Stephen King is known for his horror novels, but some of his best work is that which goes outside the genre. "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," "The Body," and "The Green Mile" have become landmarks in pop culture, demonstrating King’s ability to write gripping dramas.
His 2011 release, "11/22/63," is no exception. It is a beautiful, dark thriller: part drama, part science fiction, and part historical fiction.
"11/22/63" is a day that will long be remembered. The book follows English teacher Jake Epping after his friend Al discovers a wormhole through time inside his diner. Al, being in bad physical shape, sends Jake to do what he is unable to: stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, thereby preventing the Vietnam War and the loss of so many lives. Epping steps out of the wormhole in the year 1958, in a world so old it is almost foreign, and must become acquainted with his surroundings in order to blend in.
He first has to do extensive research on Lee Harvey Oswald, making sure he was acting alone, but never plans on meeting the love of his life while there.
As time is running out, Epping has to balance his life with his girlfriend, keeping his true identity and motives secret, and his mission to save the United States from peril and war.
Although "11/22/63" is not on par with King’s master works, it is a gripping read. It reads a lot more like a traditional thriller than his more serious dramas or horrors, with an element of a spy thriller in Epping’s undercover life and investigations. It infuses the more casual, action-packed thriller genre with King’s notorious immersive quality, which gives all of his books their famous length. The 1950s and ’60s are made vivid through his descriptions and consistency, and they add a three-dimensional quality to what could have been just another thriller novel. King’s talent for writing dialogue is also showcased in the novel, creating some truly memorable characters, including those who are based on real people.
Before watching the series on Hulu, reading "11/22/63" is a great way to spend time with a book. It is a welcome break from more intense reads and a great bit of fun to experience.
Jack Dudek is a Junior at Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.