Tuesday, February 14, 2012

11-23-63



Some background that helps in understanding my reaction to this book.

I was born in the fall of 1959.  That in and of itself doesn't seem that unique, but in fact, it caused me to have a specific window on the world, with a specific set of memories.

My lil bro, and The Husband, both born in 1964 have a completely different frame of reference. 

Why so?

Because I remember the day President Kennedy was shot. 

Having just turned 4, I was JUST old enough to be well aware of the gravity of that day. I realize not everyone has many memories from when they were 4, but I very specifically remember that day.  I was home with two of my aunts, both parents being at work, and I can see my Aunt crying, talking on the phone to one of my parents.  I remember the flickering black and white images on the TV in the family room.  In spite of my being only four I knew that this was a world changing event.  All the adults around me and on TV were very upset.  Like everyone around the country, we watched the funeral coverage on TV, me sitting cross legged on the hardwood floor. I knew it was very sad that a bad man had killed our President.  Four years later, when the Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinations happened, this then 8 year old, felt like the world was a very dangerous and upsetting place to be.

As an adult I've read a handful of books on the Kennedy assassination, enough to be familiar with the details, even driven through, then walked around Dealy Plaza in Dallas.  So I jumped at the chance to read this book, when I heard the premise. 

What if someone could go back in time and stop President Kennedy from being killed?  Wouldn't that make the world a better place?  I love books or movies about time travel.  What if we could change the past?

I used to read Stephen King, in the early years of his career, and I loved his writing style.  But then at one point his subject matter seemed to be getting too dark for me, and I stopped buying his novels.

Within the first few pages I was relishing that familiar King writing style.  With in pages I was hooked, and basically, couldn't put the book down.  Though over 800 pages, I read it over the course of 3 days, and immediately called my Dad and had him buy it as well.

I hate to give away too much of the plot, but in essence, a present day high school English teacher is told by the owner of a local diner, that if he goes in the back of the diner, in the store room, there's a portal of sorts, that takes you back to a specific day in 1958.  And apparently, no matter how long you stay, when you come back through the portal, only 2 minutes have passed in the present time.

Plausible?  Of course not.  But then that Stephen King magic works on you, and suddenly the extraordinary and the ordinary collide, and it all seems real.  I loved this book.

For shear entertainment value, this book was one of the best reads I've had in years.  Yes.  Years.  It was a page turner to the very end, and has "movie treatment" written all over it.  King's depiction of early 60's America  is spot on, like taking a trip back in time.

Sure wish I had a gift like King's, to write with just the right amount of description and making characters come alive.  He is a master, and I hope that there are more of these "not so dark" plot lines in the future. 

Wanna travel back in time to a different America?  This book fits that bill.

And of course the question................

Does he stop the shooting???



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