11/22/63 – Stephen King

Posted 16 January, 2013 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 42 Comments


Title: 11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Craig Wasson
Published: 2011 Pages: 842
Audio Duration: 30 hours; 44 min
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 5/5

In Short: Jake Epping, a school teacher in a sleepy town, is persuaded to enter a time portal by a dying man who has just returned from the 1960s in an attempt to prevent the assassination of JFK.

Why I Read It: Work book club. I could tell you that I would have read this one anyway, but it probably would have taken me years to actually get to it.

Thoughts in General: A 5/5 rating is elusive for me. A book has to have something and it’s hard for me to define what that something is but this book definitely has it. I could rave about how well defined the main characters are—I felt as if I knew them personally and I grew to love them (plus a bonus for not having too many characters). I could go on and on about the writing and how King has a tendency to sweep me up in the action of the moment. I could talk about how the pieces—the nuances and the details—of this book all fit together perfectly. Not to mention that the time travel, the prospect of saving JFK from assassination, and the potential changes to the future are all so dang fascinating!

But all of those things don’t add up to a 5/5 for me. Beyond the characters and the plot and the writing is an author’s ability to connect with the heart of his reader and Stephen King did this for me with 11/22/63. Reading 11/22/63 ended up being a very physical and emotional read for me. There were times when I was so anxious for what was about to happen that I couldn’t stand to read anymore…and yet I couldn’t put the book down. And times still when my heart ached for the characters and other times when my heart filled with love and laughter. While there were some droning parts of the book (some of you might argue these parts equaled more than half of the book), I loved every second of it.

Bottom Line: I highly recommend 11/22/63. Perhaps I am being too glowing in my review but I don’t care (dammit—those 5/5 books don’t come along often for me so I’ll gush if I want to). Not everyone will love this book, though I think that most of you will enjoy it. I have heard that some people hate it but I think that must mean they have a heart of stone. And if you’re afraid of the politics or the time travel, don’t be. This isn’t a political book and while the time travel is unusual it won’t make your head hurt too much (I say just go with it). Ultimately it is a story of love and who doesn’t love that? Ok—there’s that history bit for those of you who don’t love love.

I feel like this post is too short. Like I’m not doing my feelings justice. It was a beautiful book that will stick with me for a long time.

Note on the Audio: This was my first time listening to Craig Wasson and at first I wasn’t sure that his voice was right but a couple hours into the audio I had forgotten all about whether or not I thought he was right because I was so immersed. Wasson was passionate and emotional and his accents were realistic. I can’t say that this audio was as good as Steven Weber’s narration of IT, but it was pretty dang fantastic. And this is the first audio in a long time (maybe ever) where my mind stuck with the audio instead of thinking about this that and the other. I highly recommend listening to this audio.

By the way, 11/22/63 is still only $3.99 for the Kindle

So what say you? Have you read this one? What did you think? Have I convinced you to read it yet? Huh Huh Huh???

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase 11/22/63 or anything else through these links, I will receive an itsy bitsy (but much appreciated) kick back.

42 Responses to “11/22/63 – Stephen King”

  1. I’ve never read anything by Stephen King, largely because I don’t like scary stories. I guess this is completely different so maybe I can finally discover his writing! So glad you enjoyed it so much Trish, it’s such a great experience to get emotionally involved in a book!

  2. Well I probably told you that Sandy (You’ve Gotta Read This) had to shake me (virtually speaking) to keep me reading this in the beginning, but by the time I finished, I was sobbing into my pillow and listing it as one of the year’s ten best! :–)

  3. Hearing about the horror fantasy aspects of King’s work has put me off reading it for now, but this looks like one I’d be interested in as I’d really like to get an idea of his writing. And what a plot, trying to change such a piece of history.

  4. Who cares if you gush over a book?! That’s 5/5 should make us do. Sounds interesting and the fact that King makes you flip pages is a good thing. But you know me and my King rule :)
    Thanks Trish.

  5. I could tell from many of your recent tweets how much you were enjoying this one and it had me itching to pick it up. I’m currently looking for some excellent audios for the commute to work and this one will last a good long while. And sometimes you just need to gush about something you love – no harm in it!

