Review – 11/22/63 by Stephen King

10644930For those that don’t know, I’ve just returned from 12 days in the Caribbean – don’t give me that look! Anyway, it gave me plenty of long lazy days to catch up on reading! One of those books that I read was 11/23/63 by Stephen King. I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for a very long time, and finally decided to read it. I’m so glad that I took that plunge!
Now, this isn’t the stereotypical horror writing that King is famous for. This story is more along the lines of his, what I call, “random novels”. What do I mean by this? Well, his novels that don’t necessarily fit into one specific genre, such as ‘The Body’, ‘Dolores Claiborne’ or ‘Shawshank Redemption’. I knew the basic premise and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to read a book that involved time travel. This typical SciFi trope is a very small part of the story – actually, it isn’t. What I’m trying to say is that it isn’t presented in a normal time travel kind of way. It’s integral to the story, and yet it isn’t a big in-your-face event.
Now we all know that King is a brilliant and seasoned writer, so I’m not going to go into how good that part is. I’m going to talk about the characters. King is known for his characters; Annie Wilkes, Carrie White, Andy Dufresne, are all classic characters that have stood the test of time (yes, I know that was a god awful cliche to use, but when the cap fits…). I have a feeling that the protagonist of 11/23/63, Jake Epping, will be bestowed the same fate. King has the skill for creating characters that you can instantly relate to in some way, even if they are the most evil and deplorable people. They are real people. Jake Epping is a real person who is suddenly thrown into this surreal situation with very real consequences.
Let’s discuss for a minute the moral of the plot: If you had the ability to travel back into the past and change an awful event from happening, would you jump at the chance? Would you perhaps assassinate Adolf Hitler? Warn the captain of the Titanic of ice bergs? Prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Sounds pretty amazing, huh? Well, on the other hand, there is also the theory of the Butterfly Effect – change a single thing a million miles away and catastrophic events will occur elsewhere at a different time. This is the dilemma faced by Jake. The idea of saving the president sounds great, but he also has to wrestle with potential consequences.

If you’re not really a fan of King’s horror writing, then go ahead and give this one a go – for only $2.99, you will not be disappointed!

’till next time,

Pegasus

11/22/63: A Novel

Review – LIFE The Day Kennedy Died: Fifty Years Later: LIFE Remembers the Man and the Moment by the editors of LIFE.

17333556I am a self-confessed conspiracy nut, and make no apologies for it.  Saying that however, I am an intelligent conspiracy nut – I like to review the evidence and make my own conclusions.  Now, we’ve all seen in the last few weeks a flurry of books being hastily released in order to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.   Most of these have no merit, and are purely released to garner some money and attention.   This is not to say that this book released by LIFE magazine isn’t making money – you still have to pay for it – but I would rather pay for another JFK book by a respected author/collaboration such as LIFE magazine.

Before we get into the review proper, I must warn you that this is a book with media – the original, unedited Zapruder film; it is only downloadable to tablets, Fires, etc… I’m not sure how the DTB edition deals with it.

This book covers events from the emigration of the Kennedy family from Ireland, right up until the horrible day in 1963.  We are treated with many previously unseen personal photos, some in colour, some black and white, with a running commentary.   As it is told in chronological order, there is a sense of a real narrative here, and it actually makes the read all the more shocking.  Like I said above, I am conspiracy/history buff, so I thought I had known pretty much all there was to know about JFK, but I was wrong!  LIFE magazine has a reputation for preserving history through photographs and articles, and I learnt a few new interesting things last night.

Due to the linear narrative, when it comes time to watch the Zapruder film, it really does pack quite the punch.  Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still audibly recoiled and felt a bit sick.   This was real life, with real people, and EVERYONE was affected somehow.  That is proved in the chapter that collects the “where I was on that day” stories from random people from reporters, to Barbara Streissand, to Bill O’Reily.   The Kennedy’s may have been economically out of touch with many Americans, but even when you have staunch republicans, and Russian leaders say that they were dismayed when died, you know that he was someone unique, and someone to look up to.

~ Pegasus.

Buy it here:  LIFE The Day Kennedy Died: Fifty Years Later: LIFE Remembers the Man and the Moment<