This was my first entry into the Stephen King “genre” and I have been hooked to the tits since I dropped this book. 11/22/63 as a book started really weird and before you get to the third chapter you the book is already taking you on a roller coaster of crazy talks and incomprehensible occurrences. The story is about Jake Epping a High School teacher who saw the chance to time-travel back in time from 2011 to 1958 to save one of his students from a ghastly accident, save the JFK, but in the process, he fell in love and his life changed forever.
Jake Epping is a normal guy in his mid-thirties who just left a weird marriage, living alone with his cat and just living his life as a High English school teacher. Jake as a High school teacher occasionally teaches GED classes (kind of like adult education), and on this faithful day after his students turned in their essay, he was shocked to read a real life story from one of his students who had a life changing experience while he was young, this student was Harry Dunning, a janitor in the school where Jake teaches.
Right after Jake read Harry Dunning’s essay about how his father killed his whole family, his mom, little sister, his two older brothers with a hammer, while Harry Dunning was saved by a neighbour who used a shovel to knock-out the murderous father. Jake was touched by this story and he cried every time he remembered it.
The Rabbit-hole was first discovered by Al Templeton who stumble upon it while he was walking into the pantry. As he was walking in, he felt like he lost his balance and suddenly was slipping through the floor and coming out in another place and time, which turned out to be the year 1958.
Al Templeton introduced Jake to the “Rabbit-hole” with the chance to go back in time to change the future which was going to put the fate of the world, reality and the universe as a whole on the precipice of complete destruction unless the changed they made in the past were reset back to its normal flow.
The Rabbit-hole had one serious peculiarity, wherever you use the hole to go back to the past, two things are noticable. One was that no matter how many mins, days, weeks, years and even centuries you spend in the past, it always counts as “two minutes” immediately you are back to your time, and secondly whenever you leave the past even if you had just finished spending ten years in the past, immediately you return, the time you have spent and everything you have done resets, because everything resets back to 1958.
Which was why when Al went back to the past to save JFK spend more than 2 years in the past before his cancer got worse, when he came back to the present, and told Jake about it and convinced Jake that saving JFK was the best thing for the world, and Jake believed him.
When Jake first tried the Rabbit-hole he could believe he was not in a dream and not until he found that would really die if he died in the past. Jake accepted the responsibility Al entrusted him and decided he was going to save JFK, but first, he was going to save the family of Harry Dunning from the gruesome death they experience before he would save JFK.
Jake changed the past and save all the people he set out to save, but he did not have it easy to accomplish, for example, when he was going to kill Harry Dunning’s father in order to stop him from killing his family. The time he also about to stop Oswald from acting, he always had something hindering him, it was too mysterious and this nearly incapacitated him for life.
Jake saved JFK, but on getting back to the present, he realised that the lives he saved in the past especially JFKs’ changed the future in a terrible way. The future he later saw was holding on to its dear life with most places seen as radiation zones since countries now nuked each other and America was not spared too. After seeing what all his changes in the past had caused, Jake decided he was going to reset it back and not save JFK or any other person from the past anymore.
one of the major themes of the book was how Jake fell in love with Sadie Dunhill and how she got shot and died while they were trying to stop Oswald from shooting JFK.
The book was absolutely awesome for me and I enjoyed every bit of it all, although I enjoyed the Jake George Amberson Epping and Sadie Dunhill love story more. Also, I loved how the characters developed, although I felt like Al Templeton taking the pill and dying living Jake to shoulder the responsibility of saving the world alone was cheating. But I loved Al’s sense of humour, his sarcasm was hilarious too.
The dark humour in the book even though subtle was hilarious to me. And the best name I found in the book was “Silent Mike (holy Mike)” and I caught myself singing the real song “silent night, holy night”.