  6. Hmm…I might have to put this on my list, since you gave it such high praise! I’m a little afraid of reading King books, thought I did read Misery, and it wasn’t scary (though disturbing, for sure). The length is a little scary too! :)

  7. I’ve read this and enjoyed it but it’s not one of my favorites, even if the author is. Time travel and politics, hmm, that was a weird combo for me. Still, it’s Stephen King and the man can write such amazing stories, it’s always a pleasure to read them, even if you’re not that crazy about the subject.

  8. I MAY just have to put this on my priority list. I’ve been meaning to read it forever, I have a copy on my shelf, but the fact that it’s King (haven’t ever read him) and it’s so freaking long scare me. But glowing reviews do have a way of convincing me…

  9. “Ok—there’s that history bit for those of you who don’t love love.” <—That just completely cracked me up! :P

    This has been sitting on my shelf since it first came out, but I honestly just don’t know when I’ll get to it. There’s just too darn many books sitting on the bookshelves…

  10. I really liked this too. I read the print version, and I have to agree with some others about it rambling a bit sometimes – though I wouldn’t say it was even close to half the book – bu either way, I still loved it!

  11. Ti

    I was more critical of this one and you know how much I love King. The romance didn’t do it for me and I thought it was going to be more about the assassination than what it was actually about but the writing was still top-notch.

  12. You are TOTALLY entitled to some gushing. You’re right about those 5/5 books being elusive. They don’t come along very often over here either. So do you find that you’re burning out on King at all? I can’t read too many by the same author all in a row.

  13. I’ve read him in the past but the length of this one has put me off. I can read several others for the same page count so it gets put off. Your review has tipped the scales towards it though. And $3.99 for the Kindle is great.


  14. I loved 11/22/63 so much. Just everything about it, the characters, the time travel, the plot, King’s writing. I have it in audio too, and will probably give that a listen this year. My husband, who’s not a fiction reader, decided on a whim to pick it up when I was finished with it, and read it through to the end. He enjoyed it, too. Afterwards, he looked at me with a somewhat dazed look and said, “I thought Stephen King wrote horror”. :)

  15. Oh curse you I was sure I would never pick up a book, any book, with time travel. Now I HAVE to read this one!

  16. I have been wanting to read another Stephen King for a while now, and this one was tempting (you had me at time travel), but I got scared by the lenght to be honest. But now you really make me want to try it!

  17. If I would just suck it up and buy this one, I probably would have read it already and loved it. But I’m dumb and I don’t want to buy any Stephen King books so I decided it was a library book and now I have missed out for far too long! Blah! I need to resolve this soon.

  18. Hi Trish. 5 stars! I have only read the one Stephen King book, The Stand, during the read-a-long, and liked it so much more than I had imagined. Since then I have been meaning to read another. I am adding this to my Amazon wishlist right now. Thanks for the great review.

  19. Saw this on Amazon for Kindle for only 3.99… so I bought it based solely on your recent gushing! It never really stood out to me as one that needed reading… but now… I guess so! (P.S. Even with it being only 3.99, still it’s the most expensive book I’ve bought so far for my Kindle!)

  20. This one didn’t really work for me when I read it. I liked it, but I think I had different expectations when I went into it. I wanted more of the JFK storyline and less of Derry (I think I would have felt differently if I’d read IT first). I liked the love story, but when I was reading it, I felt like too much time was spent on it. Gah! Everyone else loved it so I feel like I missed something.

  21. Les

    I’m convinced. Now to decide whether to read it on my husband’s Nook, my iPad or listen to the audio…

  22. I read this despite being extremely wary of Stephen King but really wanted to read the time travel part. I was blown away! And I think it read very fast for its page count; such accessible writing and totally engrossing plot. I adored the love story pieces more than I would ever have expected. and (as Trish knows but I share here for everyone else), I’ve since gone on to read The Stand, It, and will soon attempt The Shining. NEVER EVER would have predicted this. Never.

  23. This was my first Stephen King novel (in 2012) and thought it was very good. I’m glad it made it to a 5/5 rating for you! I get weary when reading or listening to long books. That’s my problem though, not the book or author’s.

  24. I’m glad to see you enjoyed this one. I loved it so much (read it on my Nook) that I went out and purchased the hard copy version for my dad!