Doc Thank you Steve You were wrong all those years ago when you said you weren t very good at writing about love and in
Doc 11.22.63 Thank you, Steve. You were wrong all those years ago when you said you weren't very good at writing about love and intimacy. The love story here is full of honesty and tenderness. When I got to the last couple of pages, I was crying so hard I couldn't read.11/22/63 is a supernatural, quasi-historical, philosophical, science-fiction love story. If you're avoiding it because you think Stephen King only writes horror, please reconsider. There's no horror here, aside from a couple of mild gross-out scenes. I know my experience would have been cheapened by knowing too much beforehand, so I'm not going to tell you what it's about in the style of a traditional book review. Be it on someone else's head to spoil your fun. So why should you read it? *There is DANCING! *There is time travel -- Stephen King-style, with some original twists on the old device. *There is a special treat for fans of It, King's novel about Pennywise the Clown.*There is a charming (yet brutally honest) portrayal of American life in the late 50s and early 60s.*There is DANCING!*There is pie-throwing!*There is sweet romance without sappiness.*There is poundcake!*There is derring-do! (With poundcake for afters.) *There is insight into Lee Harvey Oswald and his associates, and their activities prior to 11/22/63.*There is DANCING!*There is a subtle but amazing use of "the past" as a character with an agenda of its own.*There is snappy dialogue laced with humor.*There is high school theater. *And there is DANCING! Because dancing is life. Thanks again, Steve. There's always room for you on my dance card.. 11.22.63 am Book On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed.If you had the chance to change history, would you Would the consequences be worth it. Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support After Stephen s grandparents passed away, Mrs King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966 From his sopho year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate He came to support the anti war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional He graduated in 1970, with a B.A in English and qualified to teach on the high school level A draft board examination immediately post graduation found him 4 F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students they married in January of 1971 As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men s magazines.Stephen made his first professional short story sale The Glass Floor to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967 Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men s magazines Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.. Good Books 11.22.63 Go ahead, book snobs. Proclaim haughtily that Stephen King is not Literature. I shall retort with a Pratchett quote, "Susan hated Literature. She'd much prefer to read a good book." And nobody argues with Sir Terry.(Since 'a picture is worth a thousand words', the above is a three-thousand-words summary of this book. Impressive, no? And also - dancing is life.)As you probably guessed from the not-too-spoiler-sensitive title, 11/22/63 is a book about time travel. My love for it is an exception rather than a rule - you see, I am not usually a fan of the Grandfather paradox. Speaking of which: “Yeah, but what if you went back and killed your own grandfather?"He stared at me, baffled. "Why the fuck would you do that?”As the title proceeds to shamelessly tells us, the book deals with the assassination of John F. Kennedy (and if the title fails to convey the message, then hopefully you - like yours truly - have Google-pedia'd it. Hey, don't judge, I was born in Eastern Europe). Anyway, it's another of Stephen King's 'what if?' situations. What if you could go through a 'rabbit-hole' to the past? Would you try to change history for the better, would you try to right the wrongs? Well, who wouldn't??? And so Jake Epping, an English teacher, sets out to spend half a decade in the past to prevent the assassination of JFK (and to figure out whether Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed the lone gunman that day, despite all the conspiracy theories). "As I flipped to the back, I kept seeing that double take. And the grin. A sense of humor; a sense of the absurd. The man in the sixth-floor window of the Book Depository had neither. Oswald had proved it time and again, and such a man had no business changing history." **What if their lives had never intersected?**“Even people capable of living in the past don't really know what the future holds.” The question is - what would have happened had JFK survived the assassination that day in Dallas? Would we still have Vietnam War, race riots, and Martin Luther King's death? Could the lives of many innocent people be spared? Could JFK lead the country into a better future? Jake believes so. But what if the past resists the change? What is the price of changing the past? "The past is obdurate for the same reason a turtle’s shell is obdurate: because the living flesh inside is tender and defenseless." This book again dispels the long-believed but mistaken axiom that Stephen King is a "horror writer" - of a spook and startle variety. No, in the traditional sense he is not. He knows that the true monsters are those that live inside every one of us (and, ahem, occasionally in Derry, Maine). He has created his own brand of psychological suspense - with the brilliant and scary insight into the minds of average everyday people (who all have some darkness inside them and a skeleton or two in the closet - sometimes quite literally) superimposed onto the masterful description of small towns themselves (eerily resembling sentient living creatures, determined to hold on to their dark secrets). (*) And we get plenty of these in this book, as Jake's quest to prevent that fateful shot in November in Dallas takes him along the way to the small towns of Derry, Maine and Jodie, Texas.* I have an irrational fear of living in a small town, thanks to Stephen King. What if it turns out to be another Derry or Castle Rock?! *shudder* (By the way, this trip to the past gives plenty of deeeeee-licious 'Easter Eggs' to King's Constant Readers. We see little echoes from Pennywise the Clown era in Derry, meet our favorite 1958 Plymouth Fury (Hellllloooo there, Christine!), and even get a nod to A Wizard and Glass with Takuro Spirit).“On that gray street, with the smell of industrial smokes in the air and the afternoon bleeding away to evening, downtown Derry looked only marginally more charming than a dead hooker in a church pew.”Derry of 1958 (right after the terrifying events of IT) is particularly repulsive and sinister. It's a small wonder Jake is able to continue his quest after starting in such an ominous place. But even there King manages to include some unexpected beauty - just remember Richie and Bevvy dancing. And the reverse applies to the idyllic town of Jodie in which Jake is finally able to feel that he actually LIVES in the past. Deep down under the beauty and quaintness lies the ugly little reality. And the same remains true for the Land of Ago, the glorious past of absent airport security, no cholesterol warnings, and everyone happily puffing their way to lung cancers. The 1950s-60s are described with sweetness and nostalgia, but King never hesitates to bluntly remind the reader that the past has teeth and it's not afraid to bite.King is an excellent writer and an amazing storyteller. His writing is effortless and natural, the characterization is apt and memorable, and the dialogue superb and real-sounding. I truly felt for Jake during each step of his journey. I loved how Oswald was described as not a villain or a nutcase but a flawed broken little man who stumbled into the middle of events that changed history. The other characters - Sadie, Deke, Ellie, Frank Dunning - were so well-written that I could feel them come to life (which actually can be a scary statement when the world of sai King is concerned). The story, despite its sizable length, was flowing along and never lost my attention. And his slow build-up of the sense of suspense and doom - think The Yellow Card Man (*) and jimla and the 'harmonizing past' - was just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the book.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Pardon me for using this moth-eaten cliche, but Stephen King is like good wine - his writing gets better and better as he ages. Some may consider The Stand his masterpiece (to his dismay - who wants to think he's already reached the peak of his writing career three decades ago???), but I think this book may be it. "Is there any phrase more ominous than you need to see exactly what you’ve done? I couldn’t think of one offhand."-----------------------------5 stars without hesitation for this excellent impossible-to-put-down book. Sai King, I will continue to be your Constant Reader for hopefully many more years to come, Capital-L Literature or not. "If there is love, smallpox scars are as pretty as dimples."