Stephen King’s 11/22/63

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King | LibraryThing

King, S. (2011). 11/22/63: A novel. New York: Scribner. 9781451627282

Reasons for Reading : I read Stephen King’s The Dead Zone a few years ago after reading King’s memoir On Writing. In The Dead Zone, teacher and coma survivor John Smith asks “If you could kill Hitler, would you?” When I saw 11/22/63 on the NYT Bestsellers List, I realized King took this same question in a different direction. I added my name to the waiting list for a copy from HCPL. Later, I purchased a copy from the Friends of Freeman Library Bookstore.

Summary: Jake Epping teaches English at Lisbon Falls High in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He also earns
extra money by taking on GED courses. Reading janitor Harry Dunning’s essay about the horrific night when Harry lost his family and gained a limp fifty years prior moves the normally dry-eyed Jake to tears.

Soon after Harry earns his GED, diner owner Al shares a secret with Jake; there’s a portal outside his supply room which leads to September 1958. Thus, Al enlists Jake on a mission to save JFK from assassination.

What I Liked : I appreciated the short segments which allowed me to read a little bit at a time. I also enjoyed the whole “What if?” aspect. I liked how King limited some of the possibilities by creating a 1958 portal instead of putting Jake into a time machine that could go anywhere or anytime.

What I Disliked : As a Texan (a Houstonian), my familiarity with state geography is above average 🙂 . I wouldn’t describe Dallas and Killeen as being all that close. Also, Killeen has two “L’s” unlike how it’s spelled throughout the book. Then, there’s the whole saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” That’s because the state itself is the second biggest in the USA. Having gone to college in Waco which is in Central Texas, I can attest to the fact that I could not smell the oil fumes from Midland and Odessa. Lastly, I didn’t think this book should’ve been over 800 pages!

 Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: In the Mood by Glenn Miller – YouTube

Setting : Maine, Florida, Texas

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Stephen King’s The Dead Zone

Read on the couch while watching TV

King, S. (1979). The dead zone. New York: Viking Press. 9780670260775

While reading Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, I realized The Dead Zone he wrote was the same one that inspired the recent TV show starring Anthony Michael Hall. I requested one of the two copies in the system and soon read the book from cover to cover.

Nice guy John Smith is left comatose in October, 1970 by a severe car accident. He comes out of a five year coma with many dead zones in his brain but an uncanny ability to see past and present just by touching a person. When he shakes the hand of a rising politician, he sees doom. What is John Smith to do?

King follows Johnny Smith and a number of other characters through this crazy ride of a story. Previously, I’d read Carrie

and The Green Mile by King. I definitely preferred The Dead Zone to Carrie. Not only was it a riveting story, The Dead Zone also was a capsule which predated me. I found the views on Vietnam, Watergate, and 1970s politics fascinating.

King created clear portraits of his characters. His depictions of bad guys such as Greg Stillson were frightening! Still, Johnny was an authentic hero.

I saw a few episodes of the series which was “based on characters” from the novel. I liked it, too, but wished they hadn’t messed so much with Johnny’s parents, Herb and Vera Smith. C’est la vie!

Three and a Half Out of Five Pearls

Places: Maine, New Hampshire, the United States

Word Bank:

  1. Psychic
  2. Psychometry

For more on Stephen King’s The Dead Zone, check out the following links: