11/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While I'm really glad I read it, I didn't always enjoy the reading of it. To me, it's over written. Every thing and every action is completely described leaving nothing to the imagination of the reader. The first few chapters especially needed to be run through the editing process a couple more times. I much prefer authors who know how to provide all necessary details while leaving enough out for the reader to be fully intellectually engaged. Not every question needs to be answered.
The second thing not completely engaging about this book is the main character. I never sympathized or identified with him in any meaningful way. But there is something of a literary tradition of uninteresting main characters. Dickens' David Copperfield, who's interesting as a child but boring as an adult, is my favorite example. And like David Copperfield, Stephen King's other characters are all interesting, three-dimensional people readers will have no problem identifying with and caring about.
The other thing Stephen King has done incredibly well is research the events leading up to and after the main event. The movements, history, and people around Lee Harvey Oswald are all brought to vivid life and is, alone, worth reading the book. This book also brings the era, 1958 - 1963, to life in incredible detail putting the reader into the middle of American culture; food, music, clothes, cars, the easy hospitality and respect, the clean air, the quiet nights, the mills belching toxins into the air 24/7, the restrooms marked Ladies, Gentlemen, and Colored with an arrow pointing around back to a board with a hole in it over a ditch. Except for that one mention everything else in the book involves white people.
Spoiler alert: While the ending generally rings true, the changes after Kennedy is saved seem extreme; world wide earthquakes? the rending of space/time? the collapse of the universe? I found all that hard to buy.
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