REVIEW: 11/22/63

11/22/63 - Stephen King

11/22/63 is a very enjoyable and entertaining read, but personally I didn't find it to have much depth. Maybe it's because I wasn't alive during the Kennedy assassination, and due to that, I might not have as strong of a connection with this book as some others.

Essentially, though, here's the message that I got from the book: The past is obdurate, but well, so is love in its own way. While it's a fascinating message that accompanies a fascinating story, I personally didn't find it to be a particularly awe-inducing message. I guess what I'm saying is that, although I really enjoyed reading 11/22/63, it's not the kind of book that I'm going to think about a lot (or at all) now that I'm finished with it.

For those who are considering reading this book, don't be daunted by the length. Yes, it's almost 900 pages (according to my Kindle), and some of those pages could have probably been cut without detriment to the story, but the book is so unique and intriguing that the pages fly by.

My only critique with regard to the writing is how Jake speaks when he's in the past. Perhaps the way he speaks and the phrases he uses sound right for the late '50s, early '60s setting ... but unless he happened to watch a whole lot of '50s/60's films in his time, how would he know that? He certainly didn't sound like someone from 2011, and if I went back to the past, I'm sure that I wouldn't be speaking like that. This may seem like (and is only) a minor critique, but since it bothered me, it brought me out of the story a lot when Jake spoke to others.

Major spoilers coming:

I think I would have enjoyed the book more if Jake had gone back in time to kill LHO and discovered that Kennedy's killing was, in fact, a conspiracy. King says in the afterward that he's 98% sure that LHO was Kennedy's killer, who acted alone (Occam's Razor and all that). But to me, whether true or not, the Kennedy assassination is so interesting from a historical perspective because of the possible conspiracies.

Leaving LHO as the sole assassin in 11/22/63 is also frustrating because we spend all this time with Jake in the past following LHO, only to find that the past is obdurate, have Jake un-do his work, and for it to be worth nothing. Yes, I understand that it's his relationship with Sadie that makes it it all actually worth something, but it bothered me that Jake's "relationship" with LHO amounts to nothing in the end. After Jake returns to the present, he doesn't even mention LHO, or lament that he invested so much time obsessing with LHO that ultimately amounted to nothing. It just seemed strange to me, like a loose end that wasn't satisfactorily tied.

(show spoiler)


Yet, all in all, this is a good read that I immensely enjoyed in the moment, which is a lot more than I can say about most books.