11/22/63 by Stephen King
(Scribner, 2011, 849 pages)
My husband and I started this audiobook back in May when we were roadtripping to Destin, FL for a wedding. Given that the audiobook is 30 cds we weren’t able to finish the book on that trip, but we finally did when we traveled to Virginia two weeks ago! The timing couldn’t have been more spot on since we were listening to it over the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.
Jake Epping is a high school English teacher in Maine who learns of a “portal” to the past from his friend Al who has been using it for years. Al reveals the portal to Jake because he’s dying and wants Jake to go back in time and prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating Kennedy. The portal takes you back to 1958 so its certainly an investment for Jake to take on this task. One of the benefits being that no matter how long you spend in the past, when you come back to the present only a few minutes will have gone by. That being said, each venture back through the portal resets the past so if you want something to change you either have to change it each time or not return through the portal after your changes have been made…
Jake lives in the past under the alias of George Amberson. Not only does he have his mission from Al, there are a few wrongs he wants to try and right while he has the time and the ability. George (Jake) also happens to fall in love while living in the past, which could potentially endanger his mission. One thing he learns is that the past is incredibly resistant to change and will do what it can to keep you from modifying things…
I was surprised how much my husband and I enjoyed this book since the time travel element seems kind of out of place when you just read the book’s summary. King does a great job keeping the story moving and keeping the reader’s interest as you try to guess what will happen and if Jake will succeed. I thought the ending seemed a little rushed and could have gone any number of different directions – it just wasn’t how I pictured King ending things. But it was an entertaining read and the narrator did a great job with the book.
You can also check out Theresa’s review.