22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2012
I haven't read a King novel since I was in my 20s (I'm now in my 50s), thinking I'd outgrown him and the horror genre (though I will always remember the final line of "Pet Sematary").
But after reading all the fine year-end blurbs for Best Books of 2011, including in the Financial Times, for "11/22/63," I thought I'd give it a go.
Once begun, I tore through the book in five days (I had limited time to read, otherwise I would never have put it down), and I now lament having finished it. What a roller-coaster ride.
"11/22/63" is both a terrific time-travel tale and well-researched historical fiction, especially fun for those of us who have some memories of the '50s and '60s, even if we were only children. Certainly the juxtaposition between our online-all-the-time era and a simpler age was thought-provoking in itself, but King also reminds that we've come a long way where racism, ignorance and misogyny are concerned.
A hugely entertaining, thoroughly imaginative and emotionally gripping story, full stop.
206 of 217 people found the following review helpful
Where does the time go? After finishing this book I checked the internet to find out when I first discovered, and fell in love with, the books of Stephen King. The first one I read was Salems Lot, a paperback I bought using a gift voucher I had been given for a present. I was shocked when I realised that this would have happened over thirty five years ago. I loved Salems Lot and I loved the books that followed it - The Shining, The Stand, The Dead Zone and a stunning short story collection called Night Shift. The publication of a new Stephen King book became a red letter day and I would always ensure that I would purchase my copy the same day that it hit the shelves. Over the years though, the standard of Stephen King's books dipped a little. Whilst they were nearly always good, and some were excellent, none ever seemed quite as good as his earlier masterpieces. I assumed that I would never read a Stephen King book that would better The Shining or The Stand. But then I read 11:22:63.
11:22:63 not only marks the return of Stephen King to his brilliant best, but it is also quite possibly his finest ever novel. Everything about it is spot on. The characters are excellent, but this is only as I expected, as I have always thought that characterisation was one of King's greatest strengths. In his latest book the main character is Jake Epping/George Amberson and he is the archetypal Stephen King "ordinary Joe", a man unwittingly carried along a path on which he has to take decisive actions for the ultimate good of the human race. The story, about travelling back in time to change the future, is superb. Only King at his best could make such an implausible plotline as this seem not only plausible, but utterly believable. Occasionally Stephen King has spoilt a very good book by providing us with a weak ending; this is certainly not the case with 11:22:63 because all the strands of the plot are tied up in an extremely satisfying manner. King even gives us an absolutely sublime final page, one which left me with a massive lump in my throat. 11:22:63 is a remarkable book.
Reading 11:22:63 gave me a buzz of excitement reminiscent of the buzz I used to feel when reading a Stephen King book a long time ago. It is almost like I had located a portal that had enabled me to travel thirty five years back in time...
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2012
I have read probably all of SK's novels - some fantastic (like the Dark Tower series and The Talisman) and some more mediocre . I am not a fan of short stories and if you also like an 'epic' tale - this is one for you.
He is back to his old form to my mind - as another reviewer put it, it was like the author gave you a 'handshake and a hug' and you were off an a brilliant adventure. I couldn't put the book down - meant to take it away on holiday but made the mistake of reading the first few pages - now I will have to find something else.
Great story and characters and would make a great movie - if they spend some money on it and don't turn it into a low budget 'made for tv' mini series which never works on SK's books.
A wonderful book with a heart wrenching ending.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2013
Started out strong, but kind of huffed and puffed it's way over the finish line.
Enjoyable story with some good characters and King's usual dark humor.
Problem for me, as with a lot of his books, is it's overcooked. A good editor would have cut at least 100 pages off.
Btw Love the little 'tip your hat' to IT
Out of all the King books I have read, and there have been many, I'd put this somewhere near the middle of the pile....
96 of 105 people found the following review helpful
In the last few years it almost seems to have become a tradition that we get a new Stephen King book just before Christmas and the much anticipated 11/22/63 is likely to keep many engaged during the festivities this year. It was certainly a book I found hard to put down and which took priority over such mundane activities as eating and sleeping!
Yet again the author has managed to come up with a completely different scenario to entertain his readers. A time portal is opened which comes out to a time slot in 1958. Once the other side of the portal there is an opportunity to change the course of events so that history is altered, either in a small way or on an international scale. The adventure becomes a mission to prevent the assassination of JFK in 1963 - hence the title of the book. This is somewhat complicated by Jake, the time traveler's, ambition to additionally change other aspects of the past. The question is can the past be changed in a major way like this, or it the tendency for it to fall back into its original shape.
