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#101
Old 01-25-2012, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
I think your daughter is right about Sadie. It's not so much that "George" uses strange sayings and sings songs no one else knows; it's that he obviously has secrets that he's not telling her. And like she said, she already had one husband who put a barrier (the broom) between them and she's not going to fall for that again.
Good point.

I'm finished, and all I really have to say is I'm glad it's over. Maybe I wouldn't feel so dissatisfied if I hadn't read spoilers. But I've spoiled myself with other books without feeling so "meh".

Also, if I hadn't read Replay, I might have appreciated it more. IMHO Grimwood did it better, in fewer pages, and with more heart.

Next up is something by Judith Guest -- forgot the title, haven't read her before. I'm almost finished with the 40 from last fall's library sale.
#102
Old 01-26-2012, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
Nope, although I was born long after that date, and it's not a catchy number like 9/11. But the book cover does have helpful artwork that makes it obvious.
You weren't familiar with that as the date of the Kennedy Assassination? I'm younger than you and of course I know about that, it's such a huge piece of American history.
#103
Old 01-26-2012, 11:50 AM
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Before this book, I couldn't have told you the date of Kennedy's assassination, like (I suspect) a lot of people who aren't US American.
#104
Old 01-26-2012, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
I also thought all the precaution over making sure Oswald was the lone gunman was silly. Kill him when convenient. Fast forward. If you were wrong, just go back. Save yourself several years.
Oswald was in Russia until 1962. By the time he was back in America, Jake wasn't sure if he wanted to go back or stay with Sadie.
#105
Old 01-26-2012, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Before this book, I couldn't have told you the date of Kennedy's assassination, like (I suspect) a lot of people who aren't US American.
The question was asked of Americans.
#106
Old 01-26-2012, 03:25 PM
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Oh - never mind then. I thought we were talking about how well-known the date was generally.
#107
Old 01-28-2012, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by AuntiePam View Post
So far, the only thing that didn't ring true was Sadie's reason for leaving Jake -- because he sang a raunchy song and used phrases she wasn't familiar with. I mentioned this to my daughter and she said I should remember that Sadie was already paranoid because of her weird husband, so she was gonna be naturally distrustful when Jake acted "weird". That made me feel a little bit better about it.
Jake's weirdness is one of the things that bugged me. Though it was no doubt an artifact of King starting the book in 1972 and not finishing it for 40 years.

He was born in 1976 and knows all the lyrics to a Rolling Stones song that was released when his parents were teenagers. And he regularly used "disco" slang, which is what twinged Sadie's weird meter in the first place. That all makes sense if the "present" is 1972, but shouldn't Jake be using early 90s slang and singing Pearl Jam?

And how would he help Al? Al is four years old when Jake lands in the Land of Ago.

ETA: About the date. I don't think any American should be able to just know what happened on 11/22/63 (that's 18 years before my birth after all). But if someone leads with "It has something to do with the President," Kennedy's assassination should leap out at you.

Last edited by Justin_Bailey; 01-28-2012 at 12:45 PM.
#108
Old 01-28-2012, 02:56 PM
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On my second reading, I just got back to George and Sadie's first meeting. Not love at first sight, our narrator tells us? Thats BS...she fell into his arms!
#109
Old 01-29-2012, 04:17 PM
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Phew, 30 CDs. I'm done and I loved it. But four stars out of five because
SPOILER:
the espionage and some the time in Jodie dragged more than it should have (the let's-put-on-a-show bored the bejezus out of me the first time, but twice? ). Also, I thought Sadie was an extraordinarily dull character and the romance less than electrifying. Certainly not worth fucking up the entire space/time continuum.

I loved going back to the late 50s/early 60s with a 2011 sensibility, though, and I thought the time in Derry was the strongest most engaging part of the book.

...oh, and no way was Jake born in 1976. He was Stephen King's age through and through.
#110
Old 01-29-2012, 07:15 PM
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Just finished it--I wanted to avoid this thread till then. Enjoyed it, but boy could it have used a bit of trimming and editing!

