You know that a writer has created something magical when you find yourself invested enough in a story to actually will a storyline along toward the direction you desperately hope it will go.
I found myself really, really wanting certain things to happen to and for certain characters in Stephen King’s 11-22-63. Did everything turn out the way I hoped it would? Nope, but I understood why King wrote the denouement the way he did, and that made it not only bearable, but also ultimately okay with me.
As I finished the final chapter of this lengthy novel, I felt like things turned out the way they had to all along, and that the question of fate vs. free will had been adequately satisfied; we are both directed by forces outside of our control and simultaneously have enormous power to change the course of our lives and the lives of others. (Hey, students: that’s my informal thematic statement J )
I struggle to find anything more profound to say about this text than that – unless I began providing spoilers, which I refuse to do to anyone who might read this book, and I believe that a great many people should read this book.
I can say that King’s commentary about Dallas struck me as comedic since I was born in Parkland hospital a mere decade after J.F.K. was pronounced dead there and much of Dallas’ character in the 70s still resembled his descriptions of Dallas in the 60s. Some of the observations still hold true today.
King stated that he initially began to write this book in the 70s but that the wound of Kennedy’s assassination was still too fresh and that he didn’t think he could do the story justice. Apparently, he waited just the right amount of time. He has created a beautiful testament to teachers, John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and - perhaps most importantly - to the beauty and power of true love.