’11/22/63′ is a science fiction time traveling book that shows an alternate version of history where the change of a past event ruins the fabric of time. With the jaw-dropping realistic depiction of events and an in-depth definition of characters, ’11/22/63′ holds its place as a sci-fi masterpiece.
‘Spoiler Free’ Summary of 11/22/63
The story of ’11/22/63′ begins with Jake Epping, a divorced Lisbon Falls high school English teacher teaching a GED class to adult students. Jake asks his students to write an essay on the day that changed their lives and moved when he reads the story of Harry Dunning, the limping school janitor whose drunk father murdered his mother and siblings and injured him, leaving him with a limp.
Two years later, Jake meets Al, a diner owner who asks to meet him the next day. On arriving at Al’s diner the following day, Jake is perplexed to see an aged Al who explains that he had traveled into the past back to September 9, 1958. Al shows Jake a portal he can travel through, and on confirming it was not a hoax, Al tells Jake of his plan to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Jake decides to move according to the plan and try to save the president, he also tries to save Harry’s family from being killed, but he soon discovers that changing time has consequences of equal value as changing past events.
Jake begins plotting a way to get rid of Oswald, the president’s killer. He travels to Jodie, Texas, where he meets Sadie, a librarian in an abusive relationship. After saving her life from her husband, Jake and Sadie fall in love, and soon he tells her he is from the future. Jake also fulfills Al’s wishes of saving a girl from being shot by a hunter.
Soon, Jake discovers that changing time also changes reality in an unrepairable way, and after seeing the damage he caused, Jake tries to enter the portal one last time and rewrite all the wrongs he did while he was in the ’60s.
Plot Summary of 11/22/63
Spoiler warning: important parts of the novel are revealed below.
’11/22/63′ begins with Jake Epping, a Lisbon Falls high school teacher assessing his GED adult student’s work, which was to write about the day that changed their lives. Jake reads Harry Dunning, Lisbon Falls high school Janitor’s work, where he wrote about the day his drunk father murdered his mother and siblings. Jake sympathizes with Harry and gives his work an A. Harry graduates with excellent colors, and Jake takes him out to his favorite diner, Al’s diner.
Two years later, Jake stops at Al’s diner, and a chat between him and Al ensues. Al tells Jake to visit him the next day, and to Jake’s utter surprise, he meets a different Al, who looks aged and worn out. Al tells Jake of his lung cancer, and it leaves Jake confused about how a normal-looking man could develop cancer and age rapidly in 24 hours.
Perplexed by what was going on, Al decides to let Jake experience what he wanted to tell him and instructs Jake to take a step further into a portal, and Jake does. Soon, Jake finds himself in a Lisbon Falls older than the one he knew; this makes Jake realize he was in the past.
Spending an hour in the past of September 9, 1958, Jake explores the town to be sure he is not hallucinating. He also talks to a crazy man, who Al called the yellow card man. Jake returns to the present in shock as Al tells him time travel existed. According to Al’s deduction, traveling through the portal brought a person to September 9, 1958; no matter how long a person spent in the past, only two minutes passes by in the present; every event changed by a person in the past affects the present, but can be erased by entering the portal again. The final deduction was that the past threw hurdles at anyone trying to change it.
Al then tells Jake of his plan to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the president of America, who died in 1963. Jake agrees to Al’s request and enters the portal again. Jake decides to save Harry Dunning’s family by killing his father, Frank Dunning. Jake Succeeds in killing Harry’s father, Frank Dunning, but on coming back to the present, Jake discovers Harry Dunning died because he joined the army and fought in Vietnam.
Al commits suicide, and knowing the diner would be closed if he did not hastily take action, Jake re-enters the portal. On re-entering the portal, Jake learns the yellow card man died and was now a black man. He decides to resolve one of Al’s missions, saving a young girl from being shot by a hunter.
Jake decides to move to Jodie, Texas, where he begins scheming to save the President from Oswald. While in Jodie, Jake meets Sadie, a librarian, and after saving her from overdosing and an abusive husband, Johnny Clayton, they fall in love. Jake tells Sadie he is from the future after predicting the Cuban missile crisis.
Jake establishes himself for years and begins stalking Oswald, and on November 22, 1963, Jake reaches Oswald’s sniping position and fires a shot at him. Jake’s shot misses, and Oswald fires back with his bullet hitting Sadie. The police and secret service shoot Oswald, killing him. Sustaining a gunshot wound, Sadie dies in Jake’s arm.
With his mission a success, Jake becomes a hero instantly. Jake, however, decides to re-enter the portal and redo everything to ensure Sadie lives. He begins discovering the consequence of his action as a massive earthquake occurs, leaving thousands of people dead.
After successfully leaving Texas, Jake reaches the portal where he discovers the yellow card man was now a respectable-looking man called Zack Lang. Zack explains to Jake that re-entering the portal did not erase all of the actions that had happened, but it created a new timeline that branched out, forming a new reality. Zack explained he was part of the guardians, who kept and advised those entering the portal. He tells him that after a while, the guardians become drunks and deteriorate mentally before dying.
Jake returns to the present to meet everywhere in ruins. Harry, who was now a war veteran, tells him that saving the president had prevented many changes from happening and had led to the use of nuclear weapons, which led to the radiation poisoning of the world.
Jake quickly returns to 1958, where he meets a now worn-out Zack, who tells him he must return to the present as he had erased the changes he made. After consideration, Jake returns to 2011, where he goes back to Jodie and discovers Sadie had survived the assault from her husband. Jake meets an 80-year-old Sadie, celebrated by the town for her relentless efforts in making the world better. Jake asks for a dance from Sadie, and she agrees. Sadie experiences Deja Vu while dancing and talking to Jake. She asks him who he was; Jake responds as quoted saying:
“Someone you knew in another life honey.”
Is ‘11/22/63‘ based on a true story?
Though the book is filled with factual events like the assassination of President Kennedy, ‘11/22/63‘ is a fictional story crafted by Stephen King.
Is Jodie, Texas, a real town?
Yes, Jodie is a small town located between Dallas and Fort Worth.
What genre is the book ‘11/22/63?’
‘11/22/63‘ falls under the alternate history genre.
What happened on November 22, 1963, in Texas?
November 22, 1963, is the day President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade was shot at by Lee Harvey Oswald, with President Kenney dying from the gunshot wound.
What was the point of ‘11/22/63?’
‘11/22/63‘ was meant to create an alternate version of what would have happened if President Kennedy wasn’t killed.