the Future” Biff theme, with Jake being able to earn some money by making sports bets based on outcomes he already knows, although Jake gets himself into some very hot water with those bets!

I think one of the most thrilling parts of this story was the fact that in our world, JFK actually WAS assassinated.  So how could this book possibly end differently?  King kept me hooked until the end based on that question.

For those of you who stay away from King because you “don’t read horror or even watch it on TV,” yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it before.  If you know me, I can’t stand horror (gory) movies, but I love psychological thrillers.  And if you say that, you’re totally missing out.  Yes, King does “horror” but much of the horror is psychological, which to me is scarier than any alien or monster or vampire (although I did enjoy “Salem’s Lot“).

“11/22/63” would be a great introduction to King if you’re not a horror fan.  It’s not a scary novel, just very suspenseful.  As a warning, it’s a long book, but well worth it!  I’m not the biggest history buff, but there was enough background so that I didn’t get lost with the history aspect.

You would enjoy this book if you like reading suspenseful novels and/or if you enjoy history.

If you could go back in time to prevent an event from occurring, what event would you stop?



17 thoughts on “11/22/63 by Stephen King – Book 18

  1. I really do need to read this. I love King and I love history and I’ve been hearing great things about this book!

    If I could go back in time to stop a crime..hmm. It would be nice if Hitler never existed, that’s for sure.


    • First, you should totally read it if you’re both a King AND history fan??? It’s long, but it’s hard to put down. I kept having to “shush” my husband when he tried to talk to me! 🙂

      I also think I’d stop Hitler because his crimes were just horrific, to many races and religions!


  2. I’ve thought for years about writing something with an English Teacher/Professor as the protagonist, and waffled between thinking it could be awesome or that it could end up really pretentious. Sounds like King makes a good effort of it.


    • Yes! If you’re thinking about writing your own, check this book out because it might be able to give you some inspiration of your own. I think Jake was a quick witted character, brave but down to Earth, and that’s why he was so likable.


  3. How did you feel about the ending?

    I wouldn’t try to change the past, because…wait for it…I’ve read too many horror stories about what happens when you mess with time. Hahaha!


    • Ugh I had this whole long comment back to you that I somehow just erased! Blech!

      Anyway, without giving anything away to those who haven’t read it yet, I liked that there were consequences for Jake’s actions and that Jake was made aware of them, even if they were extreme.

      Yes, there were certain pieces I could have done without in the ending (like that whole extra chapter on the notes of his life could have been left out), but I try to give the author the benefit of the doubt with a book because it’s probably pretty hard to write a perfect book ending!

      And if the consequences weren’t as they are in this book, I think I would delete Hitler from the face of the Earth long before WWII. But beware of that butterfly effect!


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  5. Rebecca, Thanks for your additional thoughts on 11/22/63. With your review, plus Amy’s, I plan to suggest this to my book club for next year. Thanks for coming by my blog, and I’d like to visit you again- it looks like we have similar tastes in books!


    • Thanks for the post! I also noticed our similar tastes in books, and am following you on Bloglovin! I’m sure I’ll be commenting again soon, and I hope you will do the same!

      And for the book, it’s a great book club choice because there is so much to discuss! I’m sure there are also book club questions floating around on the internet, but even just discussing the question of “should you change the past?” would give you a lot to discuss!


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  8. I really enjoy Stephen King (though I don’t read as much of him as I would like) – recently read The Gunslinger (finally!) and picked up his newest title, Joyland, which I’m very excited about. I haven’t read this one, though, as I was anxious about the subject matter and the sort-of science-fictionizing of JFK’s assassination. Your review puts my mind at ease a bit, though – I think I’ll get a copy. 🙂


    • I totally get the whole “I dunno if this one is going to be a good SK” but I couldn’t NOT read it since I’m an 11/22/otheryear birthday!

      And you know, SK publishes sooooo many books that I don’t get to as many as I’d want to, either! Eventually, right?

      Good luck with Joyland! I’ve stayed away from reviews because I’m worried someone will spoil it for me. . . but I guess that means I should try to pick it up soon!


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