A couple of things kept me away from this book. One was the political theme – I’m not a fan of this kind of novels, and the other, the size of it. But then I don’t know why I complain about this last aspect, I always do and in the end I always read chunksters anyway. And enjoy them, too.
If you had the chance to change history, would you?
Starting from this question, a story is built. A man named Jake Epping is given the chance to go back in time to prevent the assassination of J. F. Kennedy. Is it possible? Will he succeed? Stepping back into the past, trying to familiarize himself with those times, from a simple thing as the right haircut to the spoken language characteristic of the 60’s, to the food and the people. He even manages to build a new life in the small town of Jodie, where he meets a woman, Sadie Dunhill, who makes his decision even harder to go through with. Racing against time, having to deal with some very unpleasant characters and make some big decisions, Jack is determined to stop the man who was supposed to kill Kennedy.
Having grown up in a very different culture (and quite a few years later), it was interesting to read about America in the 60’s. I especially liked the part where King described life in Jodie. There were many things I didn’t know about, like certain expressions, movies and songs, but I was pleasantly surprised when I read about the staged play of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”, a book I loved, then “The Catcher in the Rye”, a book I couldn’t finish, and “Jude the Obscure”, a book I now want to read.
Before I started to read the book, I remember someone saying there’s no horror element to this story, one of the key ingredients that made me a fan of King’s work in the first place. There is however a touch of the unusual in the conversation Jake has with the Green Card Man – the “guardian” to the place where the present and the past converge – about strings and versions of the future and the damage that was done by repeated trips back and forth in time. That brought back memories of reading The Dark Tower books and even if I can’t recall exactly what made me think of it, other than beams (there has to be something about the beams supporting the Tower), I felt like the connection with the surreal has been accomplished.
I know if I’m enjoying a book by how connected I feel with the characters. Jake and Miz Mimi were the ones I liked the most – Jake, for his determination and courage to go through with his decision, and Miz Mimi for being a straight-forward person.
Oh, and I had to go to youtube and find Glenn Miller with a song called “In The Mood” – a song that is mentioned a few times in the book – it turned out I knew the song, just didn’t know its name or who the singer was.
The story felt complicated at times but like with most of King’s novels, once you’re in for the ride, you enjoy it to the end and this was no exception.
*Started in December, 2011 – finished in January, 2012