"We're all mad here was what the Chesire Cat told Alice. Then he disappeared. Except for the grin, that is. As I recall, the grin stayed awhile."
This latest enduring novel by Stephen King may be a touch sluggish but is worth reading. It has been a long time since I have read anything from Mr. King and I feel that the content of this new work is more or less a new frontier for him. Apparently he tried to pen the book back in the 70's but buckled under the weight of research that was going to be required to flush out his historically exorbitant story. I love the topic of anything JFK and admire King for undertaking such a delicate and temperamental topic. Nobody knows exactly what happened that dreadful day in '63 but I am sure everyone can agree upon the fact that if Jack Kennedy lived, our world would be completely different. Would we have gone to Vietnam? Could Regan's Cold War have been avoided? How about the present day tensions in the Middle East? An alive and well 35th president surely would have touched these and undoubtedly many other aspects of our nation's history. These questions lounge beneath the cover of this book and working under the pretext that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, beckon…..what would the world have been like had “Ozzie Rabbit” been stopped that November afternoon in 1963?
The idea of time travel is not new. However, King puts his own spin on the matter and provides some interesting guidelines. After stumbling upon a “rabbit hole” Jacob Epping is transported back to the year 1958. Every time Jacob returns to the future and re-enters the time portal, history is re-set to the original way it was before the initial entry. As we find out later though, these entries come at a cost and have their own effect on history, or “butterfly effect”. No matter how long you spend in the past, only 2 minutes of real time in the future will elapse. Our 35 year old protagonist sets about making his way from Maine down to Texas with a plan to prevent the assassination of JFK. Along the way he encounters some salty characters ranging from bookies to detectives to murderous types getting ready to commit crimes Jacob knows they are about to commit. As his level of involvement deepens, Jacobs begins to find himself struggling with the distortion of living in this new reality. Meeting a pretty young lady only adds to his confusion of whether or not he is doing the right thing by proceeding with his plans. Should he stay and attempt to drastically change the course of US history or abandon his quest and return to the comforting confides of the future?
I would recommend this book, but must mention that it is long and at times tediously slow. I am not sure why it was written to be as long as it was, but the ending in my opinion makes up for the several chapters that you will surely breeze over. It is no Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, but definitely a solid read. The topic is absorbing and crawls into your thinking. If you had a chance to go back into history to make some changes, would you? Being my nutty history loving self, I'd be all over it. But hey, that’s just me.