Friday, March 08, 2013

Friday Books: 11/22/63

Today is Wednesday, and this post that I am writing will appear at my blog on Friday. I don't think I'll change my mind about the book, so I will go ahead and tell you my opinion.

I read (or, am reading -- still am not done as of Wednesday) 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It's a book about time travel and attempting to save the future by changing the past. In some ways it is a very interesting book. I think people are generally intrigued by the idea of time travel; we like to imagine what it might be like. So a book on this subject is fun in that way, to feed our imaginations and share in one person's fanciful ideas.

The first half of this book kept me pretty engaged. I am currently in the second half, and I am tired of the book. I want it to get on with what the main character is doing so we can get to the end. I'm tired of the whole idea and the whole mess.

To me this book is stretching the imagination too far and in too many odd ways. Of course, it is a Stephen King book, which means it's going to be odd. I realize it's one of his tamer books. I would not have read it otherwise. But I'm eager to get this one done and get onto to some better reading.

At this point I would give the book three stars out of five. After I finish the book, I will only add a postscript to this rating if I change my mind at the end. I really doubt that I will. The fact that it is taking me this long to read the book speaks volumes. If it were a five, I'd be racing through it.

Now I will tell you my memories of the real 11/22/63. I was in sixth grade when Kennedy was shot. They came on the PA system at school and told us what happened, then put the radio to the PA so we could listen. Everyone was shocked, including us kids who were still young, but old enough to start realizing something of the depth of what was happening.

On the day of Kennedy's funeral, my best friend's father died suddenly (heart attack). So.. there were two big shocks for me and my family that week. Her father was a good friend of my parents and a pillar of the community, very well loved.

That week, as you can see, was a time of trauma in many ways. Unforgettable.


Sextant said...

I liked the book better than you. It does get exciting when they are going after Oswald on the day of the shooting, but when he is shadowing Oswald it can get kind of boring. Hang in there, although I doubt you will change your 3 to anything better or worse.

The absolute ending of the book was disappointing to me and I will discuss that with you when you finish.

A much better book on the Kennedy Assassination was William Manchester's Death of a President. No longer in print but you can find it at used book dealers on the net or it should be in the library. It covers from the day before the assassination to the evening of the funeral and is written in splendid detail and often reads like a spy thriller. I watched youtube videos while I was reading the book and Manchester's telling of the story is just remarkable.

It was written immediately after, and published in 1967 much to the consternation of Jackie and Bobby Kennedy, who asked Manchester to write it and then after the guy kills himself for 3 years attempted to block the book from being published. Strange tale:

Manchester was an innocent and fawned over Kennedy in a manner in which JFK did not deserve, but still the book is a masterpiece. As I write this it occurs to me I probably posted this before.

Sextant said...

I was in ninth grade and we got word of it just as we were leaving school. It was terrible because we had no idea what had happened just rumors flying around like mad. On the way home on the school bus a kid had a transistor radio with an ear plug and he yelled out that they got the governor of Texas too, but it sounded like a separate event. I can remember of being frightened that not only had we lost the president but there was some sort of large scale attack on the govt by separate assassins.

Only the Cuban missile crises equaled the terror...we were lined up for lunch in Jr High, and somehow the rumor that the missiles were on their way got loose. Even the teachers got frightened. We were standing near windows and were instructed to move further down the hall. Like that would have done something! Pittsburgh with all its industry and nuke research was a hugh target. Our school was 1 mile from Westinghouse R&D, big contractor for nuke subs. Very scary. I fully didn't expect to live longer than 20 minutes.