I gave up on Stephen King 30 years ago, after Cujo and Christine; that's when I threw my hands up and said "enough." When I read that this wasn't his usual monster gore-fest, I put it on reserve at the library (so I have no idea who Ritchie and Bev and turtles were in his other books--I have read It, but Elinor Glyn's It, not Stephen King's!).

I agree with others here: the love story is what really sold it, and the Card Men and the Time Rips and Jimla were just kind of silly. King can really create 3-dimensional characters who stay with you after you close the book--really, on a par with Christopher Morley, Olive Higgins Prouty and Booth ("Amberson!") Tarkington, and there is no higher compliment. I would love to see him just write a love story or a family saga without the blood and gore and monsters.

And drop the lame attempts at humor. His few jokes and wisecracks in this book thudded like "unfunny uncle at dinner party" humor.
#111
Old 01-30-2012, 09:32 AM
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For those who liked this book, specifically the time travel aspect, I recommend Replay by Ken Grimwood, which was recommended to me in another discussion of 11/22/63.
#112
Old 01-30-2012, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by phungi View Post
For those who liked this book, specifically the time travel aspect, I recommend Replay by Ken Grimwood, which was recommended to me in another discussion of 11/22/63.
I also highly recommend anything by Jack Finney (as does Stephen King, in his Afterword). I usually hate time-travel nonsense, but Finney invariably captures me.
#113
Old 01-30-2012, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by phungi View Post
For those who liked this book, specifically the time travel aspect, I recommend Replay by Ken Grimwood, which was recommended to me in another discussion of 11/22/63.
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Originally Posted by Eve View Post
I also highly recommend anything by Jack Finney (as does Stephen King, in his Afterword). I usually hate time-travel nonsense, but Finney invariably captures me.
Thanks for these recommendations. A few years ago I went on a time travel/alternate history binge, but I'm not sure I read either of these two so I'll check them out.
#114
Old 02-03-2012, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry Mudd View Post
Yes, it's suggested that the term refers to The Sound of Thunder.
Actually, and I may not remember it correctly, but the "butterfly effect" is first brought up by Al and is not attributed to Bradbury. Bradbury's story comes up much later, is brought up by Sadie, and is just used to illustrate the effect.
#115
Old 02-09-2012, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Eve View Post
Just finished it--I wanted to avoid this thread till then. Enjoyed it, but boy could it have used a bit of trimming and editing!

I gave up on Stephen King 30 years ago, after Cujo and Christine; that's when I threw my hands up and said "enough." When I read that this wasn't his usual monster gore-fest, I put it on reserve at the library (so I have no idea who Ritchie and Bev and turtles were in his other books--I have read It, but Elinor Glyn's It, not Stephen King's!).

I agree with others here: the love story is what really sold it, and the Card Men and the Time Rips and Jimla were just kind of silly. King can really create 3-dimensional characters who stay with you after you close the book--really, on a par with Christopher Morley, Olive Higgins Prouty and Booth ("Amberson!") Tarkington, and there is no higher compliment. I would love to see him just write a love story or a family saga without the blood and gore and monsters.

And drop the lame attempts at humor. His few jokes and wisecracks in this book thudded like "unfunny uncle at dinner party" humor.


I agree with your post... And pretty much agree with everyone else's on this thread (excluding the thing about people not knowing the date... Or at least being able to figure it out). This is the third King book I've read. The others were the stand (also a pretty good length book) and the green mile. What I notice about King's books is that he is masterful at building up a moment, building up the story, creating characters who could actually exist - he makes them real.

But, I think that his greatest assets in writing also work against him at times. For instance, I felt that this story had so much build up that the ending seemed anti-climatic. Out of the 840 or so pages only 100 were left to conclude the novel. I mean it wasn't until around the 740's that Oswald was killed. And it seems that's where/when King starts wrapping up the tale. But in building up the story so much he creates too many loose ends to tie up in a little over one hundred pages.

And sometimes he creates characters, that while good, are unnecessary. In this story I could have done without the yellow/orange/black and green card men. What did they really bring to the story except confusion. They didn't seem to know what was going on and didn't really offer much insight. Their purpose seemed to be to direct Jake/George to the conclusion that he couldn't be in the past with Sadie. A conclusion that Jake/George could have reached on his own after visiting the future where JFK lived.

