While grading English assignments in 2011, Jake Epping learns of the tragic childhood of Harry Dunning, one of his GED students. Dunning managed to be the only survivor when his father slaughtered his family with a sledgehammer.
But a bigger revelation comes from his friend, Al Templeton. The storeroom in Al’s diner hides a portal to the past, and he wants Jake’s help. His mission? Stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The first problem is time. The portal only leads to one place, at one time, in 1958. Jake will have to live in the past until the assassination in 1963. With a few side missions to help pass the time, Jake eventually finds a place he can call home, and a girl he can fall in love with. Only the more Jake changes things, the more he realizes that the past may not want to be changed, and it’s fighting him at every turn. Which leads to the biggest problem: what happens to the future if Jake succeeds?
This story is epic. I can’t think of a better word. To call it a time-travel story would be to over-simplify it in the worst way. This novel isn’t about time travel. It’s about people, and choices, and cause and effect. It’s about family, and love, and heartbreak, and everything that makes up life. And as long as this book is, the pacing never falters. A novel like this is why King is considered a master.
Content warnings: There is a massive amount of cursing. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t like the F-word, just skip this one. There’s also quite a bit of g**d**. There are a couple of sex scenes, though I wouldn’t call them graphic, and there’s violence.
If you can push aside the content warnings, the story you are left with is beautiful in so many ways. It’s dark, yet hopeful. There’s danger, but also love. It’s life, from a kind of outside perspective.
1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5
Average score of 5 out of 5