This post should really be called The First 200 Pages, because as I’m writing this that’s about where I am with 11/22/63, Stephen King’s new book that came out last Tuesday, 11/8/11. I had pre-ordered it back in June as soon as I learned about it, and was a bit peeved at UPS when it didn’t show up until after 6pm that day on my doorstep. But for $3.99 shipping guaranteeing it on the day of release, I shouldn’t complain. I read 65 pages of it that night!
I have to admit I was a bit worried because this book is close to 900 pages. What if I didn’t like it? Luckily, I didn’t have that problem. The only thing I haven’t liked about it is not having a whole day to myself to do nothing but read it. King wasted no time diving right into the goods and just 20 pages in!
For those who might not know, 11/22/63 is the story of Jake Epping, a teacher who likes to have dinner occasionally at an old diner. The owner of the diner informs Jake that there’s a time portal in the pantry that if you walk through it, you’re transported back to a day in September 1958. Every time you go through, no matter how long you stay, when you come back only 2 minutes has passed in 2011. And every time you go back, everything resets itself so if you’ve changed anything, it’s all set back the way it was if you come back and go back through again. The main theme of the novel? The owner of the diner wants Jake to go through and stop the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Yep, that would require Jake to go through and stay at least 6 years!
The book starts with Jake teaching an adult GED class where he has his students write essays about a day that changed their life. The school’s janitor is in the class and writes about the day his father killed his entire family right in front of his eyes when the janitor was a kid back in 1958. He was the only one that survived. Of course, Jake finds the story touching and gives the janitor an A+. He decides to use this as a test the first time when he goes back in time by trying to stop this horrible event from happening.
Like I said, King wastes no time right from the start getting you hooked on the story. As you know, I read a lot but only occasionally do I read a book that just keeps me thinking about it nonstop. It just clicks and you know you are really enjoying a good read. Well, this is definitely one of those books for me!
King like to tie his books to other books or characters or stories he’s written, and he’s already done that in this book as well. When Jake goes back to 1958 and travels to Derry, Maine, some child murders have just taken place reportedly by a man dressed as a clown – this was the story of his book IT. For those who love reading King, it’s fun to pick up on things like this if you know his books.
That’s it for now. More about it later. Back to reading….