Readers, I have something to confess… I am a librarian who has never read a Stephen King book. Shocking, I know. In my defense, I am not a horror fan and anything I read or consume that is even remotely horror is very specific (I know what I can handle.) But Mr. King has written various genres so that’s where my excuse falls apart. So why this book as my first King? Besides having been recommended to me by numerous friends, I LOVE time travel and will read anything about it. Having read this, I am now mad that I haven’t read King books before and waited so long to read this one. Have you ever started a book and liked it so much that you subconsciously read it really, really slowly in order to make it last? Only me? This is how I felt reading this book. I didn’t want it to end yet couldn’t wait to see what would happen, simultaneously. I know I am late to the game but I cannot recommend this book enough.
From Goodreads: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stopping suspenseful.
Things I Liked:
Despite this being 850 pages, it doesn’t read like it. Never once did I think that it was too long and I honestly could have read more. Because of its length, this book was able to have multiple twists and turns that keep me guessing the entire time. Even when I thought I had things figured out, something would happen to change everything. The characters leapt off the page, were well thought out, and memorable. I really felt the pain and anguish Jake felt when he had to make painful decisions and found myself routing for things to turn out well for him. No time travel book is ever perfect, but this one gets close in explaining how every action and decision can have ramifications and consequences, some seen and some unexpected. It was explained and well explained while still being complex. I don’t think King would ever say he writes romance or that this book could be categorized as a romance but I was enthralled by the relationship between Jake and Sadie and in a small way was more invested in that story line than the time travel/Kennedy one. Everything was wrapped up with no loose ends… I can imagine it was difficult to decide how to end a book of this magnitude but the final moments are near perfect.
Things I Didn’t Like:
There was really nothing I didn’t like about this book.
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book and talk about my theories but I wouldn’t be saying anything that hasn’t been said before so I will leave it at this: read this book. Now. Don’t wait. We’re quarantined, you have the time. (Unless you are an essential worker, in which case all I can say is thank you!) Now I’m off to watch the Hulu series and see how it compares.
“We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.”
Author: Stephen King
Published: November 8th, 2011
Rating: 5 Stars