The "nifty fifties." Unprecedented economic prosperity. The blossoming of rock and roll. An era we nostalgically see as being innocent, now that we have the hindsight to know the Cold War will not, in fact, bring about nuclear Armegeddon ...
... Jim Crow. Overt racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism. Lack of environmental regulations ... Ah, well. I should've quit while I was ahead. :-)
Jake Epping travels back to 1958, on a quest to prevent two tragedies, one local and one global in scale. His shift from one era to another is beautifully crafted thanks to King's writing skill, the wonderful narrative voice, and meticulous attention to details about each time period.
I am about 25% of the way through this novel, and I'm loving it so far. King's work has always been hit or miss for me, but when he's good, he really hits it out of the ballpark.
On whether to disclose the existence of a portal into the past:
Then I thought of the federal government discovering they could send special ops into the past to change whatever they wanted. I didn’t know if that were possible, but if so, the folks who gave us fun stuff like bio-weapons and computer-guided smart bombs were the last folks I’d want carrying their various agendas into living, unarmored history.
On a quest to prevent JFK's assassination (hence the title of the book):
“Or what about Vietnam? Johnson was the one who started all the insane escalation. Kennedy was a cold warrior, no doubt about it, but Johnson took it to the next level. He had the same my-balls-are-bigger-than-yours complex that Dubya showed off when he stood in front of the cameras and said ‘Bring it on.’ Kennedy might have changed his mind. Johnson and Nixon were incapable of that. Thanks to them, we lost almost sixty thousand American soldiers in Nam. The Vietnamese, North and South, lost millions. Is the butcher’s bill that high if Kennedy doesn’t die in Dallas?”
On the (probably illusive) innocence of the past:
If you say something about a terrorist attack in 1958, people are gonna think you’re talking about teenagers tipping cows.
And this also made me laugh:
I came to believe that Derry wasn’t like other places. Derry wasn’t right. -- Yes, no kidding. Mr. King, I've been reading your novels all my adult life. And one thing I've learned -- for sure -- is that Derry, Maine is not right. All kinds of insanely bad shit happens in that place. ;-)
Posts This Week:
Book Review: My Journey as a Combat Veteran by Patrick Thibeault
Author Interview: Patrick Thibeault Author of My Journey as a Combat Veteran
Movies Watched This Week:
Blue (5/5 stars) -- Gorgeous film about a young woman who loses her husband and daughter to an accident. She goes to great lengths to restructure her life so she won't feel her emotions. I thought it was an unusually clear-eyed, honest look at the early stages of grief. I'd like to review it after a second viewing. Many thanks to Josh -- if it weren't for him, this film may not have even been on my radar.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (4/5 stars) -- A lonely spinster in 1950s Dublin pins her hopes on a middle-aged bachelor. A sad and worthwhile film about loneliness, disappointment, alcoholism, and how people respond -- in middle age -- to diminished hopes for their lives. Strong performances by Bob Hoskins and the wonderful Maggie Smith.
Twelve Angry Men (4.5/5 stars) -- This classic courtroom drama offers a glimpse into the jury room after a murder trial, showing how conflicting personalities come into play and prejudices float to the surface. I watched this with my home educated high schoolers because, well, this play/movie is a freaking classic. ;-) It's also a good springboard for discussion about our judicial system, the notorious unreliability of eyewitness testimony, and other issues. More on this later.
Downfall (4.5/5 stars) -- German film on the last days of the Third Reich. I want to review this one, but I haven't gotten around to it. We watched this as part of our homeschool "curriculum." Although it's a very long and rather brutal movie, we all enjoyed it, particularly Bruno Ganz's performance as Hitler, teetering between despair and delusional grandiosity in his last days. My 14-year-old son liked it a lot more than he'd expected. He said he appreciated "knowing what really went on in that bunker" during Hitler's last days.
Next week, for our homeschool movie line-up, we have Compliance and Judgment at Nuremberg. Many thanks to Alex and Shantanu for these recommendations. More on all this later.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (4/5 stars) -- We all liked this movie, including my 9-year-old; this is a good thing, since most of the films coming into this house aren't exactly family friendly fare. :-) I can't say I loved this movie, but I definitely appreciated the performances, especially by Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. And I found the premise and imagery quite intriguing. We saw lives filled with filth and squalor but also freedom and beauty. I was also absorbed by the way a devastating flood and a teacher's words about the ice age were combined and reconfigured in a little girl's vibrant imagination.
Brave (4/5 stars) -- A fun movie to rewatch with Trisha and the rest of the tribe. It's somewhat predictable but well done and entertaining. Beautiful animation, a feisty heroine, drunken, raucous dudes in kilts ... what's not to like? :-)
Take Shelter (4.5/5 stars) -- I've been excited about this movie since it was released, and it measured up to my expectations. I may review it soon.
I don't have any blogger links to share, because I haven't had time to keep up with my feed reader. I'm sure you're all posting brilliant stuff. ;-) I'll be around to visit soon.