Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
I don't want to be a Stephen King fan. Nevertheless, he knows how to tell a story! I have really liked some of his books in the past, and I really loved this book. It gave me so much to think about. I'm afraid I will have to read a few more King novels in the future. Darn it!
I was a kid when Kennedy was shot, and no explanation yet satisfies me as to what really happened. I didn't find an answer here either, but it was nostalgic to go back and revisit the scenes of that awful day. Everyone wishes it would never have taken place, but what if someone had stopped it? How different would things really be now? King stretches the imagination to the max, which is what he does best.
My favorite King works have always been his stories more about people than about Horror.
This is my favorite Stephen King book of all.
Naval Air Corps - (DC3, C118, P2V Neptune) 1965 - 1970
Normally, I am not a fanatical fan of all Stephen Kings works because I don't enjoy dark and scary. However, this story drew me in, held me and delivered me right to the front door of WOW. It was interesting to Google Map the many addresses mentioned in the story while listening. I am ex-military and an old crusty kind of guy. I wan't exactly "crying" at the ending of the story; its closer to say my eyes were "glistening" while wearing a happy smile.
Canadian girl in Kansas, love audible, books on kindle or kindle fire, and old fashioned books! I enjoy fiction most, mostly books with strong female leads. Favourite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, Lisa Genova, many more!
I absolutely loved every part of this story. The flow, the characters, the whole idea of the time travel, the romance, the suspense.. This book has every aspect of a fantastic book all made into one story. I have read about every single book by Stephen King and I absolutely loved this book best. The narration was perfect. The suspense in Wasson's voice, his infliction, his entire performance was incredible. I didn't want it to end.
Of course the main character was my favourite, the narrator of the story. He was just an average joe, who made decisions with his heart.
I think my favourite scene was probably the climax where we do not know if Kennedy will be saved or killed. The idea of time working against the characters was so compelling and exciting- it was very very dramatic.
I think the whole overall message of the book moved me. The point was that, everything happens for a reason. What reason though- we may never know. It's hard to say much without giving away the book!
King's best, most suspenseful novel to date- with excellent narration! Fantastic audible book!
So, I confess: I started and stopped reading Stephen King after a single short story scared me witless in the 70s. But this book got such good reviews, and was billed as "speculative fiction", I succumbed and bought it. Also, I'm a sucker for really long audiobooks, since I go for really long walks in the early morning. Apparently, horror is just part of his DNA, because I couldn't really listen to it, all by myself on deserted streets on pitch black, windy mornings -- you just never know when his Norman Rockwell Americana will abruptly turn terrifying. Save it for gardening or housework. But anyway -- a great, great read. This is a complicated story, it involves time travel (which always makes my head hurt), lots and lots of characters, lots of researched detail, lots of plot -- but he keeps it all spinning, never dropping the narrative thread, with nary a cardboard character and always a sense of compassion. His hero IS a hero, but utterly believable. Stephen King is a better writer and storyteller than Stieg Larsson on every possible dimension, including writing in Swedish.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
The past is obdurate, the past harmonizes, the butterfly effect are all theories you will not forget once you finish King’s 11/22/63. A very elaborate “Back to the Future”, King tells the story of Jake Epping, a school teacher, who's been picked by his friend Al to save JFK. Through the rabbit hole in the pantry of Al’s diner, Jake disappears armed to change past events, but no matter how long he’s gone, only two minutes pass when he returns to 2011.
Jake goes by the name George Amberson when he leaves 2011. King’s theories and rendition of time travel almost make is plausible. His writing is easy and the elaborate story is saturated with interesting, likeable and unusual characters. Before he delves into stopping the JFK assassination, he first tries out time travel by going back to help the janitor at his school, Harry Dunning, who’s lived a tragic life. Lots of research went into this novel, the era, Lee Harvey Oswald’s family and associates and the assassination itself. Through George, King makes you feel like you’re part of it all. He weaves in a great romance as well, adding depth to the already complex story. This is only my second King novel. I can’t believe the first one, Duma Key, was written by the same person. Interesting premise, well told, highly recommended.
Craig Wasson did an amazing narration. I’ve listened to over 200 books and this narration was definitely in the top 5.
The Dragon Mother
I always wondered what it would be like if Stephen King wrote a Historical Fiction, Romance, Time Travel novel. Not really, but it was fun to take this journey with him.
