Author: Stephen King
Genre: Science fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: I’ve never been what you’d call a crying man.
Goodreads blurb: On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed forever.
If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be worth it?
Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students — a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.
Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
Okay, now I get what all the fuss is about. Yes, I read – and enjoyed – On Writing, and I loved Uncle Stevie’s columns in Entertainment Weekly, but I had yet to try any of his fiction, because I am a chicken. I don’t like horror, and I associated King with horror. But then everyone kept saying that he writes more than just scary stories, and I was seeing rave reviews of 11/22/63 on multitudes of blogs, and I decided I had to find out for myself.
This man knows how to tell a story. 849 pages long, and I didn’t lose interest once. He draws together so many threads of story, so many characters, and does it so deftly – it’s like a tapestry made by a master craftsmen. This book has everything you could possibly want in a satisfying read: truly evil villains; authentic, well-rounded characters; a love story; a mission to save the world; impossible choices; mysterious, otherworldly figures; and an ending that keeps you guessing right up until the last few pages.
So, my question to all of you King fans out there: What should I read next? Keep in mind that I’m a chicken, so none of his most horrifying titles, please. But anything that isn’t horror, or leans more toward fantasy or science fiction, that you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.