While I read a fair number of books, and I read books in a variety of genres, I had never read a book by Stephen King.  Until recently.  Stephen King is the author of more than 50 books, but 11/22/63 is the first of those many books I have read.  Published in the fall of 2011 the book remains a hardcover bestseller several months after being published. And I know why…it is an excellent novel.

11/22/63 is a novel about time travel.   The book’s main character is Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a small town in Maine.   On the side he teaches a GED class.  As an assignment for his GED students, he asks them to write an essay about something that has happened to them that changed their life.  One of his students, the janitor in the high school, writes an essay that really gets Epping’s attention.  He writes about how his father had killed his mother, sister, and brother when he was a kid more than fifty years ago.  Epping cannot get the story off his mind.

Shortly after reading this essay, one of Epping’s close friends lets him in on a big secret.  Al, who owns a diner in the small town, shares how he can can travel back in time by going into a closet type room in the diner.  When he goes back in time he always goes to the same day in 1958.  No matter how long he stays, when he comes back he has only been gone for two minutes.  Al tells Jake Epping about this time time travel secret because he is very ill and he has an agenda that he wants Epping to complete.   Al wants Epping to go back in time and prevent President John F. Kennedy from being assassinated.

The story is fascinating as Epping goes back in time and attempts to change history.  He willingly takes on Al’s Kennedy plan, but first he wants to stop his janitor/GED student’s terrible past.  He takes on the name George Amberson and eventually ends up living in a small Texas town, where he be becomes a high school teacher there.  Full of details on life in the early 1960’s, the book keeps you involved and intrigued with the differences in life in the the early 1960’s versus today.  Epping/Anderson falls in love with another teacher and the love story captivates you as much as the plot to save Kennedy’s life.

The story fills 850 pages but it is a page-turner.  With every twist and turn imaginable, Stephen King weaves a complex story of love, suspense, tragedy, and hope.  Will history really be changed?  Can it be changed for the better?  The story keeps you involved throughout and you just cannot imagine how it will end.  As I stated, this is the only Stephen King book I have ever read.  But I must say that if 11/22/63 is any indication of King’s writing talents, I know why he has been such a popular author.  This tale could only be written by a master storyteller.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being great, columbiabookseller definitely gives 11/22/63  a 5!!

11/22/63 : A Novel

Written by Stephen King

Scribner (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Published November 2011

ISBN 978-1-4516-2728-2

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