A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
On November 22, 2013 it will be 50 years since John F. Kennedy was shot. What if someone could go back in time and prevent it?
This tantalizing question is the premise of Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 and it is one heckuva idea. Most people have wondered “What if…” about events in their own lives and the lives of others: “What if I had married my high school sweetheart?” “What if my husband had taken that job?” In this novel, Al Templeton, the owner of a diner in Lisbon Falls, Maine, takes this to a whole different level: “What if Kennedy had not been killed? What if someone could go back in time and keep it from happening?” Al is in a unique position to raise this question because he has been able to time travel between 2011 and 1958, buying hamburger for his restaurant at yesteryear prices. His goals are much loftier, however; he wants to stop Kennedy’s assassination, but has become too ill to do it himself.
Enter Al’s friend Jake Epping, a 35-year-old divorced high school English teacher. Jake is at a point in his life that makes him susceptible to Al’s proposition and he quickly becomes part of 1958, a time he never knew but finds himself liking, a lot. Food is tastier, cars are cooler and life without cellphones and 24/7 connectivity has much to recommend it. And, then there’s school librarian Sadie Dunhill who may give Jake a chance at true love.This great story becomes even more better in the audio version: Craig Wasson does an excellent job of narrating the twists and turns that make up the 25 disc book; his New England accents are particularly enjoyable.
The logistics and consequences of time travel are themselves fascinating notions. Combining them with the mystery and intrigue that led up to Oswald’s moment in history make for a book that is as thought-provoking as it is spell-binding.
Review by Christine