This falls into the category of: Intriguing concept. Poor execution.
I haven’t read anything by Stephen King before, which is probably blasphemous, but I’ve seen several of his adaptations and figured that 11/22/63 was a good place to start, since I’m not a big horror fan, but I was wrong. This was an overwrought, bloated mess of a book.
“Humans were built to look back; that’s why we have that swivel joint in our necks”
There are too many things going on in this book. Too many things that I could have slashed out of the final draft and not effect the integrity of the story King is trying to tell.
First of all, I wish the relationship between Al and Jake had been more established; who goes on a five year long mission (to kill someone) because the nice man who serves you cheap burgers once or twice a week asked you to?
Second of all, in five years of world events the first big catalyst for change you come across is JFK? Why not take Castro out in ’59 or prevent the Dalai Lama from being exiled or I don’t know, why not take your 95% certainty to Russia and shoot Oswald before he made it back stateside? Couldn’t fake a passport in the land before TSA?
If the JFK premise was the most important, which is fine, then why couldn’t the rabbit hole open into 1960 or ’61, shave a few years off to keep my from wanting to rip my hair off as I limp over the finish line. While it was an interesting aspect to have the timeline start anew each time you crossed over having the Derry storyline repeated and all the Caroline Poolin stuff was just too much! And then in Florida and Louisiana and then Dallas (which, I am from Dallas and calm the fuck down with the hate dude).
And oh my God, then we get to Jodie and all the Sadie shit gets going. Ok, you want your main character to fall in love while in the ’60s, sure that makes sense plot wise, let’s add some potential drama. So your character’s ’60s girlfriend has trust issues after her psycho ex husband’s behavior so she dumps the main character, well actually makes a shit ton of sense, but then they reconcile- sure, happiness all around… But all the other shit. Oh my God I need 3 days of my life back for those chapters. Sadie’s ex attacks her? Carves her with a butcher’s knife? Months of rehab! Confessing you’re from the mother fucking future… Oh and George /Jake’s gets attacked because instead of making several small bets over the course of five fucking years he chooses to make 3 high roller bets and effectively shoots a flare gun saying “I am an anomaly!” (or harmony) into the air… Oh and then the ensuing weeks of rehab for him- kill me now please.
You want something nice? I liked Deke and Mimi.
The climatic 11/22/63 date with destiny, when Jake/George and Sadie make their way into Dallas to stop the assassination? Two car wrecks. An attempting mugging. A price gouging for a crutch because J/G has a bum knee. Because of course he has a bum knee. Two car thefts (made by our heroes) and countless other irritating, unnecessary road blocks. Coco Chanel once said “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” King should have looked at this section in the mirror and taken 4 things off.
“I didn’t vote for him, but I happen to be an American, and that makes him not just the president but my president.”
So Jake eventually saves JFK, but Sadie dies in the process- I am not sad- and while he is under suspicion for colluding with Oswald for 30 seconds the FBI pays George/Jake to disappear- how convenient since he planned to go back to the future ASAP anyway! He gets stopped by a Time Cop, whose partner sucked at his job, who explains that time is many strands and Al and Jake fucked it up with each presumed reset.
So our protagonist goes back to the future and it is a dystopian wasteland because, of course, JFK’s death was imperative to the nation’s fault lines?
The past harmonizes? The past can jump off a cliff.
So then we go to the past one more time and reset it to how it was nine million hours ago. You may be asking yourself why I stuck with this one. I, too, wonder why I stuck with it. My best guess is that I’d already invested about 12 hours (I listened to the audio) before it became really unbearable and I couldn’t throw all that time away.
One more nice thing, it is very well researched.
I HATED THIS BOOK!