Rating : 3.5 out of 5
Author : Stephen King
This is the second book (first being Misery) that I have read of Stephen King's, and I am not disappointed. I had heard a lot about this one on Goodreads and finally when I saw it on Oprah's summer reading list; I thought I must give it a try.
The central theme of the book is time travel. The protagonist, Jake Epping’s, travels through a "rabbit hole" (as referred to in the book) to 1958, to prevent Kennedy's assassination.
The story begins when Al, who has a diner, tells Jake about a secret passage which is hidden in his diner that can take him back in 1958. He lets Jake try it out. Then after Jake is convinced of its existence he puts Jake to a task, the task of saving John F. Kennedy’s life.
The detailing in this book is exquisite, sometimes too much. The starting 200 or so pages are like a roller coaster ride. It is very difficult to put this book down during that time. But when the whole Oswald quest begins, the story seems to lag. It can get very boring to read about the mundane details of Oswald’s family life. The part when Jake is in Jodie is a bit entertaining but is full of cliques. The substitute teacher who is more than friendly and changes the life of a football player by promoting his acting capabilities sounds like a perfect tag line for a B-grade teen movie. The ending is adequate and comes with a statuary warning of – ‘Thou shan’t mess with the past’.
The characters in the story are well defined. Jake, who is an English teacher and to whom crying does not come naturally is well written. He is divorced and still coping with that. Sadie, his love, is a librarian and is in the process of getting a divorce from her abusive husband who is fanatically afraid of germs. She is beautiful and doesn’t know it. Is vulnerable and has a monster of a mother (A lot of cliches huh!!!!). The villain of the century, Oswald is “a semi-educated hillbilly, but he's surprisingly crafty." He has a Russian wife Marina and a daughter June. The daughter he loves the wife he beats and loves. He is the apple-of-the-eye of his overly possessive mother who screams a lot. There are many side actors like Deke, Miz Elle, John Clayton (Sadie’s Husband), but the one that I found most intriguing was the Yellow-card Man. He seems creepy and scary. This is one character who I think needs a bit more detailing.
All-in-all the concept is nice, the plot is interesting and the characters are well written. But, firstly the middle part of this book I think, needs editing. It’s like listening to some annoying person rambling about his life. I have no issues reading books with a page count above a thousand but in this case it is unnecessary. This book could be written well within 600 or so pages if the editor can cut the rambling to a minimum. Secondly, the story has a lot of cliches (as discussed above and more!!!).
So, it’s a good book if one can bear the talked-above issues.