11/22/63 by Stephen King

When It came out, I realized I had never read a Stephen King book. I looked and saw It was over 1000 pages. It was too much commitment for an author I wasn’t familiar with. So I browsed through his other books and was surprised by this one about JFK’s assassination since I thought he only wrote horror books. 11/22/63 was a bit less intimidating at about 800 pages, but I’d say it was still way too long. The plot was decent, except it dragged on and on.

1) “My cautious college-bound don’t-take-a-chancers had an irritating tendency to fall back on the passive voice.”

Other than the 1-3-1 (intro, 3 paragraphs, conclusion) structure, active/passive voice was probably the most agonizing part of high school English. Rather than correcting essays, teachers should procure a bunch of corporate emails and have the students rewrite all of them.

2) “‘State of Maine’s years away on that, buddy. The other forty-eight, too.'” – Al

It’s crazy that Hawaii hasn’t even been a state for 60 years. Even crazier that America isn’t 250 years old. Only 10x my lifetime so far.

3) “That won’t happen, I told myself. I won’t let it happen. Like Hillary Clinton said in 2008, I’m in it to win it. Except, of course, she had lost.”

King makes a lot of Shillary references in the book. All the more ironic in 2017.

4) “The opening night begins to seem like an actual possibility instead of a foolish dream. Improv falls away. So does the horseplay, and although jokes remain, the laughter that greets them has a nervous energy that was missing before.”

Tech week is always an engrossing experience.

5) “There were two doors and three signs. MEN was neatly stenciled over one door, LADIES over the other. The third sign was an arrow on a stick. It pointed toward the brush-covered slope behind the station. It said COLORED.”

I wonder if I’ll one day look back on today’s gender neutral bathrooms the same way I read this sentence.

6) “The simple truth was that I didn’t like Dallas, and eight weeks of hard study was enough to make me believe there was a lot not to like.”

There’s indeed not much to like in Dallas. You know when the top attraction is JFK’s assassination location.

7) “Coach Borman looked at the orange juice for twenty minutes because the can said CONCENTRATE.”

Added to short list of on-demand jokes.

8) “This was one night in a small town, one of those burgs off the main road that nobody cares about much except for the people who live there. And that’s okay, because they care.”

Every time I go back to Wakefield, it feels like its own little world.

9) “‘You make pennies selling their newspapers; they make dollars selling your sweat.'” – Lee

Capitalism at its finest.

10) “Never underestimate the American bourgeoisie’s capacity to embrace fascism under the name of populism. Or the power of television.”

50 years later, as real as ever.
I don’t understand why this book has rave reviews. It’s probably because it’s Stephen King. I liked the portrayal of 1960s America in the beginning, and the political statements throughout were unintentionally ironic. Otherwise, it was just a mildly entertaining story with an interesting premise. Or maybe I projected onto the book my dislike of the concept of being stuck in the past.

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