Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday's Not Too Forgotten Book Guest Post: Mildred Perkins on 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Mildred reported on her reading the King novel to the Horror List at Indiana University:

I finished reading this book, and though the content is only marginally horror, the author can stand a little more discussion I guess.  The first two hundred pages are interesting and occasionally exciting, and the last two hundred pages the same.  The middle three hundred, however, was a real slog.  It was an important set up to the end, of course, but man that was difficult.  I’m sure most of you know the premise, that a thirty-something Maine English teacher decides to save the world by using a hidden time portal to go back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination.  In an epilogue, King says that he wrote the treatment for the thing (14 single-spaced pages) in 1972, but didn’t have the resources for needed massive research and felt that it was just too close to the event and so he shelved it for most of a half century.

The end of the book was not exactly what I expected.  Some of it I had been predicting for about five hundred pages, and even though I knew the action surrounding the assassination would be tight, I was still impressed with that part.  Very tense.  Well done.  But then the denouement…  It was both what I expected and then a whole lot more.  Basically he took it a lot further than I thought he was going to, and the very, very end (after Jackson’s “end” of The Return of the King, it behooves one to say which ending you’re talking about) actually was very poignant.  I don’t remember ever feeling that with a King novel before, so bravo.

I actually find myself wishing they’d make a movie or mini-series from this.  And it also makes me want to find my copy of It and read it again for the first time in years and years, because he spends some time in Derry, and that was one of my favorite parts.

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For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.


Steve Oerkfitz said...

It is going to be filmed as a show for Hulu starring James Franco.
I have to agree with you loved the start and end but the middle was terrible. Also caught when piece of slang out of place. A student says "you rock". Not in use at this time.
As far as rereading IT. A good book with a terrible ending.

George said...

My wife's Book Club loved 11/22/63. I have it on my Read Sometime stack. Over the years, I've been more impressed by Stephen King's short stories than his long, long novels.

Todd Mason said...

And I don't recall Derry in the King stories and novels I've read or tried...though I did live in Londonderry, NH, not too far from Boston nor southern Maine, and my lifeline to my beloved fiction magazines was an independent bookstore (before Waldenbooks and B. Dalton had become the force they would, and Crown and the others would follow) in nearby, larger Derry.