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,


11/22/63: A Novel

Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

16130549The day this book came out I heard a BBC Radio review of it. The reviewer ended her review stating that they believed that this book would hurt Stephen King’s reputation….well talk about a ruined day! I am always scared to read a new book from an author I love. What if it’s a complete dud and I hate it? It’s harder to remember a great passionate love for a book when you read a few that are total rubbish from the same author. Should it matter? No. Maybe not. But it does. Think about it…how many times have you said, “well, I used to love xxxxxx but I hate their later works, so I don’t even bother any more….Do you ever spend sleepless nights pondering all the great reads you might have missed just because of one bad book? Aw, co’mon….I’m the ONLY one??????? Psssffftttttttt……

So, anyway, I was hesitant now to start a book that I had *really* been looking forward to….all because I happened to hear a random stranger on the radio piss and moan about how boring this book was at parts….SERIOUSLY?????? I’ve been a Stephen King fan for over 25 years!!!! Yet, this random stranger made me doubt that love! This is why I avoid reviews (well, except for Muse Reviews….we offer only the BEST and most honest reviews EVER…no! REALLY we do!!!!)

Well, let me tell you, Doctor Sleep grabbed me from the very first paragraph and I tell you now….it had me by my throat and it did not let go until the very last….and I tell you now….I am still a bit breathless from the whole experience…..

However, that crazy woman from BBC Radio stayed close to my mind. As I read this book, I had to stop and think about Stephen King as well. Sure, there are one or two authors I follow because I have learned that I love just about everything they write….blog posts, reviews, epic novels, whatever…..but it’s not often that I am wondering what the hell is going on in their mind as they are writing the book I am reading…..I don’t mean, wondering how they ever came up with the story, or the wonderful characters….I was wondering what actual thoughts of failure or success SK was pondering. How was he able to put his own thoughts of what this book would mean to his readers and his career to the side and actually write this novel. What sort of discipline that must have taken!

With all the hoopla over this book, I know that SK has been a bit anxious about how it would be received. Any one of the dozens of interviews with him leading up to this novel will tell you he’s been nervous. Especially since “The Shining” is so well known……Why wouldn’t he be? Think about it……take a moment out of your busy day….go on then…..close your eyes……turn off that telly…..and think of one single word…just one…


What do you see? What do you feel? What do you know?

Stephen King did that! With a single word! How f**king brilliant is that? Seriously…..How many people in this life time get one word that instantly brings such a strong memory to you? ONE. SINGLE. WORD!!!!

So how do you top that? How many of King’s works have been pure and magical brilliance? How many have been…errrrr….rubbish? How does he handle that? Is he able to shut that off? At the end of this novel he puts the date of May 1, 2011 – July 17, 2012 as the dates this one was written….of course there is probably no way to measure just how many minutes, hours, days, even years that little Danny Torrance played in and out of King’s mind.

If you think “The Shining” scared you, well how do you reckon it has scared SK all these years? Who haunts him the most? Jack with his alcoholism that AA was not readily available to help him though. Especially knowing SK’s own battle with the disease…..Was it little Danny, aka “Doc”, whom was a victim by no fault of his own. Or is the complete success of “The Shining” itself that haunts him the most?

The fact that this book was so wonderful, well it’s just amazing. It wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t a rehash of the first book. Most importantly, it was so NOT a disappointment. It’s been a few days since I finished it and I am still thinking about it! I am still savoring bits and pieces in my mind. I wish I was STILL reading it!!!

SK did little Doc proud in this novel. He also makes amends to any wrong he might have inadvertently caused Jack Torrance in “The Shining”. Most importantly, for me, SK also manages to do what I love the very most from any author….he ends it in such a way that the reader can walk away with a smile on their face…or the story can be revisited years later….he leaves you, the reader, completely happy with a closure yet leaves a huge, elaborately carved thick wooden door there….it’s closed at the moment….there’s no way we can see beyond it….we don’t have the key to enter….and really…. it’s lovely to just look at….but….if by some chance…..SK decides to open it at a future date, we, the readers, will be thrilled to once again let him hold our hand and guide us through that magic that is contained within his mind that he sometimes shares with us…..just please….Someone! Anyone! Don’t forget the bloody torch! It can get scary sometimes where he leads us….and no way am I riding in a RV to get there either….just saying….


Buy it now Doctor Sleep