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.
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?