Other thoughts...

I am thankful that King's son changed the ending. If you go to King's website he released the original ending that he wrote there. I haven't read it, but read about it. I think it sounds worse.

I really wanted Jake and Sadie to be together and I guess they were sort of at the end... But I felt sad with the way it ended.

Overall, it was pretty good, just wish the ending had more to it.
#116
Old 02-09-2012, 08:47 PM
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I'm not sure if the Yellow Card Man really added anything to the story, either. He wasn't really explained, and as you said, HaiJJ, Jake would have figured out on his own that JFK living really messed things up. I keep thinking that the Yellow Card Man (Men, I guess) were related to the Breakers and Beams from other books, but I'm not entirely sure how.
#117
Old 02-09-2012, 11:32 PM
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I think I might have to get It and The Dark Tower to see if they clear up that issue more... I'm not really a big fan of horror / sci fi, but the cross reference early in the book to the two kids from it and also the couple of references to the turtle (which I had to look up online, because I knew nothing about the turtle reference) make me curious. And then you, Cat Whisperer, and others keep mentioning the beakers and beams. Makes me wonder, but then on the other hand I'm not sure I want to ruin my understanding of the book as is...

One thing that I forgot to ask is if anyone else noticed the numbers over the passages in the book. They reset in each chapter... Wasn't sure if that was just some literary device or if it meant something in the book that I overlooked / didn't notice.
#118
Old 02-10-2012, 12:18 AM
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While there's a few little connections to the Dark Tower series, I don't think there's anything that would clear anything up. They're more little little easter eggs.
#119
Old 02-10-2012, 12:31 AM
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Reading "It" and The Dark Tower series is a good idea even if it doesn't clear everything up. I'd throw in "The Talisman" and "Black House" while you're at it, as well as "Hearts in Atlantis." I think Breakers and The Beams show up in all of these.
#120
Old 02-10-2012, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
I agree, I'm a fan of his early stuff but I haven't been reading him on a regular basis in a long time. However, the idea of a 1000 page time travel novel was so totally delicious that I decided to read it over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Like I had hoped, I couldn't put it down. it did not disappoint.

Spoilers follow
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I did find one section a little draggy.......about 2/3rds of the way in, after his first break-up with Sadie. This is the section where he is living near Lee and Marina to run survellience on them and I think George Amberson's depression and restlessness sort of rubbed off on me.......but the book picked back up when he patched things up with Sadie.

I also didn't feel that he "Jimla" story line was filled out completely............with all the creepy woo surrounding the "Jimla", I was rather expecting Jim LaDue - and Amberson's intervention in LaDue's timeline- to have played some sort of part in the history that created the dysfunctional 2011.....(like LaDue being cast as the not-so-bright born again reformed alcoholic-president in the year 2000 or something). well, THAT might be a touch "on the nose". But I do feel that he was hinting throughout the book that LaDue's timeline and his interactions with Amberson had a special significance but there wasn't any follow-through.

And THAT is the only criticism I have of a 1000 page novel, it was one of the best books I've read in a while. I'll have to go back and check out some of the Stephen King novels that I've missed, some of them may be worth another look.

And obdurate is my new favorite word.

I think I came away with the same feeling you did. I had the audiobook, and even though it was 30 (!) CDs, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did however come away feeling a bit cheated / unfulfilled with the JimLa thing. Not only did it get repeated on a couple of various occasions, he even went so far as to pretty dramatically REINFORCE it during the HS football scene, and AGAIN when he's hanging out in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Ultimately, it seems like it was all foreshadowing and no payoff.

I found myself thinking "Is the bum one of the high school kids who's been inadvertently thrown off-kilter by Jake's intervention? Oh look, he busted the kids from drinking at the dance, including Jim LaDue... I bet THAT's important. And they talk about his college scholarship to Alabama! Wonder what this payoff will be."

Then the character basically gets dropped, and at the end when they explain why Jake's called JimLa... well they really don't.

I also would have liked to see a bit more of the dystopia after he fouled everything up. We're teased with that... 50 years of everything going all-to-shit is summed up in, what, one page?