Jake Epping has the chance to go back in time and change history. The thing he will be trying to change will be the assignation of JFK. But the time portal isn’t an exact thing. It only goes back to the year 1958, so he will have to ‘hang out’ until 1963. So what does a teacher do for 5 years while he is waiting around? Research all he can about Lee Harvey Oswald, teach school, and fall in love, what else?
I enjoyed all the time period references, like the fact that everyone smoked and how inexpensive everything was. (Not that I am old enough to remember!) I thought it was funny when he would slip up and use some 2011 slang or sing modern songs.
I wondered if Jake was even going to feel like going back to his own time once he got all settled into 1960’s. Sure we have all the conveniences like cell phones and internet, but they had honesty and respect.
I felt the book was a bit long, but who would really tell someone like Stephen King, ‘Hey, you have to shorten this up or no one will read it.’ LoL
I have noticed that there is a love/hate thing going on with reviewers over the ending. I loved the ending.
The Narration Review
I thought Craig Wasson did a great job narrating this story. I think he nailed the voices and sentiments of the characters just as Stephen King meant them to be read. I enjoyed hearing the New England accent and the funny pauses JFK used to use when he gave speeches.
I have several Stephen King books in my audible library and have enjoyed some more than others. My favorites tend to be the more "plausible" such as Dolores Claiborne. 11-22-63 sets a new benchmark for SK! My criteria for a good audio book has always been a story that pulls me in right away, one that keeps my interest and one that has a good narrator. This book has all 3 and lots of food for thought as well.
To start with, I was into the story immediately and was loathe to turn off my iPod for anything other than a great story. The narrator told the story rather than reading it. There was so much I didn't know about the era that piqued my interest. So often a book gets off to a good start but doesn't deliver, but that is not true here. The ending was satisfying as well.
The book will appeal to non-King fans as well. Perhaps his best...
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
I loved every minute of this book. King is the master character builder and story teller. But he also has a man crush on Jack Kennedy. I've no doubt he researched the novel exhaustively, but his bias gives Kennedy a total pass on his starting the Vietnam Nam war and the Bay of Pigs or even his infidelities, while demeaning other Presidents.
Nevertheless I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this wonderful novel.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I suspect that if you are big Stephen King fan, you will like this book just fine, but it is far from the most gripping time travel fiction, Kennedy assassination study, or Stephen King novel I have read/heard. Like many famous prolific authors, there seems to be some point where no real editing is done on later books and this is one that suffers from not being more concise and consistent. Not a huge flaw because the book rarely gets boring, it's just that it goes off on some tangents that detract from the primary plot and levels the story at interesting without ever reaching "gripping". The ending is pleasant but not particularly surprising and after such a LONG book, I expected more. One of the things that bothered me the most, may not bother many people - King has much of the setting detail just wrong. Since I grew up in Texas and have lived the last 30 years near Dallas, the errors rubbed me wrong especially because King has a big pat-on-his-own-back for all his research at the end of this audiobook. He might have researched his setting a bit more IMO. Most ridiculous: Repeated references to the smell of oil/gas production/refining (none of that occurring in Dallas or Tarrant Counties until the last decade) and even claiming that you could smell the oil smell coming from the Permian Basin (Midland and Odessa) in Fort Worth when the wind blew from the west. Um, yea, from 300+ miles away, Stephen?? Did you ever check a map? We couldn't even smell the oil wells in Odessa from Midland (where I grew up) which was only 20 miles away. And since the stockyards/meat packing was still huge in Fort Worth in the 60's, I'd guess any bad smells might have been more related to that industry. Made me wonder if his Maine settings were any more on target. One detail that he certainly got nauseatingly right is the pervasive use of tobacco in the 50's/60's - the smoking and smoke that pervades the novel is a truth of the times that I had happily forgotten until listening to this book.
Craig Wasson's narration was OK, but not great. His Maine, deep South, and Texas accents are kind of cartoon versions but acceptable considering that this is all first person narrative so the dialog is actually all just Jake repeating what other people said. However, Wasson does one of the main characters (Sadie) in such an irritating voice that it really detracted from the book for me. He voices this young woman so that she sounds like a pathetic beat-up version of Bill Clinton. The accent is more Arkansas than Georgia and he always makes her sound like she's about ready to pass out even when she is being brave and heroic. Bothered me so much that I couldn't really care about that character at all.
If you love Stephen King, you'll like this. If you want classic time travel romance, try Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson or The Time Traveler's Wife. If you want a really clever turn on time travel reversal of the Kennedy assassination, check out the British sitcom's Red Dwarf Season 7, Episode 1 - a thoughtful, imaginative review of the same issue done well in just 30 minutes.