A reader's random ramblings

Dallas, JFK and 11/22/63

I’m reading 22/11/63 by Stephen King and I’m loving it!

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I’ve recently been to Dallas/Fort Worth and visited The 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. I don’t want to make any assumptions, so I’ll quickly explain in case any of you don’t understand the significance of the location:

On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas. It is believed that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from the 6th floor window of the Texas School Book Depository overlooking Dealey Plaza.

The 6th Floor Museum explores the assassination in great detail, as well as examining JFK’s presidency and legacy. It includes an excellent audio tour, many photos and films. The museum also considers the conspiracy theories and questions that have surrounded the assassination and it’s investigation since the beginning.

Although I was not yet born in 1963, images from JFK’s presidency and assassination are so iconic that I feel like I’ve always known about it. “The Grassy Knoll”, “The Lone Gunman”, and “The Zapruder Film” are phrases that are part of my vocabulary. I clearly remember watching Oliver Stone’s film JFK and being intrigued by the conspiracy theories. I’m not convinced that we’ll ever know exactly what happened that day.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The 6th Floor Museum, as did the whole family, including the kids. I highly recommend visiting if you are in Dallas.

Upon my arrival at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; knowing that I had 17 hours 45 minutes flying time to Sydney; I decided that I needed a book to read. When I spotted 11/22/63 I knew that I had found the book for me!

It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

I love this sort of science fiction (especially time travel!), and I’m enjoying this book just as much as I expected to.

Two questions for you:
1. What are you reading?
2. Who killed JFK?

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3 comments on “Dallas, JFK and 11/22/63

  1. Mum of Adult Kids
    August 2, 2012

    I’ve always been fascinated by the assassination of JFK. It is iconic, and intriguing, and will likely always remain a mystery. Many years ago I stood by the eternal flame at his (and Jackie’s) grave in Arlington Cemetary and felt an incredible sadness, it’s quite eerie. Thanks for the review on this book… it definitely sounds like something I’d like to read.

  2. Chris Smith
    August 2, 2012

    I was 4 years old when JFK was assassinated. I remember the day clearly. It was a warm day, my dad was digging in the vegie garden and my mother came running outside telling my dad the news. I remember her saying that ‘the communists will take over’, which was a genuine fear of my parents who had fled Europe as displaced persons after the Great War. The things you remember! Would be interested to read the book Fiona.

  3. moviesandmangoes
    August 3, 2012

    Hi Fiona! This is Adele’s friend, Kim, from Fort Worth. I haven’t read much of Stephen King because I don’t like stuff that is horror-ish, but this one sounds like a good read. (I like his other stuff – The Green Mile, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, etc.) But anyway, I saw your blog link on Adele’s fb page and I love finding new book recommendations 🙂 Glad you guys made it back safe and sound.

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