All that nitpickery aside, I'd happily and frequently recommend/lend the (audio)book to anyone so inclined
#121
Old 02-10-2012, 10:58 AM
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I think he should have edited out the card men, edited out Jimla, edited out the shot-in-the-spine girl, and yes, even edited out "ax-in-the-head family." Then he would have had a neat, tidy, fast-moving 400-page book.

If he is that attached to the ax-in-the-head family, make 'em a short story.
#122
Old 02-10-2012, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Eve View Post
I think he should have edited out the card men, edited out Jimla, edited out the shot-in-the-spine girl, and yes, even edited out "ax-in-the-head family." Then he would have had a neat, tidy, fast-moving 400-page book.

If he is that attached to the ax-in-the-head family, make 'em a short story.
If it was a 400-page book, it wouldn't be Stephen King.
#123
Old 02-10-2012, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Eve View Post
I think he should have edited out the card men, edited out Jimla, edited out the shot-in-the-spine girl, and yes, even edited out "ax-in-the-head family." Then he would have had a neat, tidy, fast-moving 400-page book.

If he is that attached to the ax-in-the-head family, make 'em a short story.
What I liked about the axe family is that it provided an immediate and gripping beginning for the book. The description of Hopalong Harry and his essay really drew me in, much moreso than a plan to save Kennedy would have.
#124
Old 02-10-2012, 12:43 PM
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Can anyone give the gist of the alternate ending? I am interested but not enough to read it
#125
Old 02-10-2012, 01:07 PM
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What I liked about the axe family is that it provided an immediate and gripping beginning for the book. The description of Hopalong Harry and his essay really drew me in, much moreso than a plan to save Kennedy would have.
Exactly.
#126
Old 02-10-2012, 01:48 PM
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The thing the card men added is that you immediately realized that something was not-quite-right about how he was going back in time, something about the rules he thought he knew was mistaken. I agree it wasn't the most satisfying bit of the book as a whole, however.
#127
Old 02-10-2012, 03:43 PM
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Can anyone give the gist of the alternate ending? I am interested but not enough to read it
I went to read it but it's been taken off the website. Wikipedia mentions it but all it says is that his lady friend ended up having a large family.
#128
Old 02-10-2012, 03:47 PM
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Maybe he ended up dancing with Sadie's daughter...

ETA: I guess granddaughter would be more like it.

Last edited by Skammer; 02-10-2012 at 03:48 PM.
#129
Old 02-11-2012, 09:48 AM
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Here is the link to the alternate ending:

http://stephenking.com/other/112263/112263.html
#130
Old 02-11-2012, 10:04 AM
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And, again, another misspelling of "Killeen."
#131
Old 02-11-2012, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by HaiJJ View Post
Here is the link to the alternate ending:

http://stephenking.com/other/112263/112263.html
Yeah, that ending sucks. The one in the book was far better, even if it wasn't perfect.
#132
Old 02-11-2012, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by HaiJJ View Post
Here is the link to the alternate ending:

http://stephenking.com/other/112263/112263.html
Thank you. Read it. Thought there would be more to it. It has been a month or so since i finished the original book so my memory is a bit hazy but I take it the implication here is George Married Sadie and used his knowledge of the future to become rich?
#133
Old 02-11-2012, 02:31 PM
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I take it to mean this:

Jake heeded the Green Card Man's warning about the possibility of destroying reality if he were to stay in the past - as he did in the book. So he came through the portal, left the diner, let the portal close (presumably, since he never did find out if the LL Bean went in at the diner's location) and then moved on.

The last few sentences in this ending is Jake musing about what Sadie's new husband probably thought, because it was what he thought when he was with her. It echoes the idea that the past harmonizes with itself. So in this version of the ending he never gets to see Sadie again. Or, at least not that we know about. She finds someone else at DCHS and they live the life that, had Jake/George stayed in the past, they would have had together.

I still think that the ending in the book is better. And who knows if King had stayed with this ending perhaps he would have added more?

In the books ending I'm not sure if they share more than just a dance at the end, but I like to think that they do, even given their age difference at that point. I think the idea that she still knew who he was and couldn’t pin point why or how she knew him, because of her dreams and/or something more unexplainable, lends more credit to the Green Card Man's point that each trip isn't necessarily a total reset.

