11/22/63 by Stephen King

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Home is watching the moon rise over the open, sleeping land and having someone you can call to the window, so you can look together.

– Stephen King

11/22/63

This is now tied with The Stand as my number one King book. I absolutely adore this book and it turned out to be so much more than I thought it would be. The core plot of the novel is that Jake Epping, an English teacher in Maine, is shown a portal back in time to 1958 by the proprietor of a local diner he frequents, named Al. He accepts a mission from Al to go back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Al had attempted the same thing himself, but was forced to come back to the present when he developed cancer. Jake grows to love the past more than the present, and grows to despise his target, Lee Harvey Oswald.

This book hooked me from the very beginning and would not let go. It is just over 700 pages, and I read the whole thing within a few days of starting it. I read over 150 pages a day, the fastest I have ever read any book. I just couldn’t put it down. There were times when I was having trouble sleeping when I read it, and Jake’s singular obsession with Oswald bled into my own dreams.

Then, just as you are being entertained by Jake’s time travel escapades in the 1950s, King turns the tables on you and presents the greatest love story he has ever written. Jake meets Sadie when he is teaching at a school in Texas on the outskirts of Dallas and his life changes forever, so much so that he decides to stay in the 50s with her and his beloved school students and teachers. Their love is full of dizzying highs and deep tragedy, as well as the dark secret that Jake must hide from her. I read a quote somewhere, that King successfully tricks nerds expecting the usual sci-fi story from him into loving a romance subplot. And I agree. He does it so perfectly and completely that I would consider Jake and Sadie ad the most realistic couple of fiction I have ever read.

Dancing is life

11/22/63 is King at his absolute peak, and it actually has a fantastic, bittersweet ending, which are not usually the author’s strong point. I will forever recommend this book to everyone with even a passing interest in fiction.

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