Monday, June 5, 2017

Review: 11/22/63

When I was a teenager, I went through a huge Stephen King phase, reading one right after the other, watching the movies/mini-series on television, and impatiently waiting for the next book to come out.  My favorites included The Stand, Carrie, Pet Cemetery, The Langoliers, It, and Needful Things among others.  As I got older, I fell out of this habit and moved on to my career, kids, etc.  Up until about a month ago, it had been years since I read a King novel.  Why did I suddenly go back?  I'm not really sure what made my final decision but I remember seeing a post on Twitter about 11/22/63 and then someone I was with also mentioned it.  After reading the synopsis and a few rave reviews, I decided to get it on audio for my morning commute to work.

Oh my goodness... I have been away too long Mr. King.  I have to admit, since this wasn't his usual horror genre, I wasn't really expecting to fall in love with this story, but I did.  I fell hard about two chapters into it and I found that I didn't ever want to get out of the car. The narrator did an excellent job reading and I hung on every word.  You won't find any spoilers here but I will share a few thoughts.  

First, there is the perfect balance between history and fantasy here. I am not a nonfiction fan but the factual history in the story was so interesting that I found myself wanting to know if Oswald was the real assassin.  I even looked up more information and photos of the time once I finished listening. I love fantasy so the time travel aspect of the story gave it the twist that kept me listening even when I wasn't driving.  Very well done.  Next, I absolutely loved the connections to other King novels, especially when the main character went to Derry, Maine, where he actually had the opportunity to meet characters from one of the books I mentioned above.  This was written flawlessly and I actually saved the clip and listened to it a few times because it was so delightfully creepy. Finally, the story had me feeling emotions all across the board.  I laughed, I cried, I felt empathy, fear, relief, stress, love, and hate right along with the characters.  When a story can have that affect, it's a winner for me.

I both wanted to know the end and didn't simultaneously, but when it came down to the last 30 minutes of the audio, I was so satisfied with the ending that I both teared up and started talking to my car radio.  The people passing me on the highway probably thought I was nuts but I didn't care.

What a great story.  I'm so happy that I decided to give it a chance.

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