I think that their souls still know what they shared together, even if it was outside of the strand of reality.

Up next... 11/22/63 the movie... I read that Jonathan Demme is supposed to direct it. I’ll be curious to see what comes of it.

Last edited by HaiJJ; 02-11-2012 at 02:31 PM.
#134
Old 02-15-2012, 11:59 AM
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Ya know what I mighta liked as a coda?

Jake Epping realizes he's gone back and forth a few times now, lived in the past for 5 years or so... finds himself in a situation where he can't really (honestly) discuss Sadie with anyone or the entire experience.

Going back to redlining GED essays would prove to be pretty anti-climactic. Jake realizes he's basically a "man without a time" --- so he realizes his only real option is to... BE a green / yellow card man. His path finds him to go be the guardian of a bubble/rabbit hole somewhere, sometime.

He goes to warn others and also because only someone else who is going through the same trip would understand anything he has to say. But he chooses to go in spite of (or perhaps because?) he's going to slowly go mad doing this.

Even have an idea of the last line... some new befuddled traveler comes along and asks who he is, and he says, through confusion... "JimLa?"

There, I even wrapped a freaking bow on it.

Thoughts?
#135
Old 02-15-2012, 12:25 PM
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Not bad. I still prefer mine though:

1. The alt-world sucks in a major way, with hundreds of millions of people who would be alive in real-world 2011 dead or suffering.
2. NO RIPPING SOUNDS OR IDIOTIC EARTHQUAKE CRAP.
3. George realizes that the world was better off with Kennedy dead.
4. He resets the past, comes back to 2011 because he's too old to re-start life in 1958 (or card guy convinces him that he must do so).
5. He's bitter for the rest of his life, while the world unknowingly (and uncaringly) goes on.

Not a happy ending, but who says the ending has to be happy?
#136
Old 02-15-2012, 01:02 PM
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Oh, I didn't have a particular problem with the earthquakes. The book kinda nods at the idea that maybe things like the Japan earthquake and Indonesia tsunami wouldn't have happened if people weren't fooling around with the time streams.... which fits it in really nicely with the notions and themes in the story of Genesis. God told us not to mess with the tree of knowledge because he knew it wasn't best for us to go that route, we directly (though ignorantly) disobeyed and got involved in something we shouldn't have, and the punishment is a world gone all to crap.

Jake (and Al before him) keep biting at the apple, and the earthquakes are God very plainly saying messing around with time is too much for your little brains to process. You'll only go nuts, like the card men always do. If you won't stop doing it even after SEEING their example, I have to put barriers in place that show you to stop messing around time willy-nilly.

Or, more simply, the earthquakes could be God's way of saying "There's a plan. Stop trying to screw with the plan."

Hopefully getting theological won't lead to ranty ravey responses below. But a book like this (esp the part you're talking about) does raise some interesting q's.
#137
Old 02-15-2012, 01:24 PM
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jackdavinci

I also thought all the precaution over making sure Oswald was the lone gunman was silly. Kill him when convenient. Fast forward. If you were wrong, just go back. Save yourself several years.
I understood it to be that Jake didn't want to kill an innocent man -- even if he could reset the timeline and start over.
#138
Old 02-15-2012, 03:31 PM
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But if he reset the timeline, then Oswald would still be alive... therefore, no killing.
#139
Old 02-15-2012, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by johnspartan View Post
Oh, I didn't have a particular problem with the earthquakes. The book kinda nods at the idea that maybe things like the Japan earthquake and Indonesia tsunami wouldn't have happened if people weren't fooling around with the time streams.... which fits it in really nicely with the notions and themes in the story of Genesis. God told us not to mess with the tree of knowledge because he knew it wasn't best for us to go that route, we directly (though ignorantly) disobeyed and got involved in something we shouldn't have, and the punishment is a world gone all to crap.

Jake (and Al before him) keep biting at the apple, and the earthquakes are God very plainly saying messing around with time is too much for your little brains to process. You'll only go nuts, like the card men always do. If you won't stop doing it even after SEEING their example, I have to put barriers in place that show you to stop messing around time willy-nilly.

