Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

After tuning into the Hulu mini-series of the same title, I thought I would check out the book from which it was adapted. My first impression is that this book is way too long but that is hindsight of seeing what the pared down version offers in video format. There is plenty that is left out and lots of details added to the book version. Changes are made but, in the end, they both boil down to the same thing. Instead of this being a political thriller or a time travel mystery, it is just a very long and detailed romance.

I did enjoy major portions of this novel, and it is impressive that Stephen King had me sticking with such a long book, but he is the most popular author in the world for a reason. This book had a lot of parts that were fast paced and only some parts that slogged down in details and side-stories that don't affect the overall plot. 

I appreciated all the history that is in this book and it will be hard for me to ever forget the day that JFK was assassinated. The book focuses primarily on the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and his strained relationship with his wife and children. Jack Epping was a fun character to watch as he explored and adapted to the past as George Amberson. I couldn't help but see James Franco in the role but if I had read the book first, I don't think I would have cast him to play the role.

I haven't read a Stephen King book in a while but I think this book is exceptional in his very large collection. There were certainly some horror elements from the obdurate past to Sadie Dunhill's deranged husband John Clayton and even the danger of the president plays into the frightening elements, but overall this book was not scary. I remember getting chills from Bag of Bones and being shocked by Carrie but this book only has ominous undertones and nothing outright scary. One of the most interesting parts is the very end and how King predicts a future in which the past has been changed by the consequences of time travel. It's not good but the explanation was interesting.

I would highly recommend the show and if you enjoy that and want a longer experience then I would check out this novel but since it has been on most bestseller lists and is written by Stephen King, it certainly doesn't need my recommendation. I had fun with this book and spent nearly two months getting through it so I'm glad to share my thoughts. I heard a great discussion of the novel and show on the Geeks Guide to the Galaxy podcast so I would recommend any readers who wants to hear more about it check that out too!

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