If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?
Epping 35 teaches high school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries
reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of childhood Halloween
massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a
secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to
prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John
F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the
cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock n roll, Negro
discrimination, and freeway gas guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake
lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey
Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school
librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?
This book is long, long, looooooong. It is 866 pages long - the equivalent of 2 1/2 or 3 normal books. I felt like I was never going to finish it and I didn't feel like it needed to be quite as long as it was. There were certainly parts that dragged for me a bit. But that is the absolute worst thing I can say about it.
Time travel is one of my favorite plot devices and I think it is really intriguing that this book takes a real life world changing event and fictionally tries to change the outcome via time travel. Stephen King is the master of horror, but this is not a horror tale in the true sense, although there are some malevolent forces apparently at work here. It is a very complicated action, political thriller, science fiction, and romance novel. I admit I had a little trouble keeping track of some of the characters and sometimes had to pause to reflect on exactly who they were when they were mentioned again later in the book.
It raises a lot of good points about the butterfly effect (also known as the ripple effect) of time travel and how we really just don't know the far-reaching consequences that each and every tiny detail of our daily lives can have.
The plot is simple, go back in time and try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. But the story is very complicated, because to do that Jake Epping has to live in the past for five years before that momentous day arrives. There are many wrongs he feels the need to right along the way, and yet he needs to be careful of that butterfly effect.
While the ending of the book might not be all that humanity might hope for, it is a very satisfying one. Well done Stephen King for tackling such a difficult topic and showing us how you might imagine it would play out.
If you have the time to devote to a book of this length I highly recommend it.
Whether you have read this book or not please tell me - do you think preventing John F. Kennedy's assassination would make the world a better place today? Why, or why not?
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