Audiobook Review: 11/22/63

I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this book! I always thought that Stephen King was all about horror! Carrie, Christine, Cujo. No, not for me. But the story sounded interesting, I needed an audiobook and it was available at the WPL. 30 disks long and I was completely engrossed the entire time. My new opinion of Mr. King– what a wonderful story-teller!

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What if you could go back in time and change history? Would you things change for the better? Or would you make things worse? That is the conundrum that high school teacher Jake Epping finds himself in when his pal Al, from the dinner, shows him a “rabbit hole” into 1959. The plan is to stop the Kennedy assassination. Time travel– you say??? I know! It sounds cheesy but I can assure you– it was certainly not!

After much persuasion and desperation on Al’s part, Jake agrees to go back in time, prove Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone (they are only 95% sure) and save JFK. But the assassination is still over 4 years away so Jake has some time on his hands. He assumes an alternate identity (George Amberson) and busies himself with saving some lives, teaching some high school and falling in love! The details of the life and times of the 1960s was just brilliant! King goes into so much detail– the morals, the racism, the smells, the sounds, the innocence, the naivety, the flavours, the smoking, the music and the dancing– it was just like being there. The love story between “George” and Sadie (an awkward librarian he meets while teaching) just took me to another place and time! They “courted”, they danced the Lindy Hop, they broke up for a little while, they ate pound cake! I found them absolutely charming and routed for their love to conquer all!

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Craig Wasson did an absolutely FANTASTIC job narrating this book. From Al’s craggy cancer voice to Marina Oswald’s broken English to JFK’s Bostonian drawl! So freaking amazing! The audiobook was 30 CDs LONG (I had to renew 3 times from the library to finish it) but it was definitely one of those narrations that made you take the long way home. I find myself missing Jake, Sadie, Deek, Harry and super cool Mz. Mimi when I get into my car now that it is over. It’s funny– the whole time I listened to was on pins and needles about whether or not Jake would actually save Kennedy and I could not wait to see what King had in store for a world where Kennedy survived– but that was such a small part of this giant book that it seemed almost irrelevant! The rest of the story was interesting enough to stand on its own and I could have listened forever! 4 stars from me and a promise to try more King in the future (but wow! are his books ever long!)

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