11/22/63 by Stephen King

I very much like Stephen King. I regularly reread his books. I tend to stay away from his overly supernatural books, and I’ve never dared to touch Carrie, but Misery, Rose Madder, and Dome are favorites of mine. And I was intrigued by his newest, 11/22/63 (or 22/11/63 if you’re in Europe). I read the first chapter in a bookstore while browsing, and wasn’t sure what to think when I put it down. It’s Stephen King, but somehow it’s also not quite Stephen King.

In 22/11/63, Jake Epping, a high school teacher, gets the opportunity to go back in time and save President Kennedy’s life in Dallas, Texas. (Hence the title.) Jake, in his new identity as George Amberson, enters a new, or rather old world, of cheap sodas and clean air and a beautiful librarian named Sadie. But there’s a catch: history doesn’t want to be changed. So as Jake inches closer and closer to that day in Dallas, history tries everything it can to stop him.

Fascinating premise, right? And George and Sadie are fabulous together, not to mention it makes you think about the nature of history and time and fate. But 11/22/63 just didn’t pull me in the way Dome did, even on a third read. I think most of my problem was with the ending. It just seemed like a cop-out to me, not to mention saccharine sweet at places. But for whatever it’s worth, I thoroughly enjoyed at least three fourths of the book. And if you’re less cynical than I am, you might just like it all.

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