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"11.22.63" by Stephen King, a Book Review

Updated on January 17, 2013

Book review

“If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?

Jake Epping, 35 teaches high school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries while reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock n roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life”

This is the short summary of 11.22.63 by Stephen King, known to most people for his horror novels. And this one is surely a different kind of Stephen King work.

So is it worth reading?

I bring to you: My Pros and Cons of Stephen Kings ”11.22.63”:

- This book have a good little romance story medled into it, and maybe I am just a sucker for clear cut romances without sob sob stories and love love sappy details, but it was a nice edge to the book
I loved reading about the whole ”saving JFK” by traveling back in time, part.
- This book was well written, that I will not criticize.

- Why is this book so long? I spent 500 pages reading about life in the 1960s, whereas 90% where irrelevant to the book.
I could have just picked up a non-fiction book on the topic if I were THAT interested in how they danced, or how good the beers used to be 50 years ago, in a far away land.
- My guess is that a lot of people will pick this book up because of the JFK-theme, so it’s too bad that the JFK-part is just a secondary story, cramped together in the last pages.
- Change the past a bit and the whole world will fall together, earthquakes will kill us all and the dark dystopian times have come.
No. Don’t overdo it Stephen.

I tried reading this book multiple times, and having to do that is just a big turn-off for me.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars, which is what I felt like it deserved.
It was a good enough novel as such, but it could have been 300 pages instead of 800 and I would probably have enjoyed it more.

Stephen King seemed to be on a mission to write a novel about a special occurance, a special date and time in history, but when the plot of the book becomes less than secondary, then you know you have to cut out some irrelevant details.
I was not up for reading pages and pages and pages of life in Lisbon Falls in the 50’es and 60es. Not what I came for, and not something I appreciated when I was finally done with this book.

I will recommend this to: Stephen King fans and people who love long descriptions of icecream, streets and beers.
Partly recommend to: Someone who is interested in history.
Not recommended to: People who get bored after 2-300 pages. You will never get through this.



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    • ct92 profile imageAUTHOR

      5 years ago from Denmark

      Thank you Gus!

      I am not a native english speaker, so you could definitely be right in the fact that I have some mistakes here and there. I hope to get even better at the english language with time, by writing and reading.

      Thanks for you feedback :)

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      5 years ago from USA

      Howdy ct92 - You write well but could benefit from a readback sometime later in which you could do a little editing - not about what you want to say, nor about how you went about saying it, but just for the little nit-picking things like a wee bit of spelling and the like. I read this book review due to its headline, part of which dealt with the JFK assassination. Well, I suppose that you really did speak to that event by letting the reader here know that King shortchanged his readers by not dealing with it appropriately - even at the end of his book.

      Glad you are here, and happy that writing makes you happy.

      Gus :-)))

    • ct92 profile imageAUTHOR

      5 years ago from Denmark

      Yeah I know right? It's too bad, because the idea is super great!

      My hope is that Stephen King turns on his own time machine, goes back to before he wrote this book and then rewrites it to fulfill our wishes.

    • JeremyBentham profile image


      5 years ago from Missouri

      I completely agree with you on this book. Two of my obsessions are Stephen King and the JFK assassination. So I could not wait to read this book. Very disappointing. It was a romance novel with some JFK stuff thrown in.

    • ct92 profile imageAUTHOR

      5 years ago from Denmark

      Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it! :)

    • Monis Mas profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the interesting review. I like Stephen King, and this unsusual for him book got me interested. I enjoy learning about history, but if it's too much of it, and pages and pages of descriptions, I usually get bored. Voted up and awesome!


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