New York : Scribner, c2011
1st Scribner hardcover edDescription:
ix, 849 p. ; 25 cm ISBN/ISSN:
9781451627282 (hardcover : alk. paper), 1451627289 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9781451627299 (pbk. : alk. paper), 1451627297 (pbk. : alk. paper), Language:
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? The author's new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. In this novel that is a tribute to a simpler era, he sweeps readers back in time to another moment, a real life moment, when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history. Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students, a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night fifty years ago when Harry Dunning's father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake's friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane, and insanely possible, mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake's new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life, a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time
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The cool thing about time travel is there are no rules.
Stephen King has been creating his own rules since the early '70's. His earlier works were unique, visual and engaging. As a short story writer, he has had many stories adapted to film. His later works seem to hint that maybe this author had run low on new ideas. This book refutes that allegation.
The story opens with a GED English teacher, Jake Epping, whose life is okay, but stagnant. Nothing seems to be able to stir an emotion. One day, an older student of his submits an assignment addressing: "The Day That Changed My Life." It is so moving that Jake gives Harry Dunning an A+. Harry is thunderstruck. He is a little slow, since when a child his father attacked him with a sledge hammer. Harry escaped with head injuries. All the other members of his family were not as lucky.
As luck has it, Jake takes Harry to Jake's favorite diner on graduation day. Al, the proprietor, later lets Jake in on a secret. In Al's storage room is a portal to the past.
This portal takes its time traveler back to a specific date and place. The year is always 1958. Any time spent in the past, no matter how long or short, translates to just two minutes of the present. After a demonstration of its wonders, Jake reluctantly agrees to go back in time and try to stop Lee Oswald from assassinating John Kennedy.
What follows is a compelling trip down memory lane for baby-boomers and a fascinating chronicle of life back in the early 1960's. This book is nearly 850 pages long, but well worth the time invested in experiencing it.
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