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King fails on 11/22/63

Because every trip down the rabbit hole is a reset-Al Templeton

If you had the opportunity to redo history, would you take it?

High school English teacher Jake Epping is granted the chance when diner owner Al Templeton shows him a portal to the past — to 1958 to be exact — in his diner’s pantry. Al shares this secret to Jake because of his dying request: for Jake to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Front dusk jacket of Stephen King's "11/22/63."

Stephen King’s latest tale, “11/22/63”, is an 842 page (excluding the ‘Afterword’) trip back in time when gas was 30 cents per gallon and the Cuban Missile Crisis had everyone fearing the apocalypse. King captures the ideologies and attitudes of the time superbly and illustrates Jake’s journey through the 1950s and ’60s in high definition vividness.

Regretfully, there isn’t much more positives about “11/22/63.” Written as Jake’s memoir, King pulls readers in with the one-liner, “I have never been what you’d call a crying man” and then details the story of Harry Dunning, whose GED writing assignment about the night his father murdered his family made Jake cry.

From there on, the novel spirals downward. Because the story was written as a memoir, it is very detailed which in normal circumstances would be great but the in-depth look at Jake’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald became boring.

Jake’s retailing of his time in Jodie, Texas where he met his love interest Sadie Dunhill adds a romantic ante dote and helps bridge the gap between ’59 and ’62 but it isn’t enough to lift the story that is bogged down by King’s attempt give us an inside look of who Oswald was.

“11/22/63” reminds me of another, fictitious, conspiracy-laden death tale, “The Murder of King Tut.” I praise both King and James Patterson’s teams for the due diligence in their research for their respective projects and piecing together imaginative yarns.

Unlike Patterson’s work however, “11/22/63” doesn’t have enough strings to save it.

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1 Comment

  1. […] It may be unorthodox to begin a book review like you would end it but Joyland is the best Stephen King tale I’ve read since “Riding the Bullet” from the collection Everything’s Eventual (although 11/22/63 was critically acclaimed, I found the story boring). […]

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