This book works on many levels. Stephen King deals with the 53 year time regression extremely well and we are transported into a world where you could be in a different universe, such have been the social and technological changes subsequently. Then there is the consideration of the Oswald controversy - was he working alone or are the conspiracy theorists right? Most of all this works as a joined up story with believable people who the reader comes to care about and wants to keep reading about.
I am a self confessed Stephen King fan and have read all of his work, but I imagine this fascinating tale will appeal to and be enjoyed by most readers. Highly Recommended!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2012
I'd ordered this book like many Stephen King books as I had come to rely on his story telling ability.
11.22.63 is a fantastic book, and one that I felt hard to put down at times.
The story is fantastic, though I was slightly sceptical at the start (as is often the case with SK books), but found with perseverence it paid off.
The only point I would like to make is that some of the political stuff in the book I found hard to understand, but then again I've never understood politics.
I guess I will have to read it again some time, but then again I do that with all SK books, something special about his books that means you can, time and time again.
Off to another SK book.. but which one to choose.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2012
I bought this for my Kindle just before my holiday. I had been to Waterstones and seen the hardback version (£19.99) but i didn't fancy paying that much. £9.99 later and i've got this version for my Kindle.
What a great value for money, it was such an amazing book!! Stephen King at his best. I did read the afterward where he states it took him so much time and research, it was definitely well worth it. By far one of the best books I have ever read. It had everything you could possibly want in a novel, Love, action, death, Time travel, History.. It was just fantastic.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those of you who like a bit of history and a good conspiracy theory!
Well done Mr.King. I salute you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2012
Only my third Stephen King (put off by the Pet Cemetery film which I watched through my jumper). Having said that Misery and The Green Mile were both fabulous and this is too. The date is that on which Kennedy was killed. What if you could go back.... Jake Epping does and the tale is brilliant. King manages to tell a love story, a cautionary tale and more. Any more will add spoilers but worth the read.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2012
King's expertise makes you wish that the story would never end. I'm familiar with his style and still he manages to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Although I predicted much of the narrative, those unaccustomed to King's "take-no-prisoners" approach to telling a tale might not. Even if you're the sort of person who can always predict the last scene of the movie, so to speak, there's a lot more to this book than a beginning, middle and end. King's characters were vivid and so realistically composed that it felt like they could up and walk right out of the pages. Some of them, like the infamous Lee Harvey Oswald, were drawn from life so perhaps that was to be expected. Others, however, such as the first-person protagonist, Jake, were equally real to me.
As a life-long inhabitant of Wales, my knowledge of the Kennedy assassination was pretty much limited to a video I was shown in History in year nine. Oh, and I think I saw a documentary on The Discovery Channel once. I'm now in danger of mistaking King's fictionalised history for reality, but still, I feel like I learned a lot from 11/22/63! Sure, I learned about some key dates and figures in American history, but more importantly I learned something about writing. King, in pretty much all of his works, teaches prospective writers that there's one key thing you have to do to your protagonists in order to make them someone readers want to read about. You have to torture them.
You have to throw hurdle after hurdle in their path and sometimes they have to stumble at them. But then, scraped knees and all, they've gotta keep an running. Sucks for them, eh?
My love for King is obdurate (book-related joke...), so he gets five stars from me!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2013
I began reading Stephen King's novels when he brought out 'Carrie' and was a totally devoted fan. Then came the 'Dark Tower' series, and I am afraid he lost me. I tried again and again to be moved like the old days but to no avail. Eventually I just stopped buying his books altogether and got on with my life.
I love Ken Follett. He wrote 'Pillars of the Earth' and many more classics and I became engrossed in that. Then, one day, a few months ago, I read somewhere (maybe on Follett's own website) that Stephen King was his favourite author. I thought, "Hmm. Why not have a look?", and am ever so glad I did.
I have been listening to audio books for a while now, so I began with 'The Dome'. Wonderful. Made me remember what I always loved about his writing. So I carried on, I saw 'Doctor Sleep' was coming out so I got 'The Shining' and then 'Doctor Sleep' and loved them both.
Then I saw 11.22.63. I thought, "that sounds like a great idea for a book", but I really had no idea how thought-provoking it would prove to be; the characters were well-thought out and it was very well-researched. Having moved to England almost 25 years ago from my home country, the good ol' US of A, all the references to things from foods to brands and stores was like being back home for a visit. I had a great time listening and wanted it never to end. As usual with a great book, I wanted to make it last but couldn't stay away and found myself listening at every available opportunity.
I have always thought 'The Stand' (which I began listening to today!) would be my forever favourite but now it has got competition! Also, I would like to say how much I enjoyed the reader, Craig Wasson. Wonderful voicings and a great emotive voice. I hope he gets a look-in again.
Well done, Stephen King, and thank you Ken Follett for leading me back to my old friend.