As some of you may have recognised at the date, this novel is based on JFK’s assassination in Dallas, Texas on that sunny Novemeber day. Stephens King’s novel three words is beautiful, horrifying and magical as Jake Epping (also known as George Amberson) embarks on a mission to save Kennedy’s life in 63.
Al Templeton is a dying man, and a man Jake doesn’t know all too well, however on his last wish he shows Jake something to this day he’ll never forget, what Al called, a rabbit-hole. A hole into the past that takes you back to 1958 in Maine every time, and every time is the first time.
What transpires in this colosseum of a book at 860 pages is an adventure that will leave you gasping for air at chapter intervals. The era that George Amberson (rabbit-hole alias) is one of nostalgia and discovery. It’s not hard to see that Stephen King not only lived in this era, but cherishes it. Indeed George slowly does.
During the narrative George moves around from place to place, putting the occasional large bet on a result he knew was coming and working as a teacher (his actual profession in the present). As the narrative progresses, George comes to realise that the past repeats itself, and that harmonies erupt in the past that he changes with every move he makes changing the future, the bigger the change, the harder the past tries to fight him. The past does not want to be changed .
It’s George’s move to Jodie, Texas where the story transforms into beauty. As George slowly comes to love his life in Jodie and makes good friends with Miz Mimi, Deke’s wife and Ellie Dockerty who all work for the school. Soon a new librarian who is soon to become a member of the staff at this school comes to a BBQ with the all the school staff present. Due to Mimi’s persistence, George welcomes the new gal in a very comical mishap as George’s hand rests on her breasts whilst catching the woman by the name of Sadie before connecting with the ground.
The characters that fill this story stun you time and again by how in depth they are. They are characters who will do anything and everything for each other because they love each other. Each has a past and Sadies is one of a terrible marriage and a virgin status into her late twenties. George is gentle with her and they enjoy dancing, famously to ‘In The Mood’ Glenn Miller. Eventually Sadie is ready for poundcake….
What makes this story of a normal man trying to change the world so interesting, is what set out to be a thriller, a nervous ride ends up being a love story with a mission on the side. Their love is beautiful and they know that they are the best things that have ever happened to them.
George tries his best to live in Dallas keeping very close tabs on Oswald as he moves in once across the road from him and underneath him with mid century listening devices. Love is one of the strongest things in the world, and due to Sadie and George’s, George slowly spills the beans on who he is and why he is really here and what he must do, but the harmonies are out to get him, harmonies are sometimes confused with deja vu or coincidences, but they aren’t they are far far more dangerous. remember, the past does not want to be changed.
The final act of the novel is one that you will no doubt read is as short a time possible, like a Hitchcock thriller, things unravvel and their situations grows with uncertainty and fear. Due to the harmonies attempting to stop Goerge from stopping the past, he is almost killed, and after a very long road to recovery, his time is short. The journey from his crappy house on Mercedes street to the School Book Depository is one of obstacles and dismay. Sadies death is one that has shook the readers world, in complete disbelief, yet really we always knew that something was going to happen.
George Amberson’s comes to face the toughest situation and decision of his life. He knows after going back to the present that the world is in dismay, but that’s fine, because he’s going back to be with Sadie. Only he knows when he get there he can’t, he knows that the worlds future is in the balance. He therefore decides he must leave the possibility of Sadies death and leave the past forever for the worlds sake.
The ending of the book is magical, one that will draw a tear from your eye, for in the last chapter of the book. George gets to dance with Sadie one last time, with Sadie at the ripe old age of 80. The final worlds being 'Who are you George? 'Someone you knew in another life honey'
Then the music takes us, the music rolls away the years and we dance.
11/22/63 is a classic, it’s story unique, the storytelling unforgettable. This book left me feeling as though I had lost someone dear to me. Indeed I have, maybe writing this would help, but it hasn’t. Still, they got to dance one last time under the lights to ‘In the Mood’ a track they used to swing dance to back in the early 60’s.. And that is something worth cherishing.