Judging the Cover: I love it!
Plot according to 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-stoppingly suspenseful.
My Thoughts: I had a love/dislike relationship with this book while reading it. There were times when I was loving the story and was engrossed in the world and then there were times when I wanted to put the book down permanently because I was getting lost in all the talk about political figures and situations that I was not familiar with. By the end, I was feeling very satisfied (partly because I finished the massive 849 page beast of a book) with how everything was presented.
The Good: Stephen King writes like no one else and I consider him one of the most gifted authors of our time. He tells a story with so much detail that the reader feels like they are a part of the world he has created. The characters were rich and the story was woven together very well. I am not generally a fan of romance in books but I fell in love with the romance in this story. The relationship developed very realistically and it was true love.
I also learned a lot about the Kennedy assassination and the events surrounding it while reading this book. I found myself googling many of the characters in the book to learn more and also to check the credibility of the story (I found that Stephen King really did his research for this book).
This book was different from some of the other Stephen King books that I’ve read as it wasn’t scary. Unfortunately, a lot of people have pigeon holed him as a horror genre author and that is not true. He does write some very scary and disturbing books but not all of his books are in that category. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the Kennedy assassination, particularly to those who lived through it.
I really felt like I was in 1963 while reading this book, there is something magical about the story. The time travel element was also very fascinating. I found myself thinking about the butterfly effect throughout the day when I wasn’t reading the book.
The ending was also perfect. While reading it, I had a lot of possibilities in my mind of how it would end and King surprised me with an ending that was better than any that I had envisioned. The ending was my favorite part of this book.
What I didn’t Like: The fact that Stephen King is an amazing story teller and loves details is a double-edged sword for me. There were times when the details became too numerous and I would lose interest. I also had some trouble at times keeping the characters straight. There are a lot of characters and sometimes a character from the beginning of the book would be mentioned some 300 pages later. I will try to remember to write down each character and a brief description the next time I pick up a Stephen King book…this would be very helpful.
Personally, I felt that this book was just too long. It is more of a personal preference, but I don’t tend to like books over 400 pages because I start to tire and become bored with the story. Some people love big books, so this may not be an issue for them.
My rating: It was very difficult for me to rate this book but I have decided to give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it and I’m very happy to have read it.