Contrary to his reputation, Stephen King's real strength isn't in his depiction of horror. It's his ability to write characters the reader can relate to and who have a depth of personality that makes you really care about them. The scary stuff isn't as scary if you don't care about the people it's happening to.
This strength is in full evidence in 11-22-63. This isn't the stereotypical King "people get into surreally horrible situation and the blood flows" story. Instead, we're brought along with a very normal guy who's put into a really difficult situation. One day, he's an English teacher just living his boring life and the next day he's stepping through a portal into the past with a mission to change history.
Here's where the story really shines. Our hero isn't a hero at all. He's amazed by the world of the late 50's/early 60's in the same way I would be. He makes a lot of decisions and does a lot of things that are just what anybody in the same situation would do. The first person narrative is really helpful here, since being in on Jake/George's thought process and feeling adds a level of believability that really immerses the reader in the story.
So it's a tale of wonder, a pile of what-if questions, and of course it's a love story too. A touching, joyful, tragic one. I won't spoil the story or tell how it turns out - it's key to everything and I wouldn't ruin it.
So the book itself is highly recommended. Even if you're not going to listen to the audiobook, it's worth the read in the format of your choosing.
But the narration is well worth separate mention. Craig Wasson so deeply becomes the main character of this book that it really does feel like you're sitting there listening to the story told by the character himself. I've sat through a lot of audiobooks, and rarely do I get pulled in this deeply. The regional accents are (to my West Coast-trained ear) spot-on, and the emotion he brought to his narration was just icing on the cake. I'll be downloading other books he's narrated just because of his job on this one.
So thanks to Misters King and Wasson for combining talents to make an exceptional audiobook. This is what the format strives to deliver, and it was a home run this time.
The reader was extremely talented at helping you feel the emotions of the characters.
I adored the dance at the end!
A fantasy which is totally believable
I enjoyed this book very much. Time travel and its consequences are fascinating and though provoking and especially as it relates to historical events. Using an airstream as a catalyst was just icing on the cake!
Unafraid is an excellent book by Jeff Golden takes on the same subject. What would have happened if JFK lived? But it doesn't do it within the context of time travel. Really excellent read ( or listen) and addresses some of the
Well , you gotta love Al. To buy hamburger in the past and sell it in the future at 1958 prices? Brilliant.Who would want that opportunity!
I never listen in one sitting. I listen when I am working on mundane tasks and a 20 hour book will take me 3-4 days. But it was in my ear whenever it was possible.
This was my first Stephen King novel, mainly because I am not a fan of creepy. But the time travel aspect intrigued me and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Other reviews tell me that it is not like his other novels but......I might still give them a try.
I loved the fact that it was so easy to listen to. The story was told/written in a way that was easy to follow. The author made you really care for the characters.
Favorite characters were those in the town of Jody.
It is easier to tell who my least favorite character was, and I say that because Craig Wasson performed him so well. I disliked the green card man. I think Wasson's performance of him made me dislike him. It was great.
I don't think I could have listened to it in one sitting because the story was so massive and emotional, but I was always anxious to get back to it.
There are certain public figures who become part of our own history, don't you think? We mature and if the Fates are kind, grow old with these people. Mr. King is somebody like that for me. He's an old friend who never disappoints and often surprises. I didn't know what to expect other than a book about traveling back in time to prevent President Kennedy's assassination. The idea appealed to me because I was 15 years old when that event took place and I always thought it changed the course of history. Anyway, in my buddy's capable hands, the appealing idea became a great story. I don't know what English and literature teachers are teaching these days but I hope they're teaching Stephen King. He's an American treasure and can't be beat for his ability to create an interesting story with a special twist, to bring to life people who really don't exist except in his imagination and to choose just the right word, just the number of words in a sentence, just the right pacing, just the right everything to create something powerful. Yes, go ahead and listen to the book. An extra bonus is Mr. Wasson's superb reading. I expected to hear each distinct character, but he made me see them too! I suppose this would be a great read, but I do feel sorry for anybody who doesn't take the opportunity to listen to it. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY!!
I spend about four hours per day on the road. Audio books make my commute go by much faster and make it somewhat enjoyable.
This is a long book and the story drags on unnecessarily at times. Other than that, it was pretty good. The narrator is amazing. It's hard to believe that it's just one person.
It is in my top 10
The class reunion
I wish it was another 25 hours long. I could not stop listening.
This story moved along at a good pace, had a great deal of action and was interesting all the way. Few books keep my interest the way this one did.
Books have always been one of my greatest pleasures. I love having the book read to me while I do mindless tasks.
I felt like I escaped to a world that I remember from my childhood. I saw the scenery from that era and smelled the smells. The fantasy seemed real and even the time travel seemed believable. I laughed and cried as I followed Jake's attempts to make the world a better place.
Craig Wasson never sounded like he was reading at all. His narration sounded like words that really came from Jake's heart. Every inflection in that voice built the personality of each character as precisely as the words did.
When I am listening to an especially good read, I look for things I can do that will allow me to just keep listening...walking, working in the garden, long drives to visit relatives in another state...ANYTHING. So I have happily done over 30 hours of mindless work in the last three weeks while feeling like a time traveler. What a journey!
a lover of books and finer things
The narrator was perfect although sometimes he accidentally fell into other characters voices but he quickly corrected himself. I love storytelling and amazing storytellers are rare. This story mixed with historical facts was a history lesson but almost as good as living it.
That it weaved in and out of science fiction, history, a love story and a riveting story. It was a long book but I listened to every word. Sadie, George/Jake, Deek, everyone seemed so real. The butterfly-effect. Everything is connected. You can't change one thing because you change an untold number of other things.
He brought the characters to life. I forgot about the fact he was one man and through him I could envision all of the characters, Sadie, the jump rope girls, Mrs. Kennedy, even Oswald and Marina.
Mrs. Kennedy thanking him for what he did. I can imagine that happening and sad that it never took place.
I've never read or listened to a Steven King novel before. I'm a fan of his because of the movies based on his books. Now I'm just a Steven King fan. 1963 subject interested me and I decided to give it a listen and now I'm very happy that I did. Steven King's storytelling is brilliant. I can't wait for the next book. But I would love an epilogue to Sadie and Jake. The ending was moving and I loved it,