Or, more simply, the earthquakes could be God's way of saying "There's a plan. Stop trying to screw with the plan."

Hopefully getting theological won't lead to ranty ravey responses below. But a book like this (esp the part you're talking about) does raise some interesting q's.
I thought it was The Beams letting go.
#140
Old 02-15-2012, 03:51 PM
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I had a huge problem with the earthquakes (and the ripping sounds, which were going to tear the Earth asunder by 2080) because it turned an alt-history thriller into a silly "Some Things Are Best Left To God" message, complete with mystical forces.

Just show that the alt-history sucked, giving Jake a moral quandary, and show how he resolves the issue. King actually had this, but could not help but bring up the mystical crap.

Last edited by JohnT; 02-15-2012 at 03:54 PM.
#141
Old 02-16-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin_Bailey View Post
Jake's weirdness is one of the things that bugged me. Though it was no doubt an artifact of King starting the book in 1972 and not finishing it for 40 years.

He was born in 1976 and knows all the lyrics to a Rolling Stones song that was released when his parents were teenagers. And he regularly used "disco" slang, which is what twinged Sadie's weird meter in the first place. That all makes sense if the "present" is 1972, but shouldn't Jake be using early 90s slang and singing Pearl Jam?

And how would he help Al? Al is four years old when Jake lands in the Land of Ago.

ETA: About the date. I don't think any American should be able to just know what happened on 11/22/63 (that's 18 years before my birth after all). But if someone leads with "It has something to do with the President," Kennedy's assassination should leap out at you.

You read a book about a guy who goes through a secret passageway in the back of a diner and comes out in 1958 and lives there for 5 yrs planning to stop the Kennedy assassination... and the part that is too much for your suspension of disbelief is that he was singing to himself the opening lines of a hit Rolling Stones song?
#142
Old 02-16-2012, 03:21 PM
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You read a book about a guy who goes through a secret passageway in the back of a diner and comes out in 1958 and lives there for 5 yrs planning to stop the Kennedy assassination... and the part that is too much for your suspension of disbelief is that he was singing to himself the opening lines of a hit Rolling Stones song?
It goes to characterization. The guy was born in 1976 and yet he talks like he was 22 in 1976, with the disco slang, the lack of references to anything any American actually born in 1976 would consider cultural touchstones (grunge, rap, MTV, etc.)

And the more I think about it, I was irritated by the "Jimla" word as well... what is it with King and the bizarre word(s) he has to repeat in his novels? It makes me so smucking mad.

Tak!

Last edited by JohnT; 02-16-2012 at 03:22 PM.
#143
Old 02-16-2012, 04:39 PM
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Wolf!
#144
Old 02-16-2012, 07:03 PM
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M-O-O-N, that spells JimLa.
#145
Old 02-17-2012, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
The book's name is It. (And Who is on second.) It's scary, though. For me, one of his scariest.
Thanks to this thread, I got IT from the library and really liked it. Creepiness abounds, yes, but I think I have found that it's only the scary movies that I can't handle, the book was no problem at all.
#146
Old 02-18-2012, 10:54 AM
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About It.

SPOILER:
The group child sex scene at the end of It ruined the book for me. It felt gratuitous and pervy. I actually remember very little else about it, except that jarring, ugly passage.
#147
Old 02-18-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve View Post

And drop the lame attempts at humor. His few jokes and wisecracks in this book thudded like "unfunny uncle at dinner party" humor.
Sweet Jeebus, ain't that the truth! And I wish someone would run him over again if he ever tries to emulate African American dialog. I cringe in horror more at his black character's dialog more than an army of shit weasels.
#148
Old 03-18-2012, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
And the more I think about it, I was irritated by the "Jimla" word as well... what is it with King and the bizarre word(s) he has to repeat in his novels? It makes me so smucking mad.

Tak!
Dammit, halfway through the first page of this thread I decided to make this same joke. Cibola!


I liked this better than a lot of what I've read from King lately, even down to the ending. It did get a little draggy and annoying during the amnesia phase, but otherwise I was happily along for the whole ride.

