Harry Dunning graduated with flying colors. I went to the little GED ceremony in the LHS gym, at his invitation. He really had no one else, and I was happy to do it.
After the benediction (spoken by Father Bandy, who rarely missed an LHS function), I made my way through the milling friends and relatives to where Harry was standing alone in his billowy black gown, holding his diploma in one hand and his rented mortarboard in the other. I took his hat so I could shake his hand. He grinned, exposing a set of teeth with many gaps and several leaners. But a sunny and engaging grin, for all that.
“Thanks for coming, Mr. Epping. Thanks so much.”
“It was my pleasure. And you can call me Jake. It’s a little perk I accord to students who are old enough to be my father.”
He looked puzzled for a minute, then laughed. “I guess I am, ain’t I? Sheesh!” I laughed, too. Lots of people were laughing all around us. And there were tears, of course. What’s hard for me comes easily to a great many people.
“And that A-plus! Sheesh! I never got an A-plus in my whole life! Never expected one, either!”
“You deserved it, Harry. So what’s the first thing you’re going to do as a high school graduate?”
His smile dimmed for a second—this was a prospect he hadn’t considered. “I guess I’ll go back home. I got a little house I rent on Goddard Street, you know.” He raised the diploma, holding it carefully by the fingertips, as if the ink might smear. “I’ll frame this and hang it on the wall. Then I guess I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and sit on the couch and just admire it until bedtime.”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said, “but would you like to have a burger and some fries with me first? We could go down to Al’s.”
I expected a wince at that, but of course I was judging Harry by my colleagues. Not to mention most of the kids we taught; they avoided Al’s like the plague and tended to patronize either the Dairy Queen across from the school or the Hi-Hat out on 196, near where the old Lisbon Drive-In used to be.
“That’d be great, Mr. Epping. Thanks!”
“Jake, you bet.”
So I took Harry to Al’s, where I was the only faculty regular, and although he actually had a waitress that summer, Al served us himself. As usual, a cigarette (illegal in public eating establishments, but that never stopped Al) smoldered in one corner of his mouth and the eye on that side squinted against the smoke. When he saw the folded-up graduation robe and realized what the occasion was, he insisted on picking up the check (what check there was; the meals at Al’s were always remarkably cheap, which had given rise to rumors about the fate of certain stray animals in the vicinity). He also took a picture of us, which he later hung on what he called the Town Wall of Celebrity.
From 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Copyright © 2011 by Stephen King. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
What if you could prevent the assassination of JFK?
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died and the course of history was forever changed. Today, one man wants to change it back.
Stephen King at his epic best, 11/22/63 is a tour de force that hearkens back to his previous bestsellers like The Stand and It—both in scope and in storytelling prowess. At the center of the maelstrom is Jake Epping, a 35-year-old high school English teacher who has just been entrusted by his dying friend with a shocking secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. And no matter how long you stay there, only two minutes will have passed on this side. But that’s not the only bombshell. His friend wants to enlist Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination. But can Jake really change the course of history? A quick—and brutal—experiment proves that he can.
So begins Jake’s new life in the world of Elvis mania, big American cars and sock hops as he stalks a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald, meets a beautiful librarian named Sadie…and begins an adventure that transgresses all the normal rules of time….
Hardcover Book : 864 pages
Publisher: Scribner/Simon & Schuster ( November 08, 2011 )
Item #: 13-393442
Product Dimensions: 6.125 x 9.25 x 1.35inches
Product Weight: 42.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, King is a wonderful storyteller.
I haven't read any of Stephen King's books in a long, long time but purchased this due to high ratings and fascination with 11/22/63. I liked the book but would have enjoyed it far more if it had been about 200 pages shorter without all of the unnecessary and redundant details that added nothing to the book. I still enjoyed it, but especially towards the end found myself skimming over the the minutiae that added nothing so I could finally get to the end.
Reviewer: Ann J
Hard to put down once you've finished the first few chapters. Good storytelling. The end was a letdown.
The shear genius of King's storytelling capabilities never ceases to amaze me. I love this book.
Interesting premise. Likeable characters. Very hard to put down once you start. I really enjoyed this book.
Reviewer: Lynda P