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Reviews of 11/22/63 (2011)

Review by michael a draper (2012-07-19)
Did you ever wish you could change history?

In Stephen King's tour de force, "11/22/63," history is changed and those changes unleash streams of action that changes many other unforeseen events.

Jake Epping is a high school teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He earns extra money teaching GED classes so students can return to school and earn an accredited high school diploma. He's particularly moved by Harry Dunning's paper. Harry is the school janitor who walks with a limp and has less than full mental ability. Harry's paper is titled, "...a day that changed my life." In it, Harry tells of how his father murdered his mother, two brothers, left his sister in a coma and hit Harry on the head with a hammer-causing brain damage.

Jake gives the paper an "A" and goes on to other things. Then, Jake's friend, Al Templeton, asks him to come to his diner. In the back, the pantry opens into history.

Al and Jake discuss what beneficial things could happen if certain history events could be changed. They decide that JFK's assassination would help the most.

To test the theory, Jake goes back to Derry, Maine in 1958, to change Harry's history.

This book is a joy. Stephen King is a master of setting the scene for the reader to feel part of the action. We read about old songs playing on the radio, see the cost of items and see products that are no longer available, we feel we're in 1958 when Harry's father went berserk.

Jake takes on a new name and identification and makes himself part of the community. He gives people the idea he's looking for real estate opportunities. An interesting thing for King fans is that this takes place in Derry and the towns people talk about missing children. This did happen in King's novel, "It".

This part of the story ends. Then Jake goes to the Dallas area to the time before Kennedy's assassination. Jake gets a job in a high school and is there long enough to direct a play and win friends as well as changing students lives-all, while planning how best to stop Oswald from assassinating JFK.

Along with King's classic, "The Stand," this may be his best and most memorable book. Jake is a well developed and likable character. He's the teacher like we remember- being the best we had.

Stephen King also has earned that place, among the best we have.

Don't miss this book. It will become a classic.

(This review refers to the 2011 version titled “11/22/63”)

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