The little visit to Bev and Richie also felt like a gift of sorts. When Big Steve decides to turn on the magic, he really makes things sparkle.
#149
Old 03-24-2012, 11:34 PM
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Finished it yesterday.

I think it's better overall than it would have been if King had finished it in the '70s. But I agree with all who say Jake has a Boomer's perspective. At the start, Jake is only a few years younger than Mr. Rilch and me. We both think he should be quoting Simpsons and Star Wars, not classic rock songs, and that he should reference Back to the Future, not the Bradbury story. But his attitude towards life is late-middle-aged, too. I find it very hard to believe that someone born in 1976 would slip so easily into a lifestyle that to him should have seemed very slow and restrictive. King shows him musing that he won't miss websurfing because it was kind of annoying...and that sounds like someone who got used to it later in life. And like many people who are not straight white males, I was constantly aware that only a straight white male could be the main character for the story to unfold the way it did. For instance, I doubt a woman would have been able to buy a gun in those days.

I endured the whole middle part with the school and the endless variety shows. Wasn't bad, but not what I was reading for. Well, it's inevitable, the way the portal works: five years is a long time to be a recluse if you don't want to be, and his travel options were limited. Didn't care for the love story, although that was more because I could clearly see that getting involved was going to trip him up. I was frustrated every time it did, but in the end, it was a good thing, assuming you're invested in Jake stopping Oswald. Sadie was right: Jake couldn't have done it without her help. And it was a good contrast to Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone. Johnny didn't have anyone helping him, which put him under tremendous stress, and with no close friends, he also started to unravel mentally. As a result,
SPOILER:
at the crucial moment, he stroked out and died. I think not one shot hit the target.
I'm happy with the way Jake/Sadie played out too, although probably because I never loved them being together to begin with.

What I was reading for was the counter-assassination stuff, and I was satisfied with that. Although I went into it knowing that he wouldn't be happy with the results. (King does so love the Monkey's Paw trope.) So his motivation is, at least partly, to stop Vietnam from happening. Forget JFK for a second. I don't have King's perspective; in my lifetime, JFK has always been dead. You might think that Vietnam would be equally irrelevant to me, since I was 3 when the cease-fire was called, but not really. By the time I really became aware of the larger world, Carter had been elected, making him our fourth president since Kennedy. So the ripple had smoothed out by then; we'd given up on Camelot America.

ISTM that Vietnam reverberated for a lot longer, and all through society. Vets: disabled, traumatized, homeless. Immigration: some of my classmates and one of my teachers wouldn't have been at my school, because they/their parents wouldn't have wanted to leave South Vietnam. The anti-war stance and distrust of authority my generation was conditioned towards. To me, just Nixon being president was worse for the country than JFK not serving two terms. And that's why I wouldn't try to stop Vietnam from happening. Too much was affected by it; too much was wrapped up in it. Even if it could be prevented, doing so would cause a huge disturbance in the Force (as my generation would say). Leave out the beams-of-the-universe stuff, and saving JFK might still be for the worse.

Overall, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it, but I'm not going to push it on them either.
#150
Old 03-25-2012, 12:09 AM
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I finished it yesterday, audio book. Very entertaining. I did not go back and confirm this, but I think there was a non sequitur at the very start. When Jake goes to Al's diner after Al's call, he is shocked to see Al's condition. Al is emaciated, his hair is greyer (or white, I can't remember), his teeth are worse--and Jake only saw him the day before, less than 24 hours ago! How could he have lost 40 pounds in less than a day?

The rabbit hole explains it all, of course. Al has actually been "away" for years, during which he got cancer, though in reality he was only gone 2 minutes. Makes sense in the context of the story, right?

But Al is taking modern pills, and references the nurse who visits him (weekly or whatever?) and the fact that the "ago" doctor and the one he saw here both came to the same diagnosis--cancer.

Huh? He's been back less than a day. How did he get an oncologist, a cancer treatment regimen, a prescription filled, and have retroactively had a nurse visiting him? Am I remembering incorrectly? Seems like a continuity error. As if King originally had Jake seeing Al after a month--the difference still would have been startling--then decided to make it a single day to make it more dramatic, but forgot to tidy up the rest of the details.
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