I had heard so much about this book that I just had to get a copy. I am not a fan of horror and so if Stephen King wrote it, I am not typically drawn to his publications. But this book isn’t horror at all. It’s a departure for King’s writing style (he says so himself in interviews) and has appealed to all sorts of readers, some who don’t share favored genres.
There is time travel and that was a hook for me. The star of the book is Jake Epping. He is a high school English teacher living in Lisbon Falls Maine. While working as a GED instructor he reads an essay that changes his entire life. Harry Dunning is a janitor at the school and signed up for Jake’s class to earn his diploma. Harry has a gimp leg and isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer but the reason for his impairment is explained in the essay – it’s about a day that changed their lives.
The story is about Harry’s father and how he took a hammer to his wife and kids one drunken evening, killing them all but Harry. He tried to kill Harry too but only managed to get in a few swings, ruining Harry’s leg as the child tried to get under the bed. What an astounding essay.
The happy part of the story is Harry received his GED and became friends with Jake. They celebrated with a Fatburger at Al’s diner. Now fast forward 2 years and it’s 2011. Al asks Jake to stop by the diner for a chat. They weren’t close friends so Jake is curious as to what Al wants. Jake is shocked that Al has seemingly aged years in a short time. His hair is white, he’s lost weight and has cancer. How is this possible?
Al explains his appearance is attributable to his having time traveled and lived for years in the past. There is a time portal or wormhole and you can step through and transport to the year 1958. All this is revealed within the first few chapters so I am not giving out spoilers. One thing I must add is that no matter how long you stay in the past ( 10 minutes or 10 years) only 2 minutes elapse in your time period. Mind blowing!
Rather than hash out the story as it’s been in countless reviews I will just say it was a page turner. Ok, there was a period where Jake had a slow time and it was a little slow for me too. But overall – I liked this book quite a bit. Imagine having the ability to go back and change historical events. Prevent JFK from being assassinated or keep a horrific event from coming true on a personal level. The people you meet and your every action would change history. Sometimes for the best and sometimes hardly any change would happen…..but what about that Butterfly Effect? What would happen is JFK lived?
Here is a snap of one passage of the book. It echos a sentiment I have often expressed. Yes, I love my blogs and I enjoy writing and all the modern conveniences of cell phones and computers……..but how my life would be simplified without any of it.
Besides the historical portions of this book we have the interactions of Jake with a small community of folks in Jodie Texas. How might he change their lives if dropped into 1960 something from 2011?
Not much food mentioned in this book but there was the Fatburger and milkshakes, There was also mention of pound cake. If you have read this book you will completely get the reference but if not….I can tell you if you aren’t going to read it… Email me 🙂
Here is the recipe for a lovely lemon pound cake.
Stephen King published an alternative ending on his official website on January 24, 2012, in which Jake finds a November 2011 news article where Sadie has turned 80. She had married a man named Trevor Anderson, with whom she has five children, eleven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. This ending was changed to the published version at the suggestion of King’s son, writer Joe Hill.
Linking up to the 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge at Girlxoxo.