Hello peeps! J here. I just finished reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I mean I “just” finished. Like 10 minutes ago. My sister got a signed copy for Christmas and I hijacked it. Have you heard of this book? It’s new, just came out in November. It was REALLY a great read.
I’m not a huge reader of Stephen King’s books. I read The Shining when I was about 20 and it scared the bejesus out of me. I have a very active imagination and I don’t need help getting frightening images in my head. One day of high stress and my dreams become 3-D night-terrors for a week. After that one twirl around the dance floor, Mr. King and I stayed on opposite sides of the ballroom. I did read The Stand (the long one) when I was 27 (the first time – I’ve had many 27th birthdays since) and I enjoyed the story, but there were definitely parts of it where I was reading huddled into a corner of my living room where no one could sneak up on me, that’s for sure.
Then this past summer, I was researching book trailers (see mine here…) and I came across a great trailer for Under The Dome. If you wonder how trailers should look, check out this fabu example. Of course, we don’t all have Mr. Kings deep pockets…which I’m sure has a lot to do with the difference between his and mine. I was intrigued enough to get Under The Dome out of the library a few months ago. It was also quite good, but a bit long for me.
Now, 11/22/63 is at least as big a book as Under the Dome and at 850 pages in hard cover, probably about the size of the longer version of The Stand, but the story doesn’t seem too long, or draggy. What kept me glued to my chair wasn’t fast paced action or a heart wrenching love story, although 11/22/63 has both of those. I was mesmerized by his detailed descriptions of life in the late 1950s and early 1960.
I’ve been a fan of time travel stories ever since I watched Somewhere In Time at some point in the 1980s. I read all the Constance O’day Flannery time travel romances and, of course, I absolutely devour Lynn Kurland’s time travel romances, with many other time travels thrown in for good measure. Michael Creighton’s Timeline was a page turner and a good movie. I’m even going to write a time travel myself this year. But most of the TT stories I’ve read have the character traveling to a distant time – hundreds of years, or nearly so.
I was born in 1970, just two days after the Beatles broke up (hence the reason for my many 27th birthdays). 1958 is just a dozen years earlier and 1963 is just a hop skip and jump backwards, but American life as Stephen King described it is as foreign seeming to me as Lynn Kurland’s Artane castle of 1215.
I grew up with a rotary phone, dimes in my penny loafers to make a call at a pay phone, and life with only 3 channels of TV. I can barely remember watching a black and white television, twisting the rabbit ears to find just the right angles. I remember the invention of the pop-top soda can and the commercial with the teary-eyed Native American in his regalia climbing a mountain of litter. But even so, I can’t picture a world where I might utter the words, “You’re my husband, so of course I’ll obey you.” Or where I might buy a candy bar with a racial slur in its name. King’s descriptions are so real, the flavor of a root beer, the cloudy haze of a public smoking everywhere, the narrow-mindedness of a school board firing a teacher for having the bad taste to be the victim of a home invasion.
This all struck me as so odd, that I had to ask my mom about it. She was 10 in 1958 (she’s only 35 now, so you understand where I get my penchant for creative math). She clearly remembers a time when women were expected to wear hats and gloves to church and skirts to work. And of course, defer to the wiser, stronger, more adept men in their Holly-homemaker little lives.
All of this brings me to today’s secret: time travel is a fascinating way to explore! Our 2012 sensibilities might be affronted by life in an earlier time, but that’s kind of what makes it so interesting to imagine.
Today’s question: What’s your favorite time? I’m hard pressed to choose between medieval England, Revolutionary America or maybe even the 1950’s. I sure would like to taste that root beer.