It! (Stephen King)

king-book-coverKing did something special with IT, and I’m not sure exactly what it is….It might just be the sum of the entire equation which makes IT such a fantastic novel. A few times, I had to remind myself it is 2016, not 1958. (It was 2016, sorry…only 2 days into the new year and I’m already confused) If you are thinking of reading IT, it is definitely worth the investment. I’m glad I took the time to read it, savour it, and not rush through it. You got that?

IT is a story which is not just based on the story, but it’s characters. And honestly, I think they made the story so much more. When I think of their story, and the time I invested with them, reading their journey, I feel like I kind of became apart of them. I feel like I took the journey with them. It’s amazing what King can do to the reader in regards to emotion, and evoking a sense of the same feelings the Losers felt in everything they went through. I felt like I had known versions of them in my life. Bill, Eddie, Beverly, Mike, Stan, Richie, and Ben were some of the most easy-to-visualize characters I’ve ever read. I felt like I could picture them, their behaviors, and actions in my head with every page.

A supernatural force (in a horror story? what a surprise!) lives under their hometown of Derry, Maine. This force hibernates in thirty year cycles and comes to the surface to feast upon its prey – human children. It thrives on their fear as well as their flesh, and typically disguises itself as the demonic clown known as Pennywise. The children defeat the horror, but fail to kill it. They vow that should it rear its head again later in their lives, they will come back and finish what they started. They grow up, leave Derry, get lives, marry, pursue goals, but one day, It returns, and the friends are united again to destroy the eldritch force of evil beneath Derry. With the creation of It, King threw a kitchen sink full of monsters into this.

The villain has the ability to take the form of whatever will scare it’s latest victim the most. So the kids alternately face everything from werewolves, mummies, lepers, crawling eyes, giant birds and Frankenstein’s monster with It using the form of a demonic clown called Pennywise as the baseline. The concept that it’s the belief system of the kids that they use as their main weapon against It was a clever idea. So if it’s a werewolf and the kids believe it’s a werewolf, then they also believe that silver can be used against the creature, and It has to abide by those rules. One of the more successful aspects of this book is how King creates seven likeable child characters and then writes them as adults so that they really seem like the same people.

Another part of this that is particularly sharp is just how well he portrays the sheer terror that each character seems to feel at one time or another. While he presents all as being brave and stepping up when it’s Balls-Out-Hero time, they all also have moments where they’re pushed almost to their limits or beyond. It’s some of King’s best work at tapping into the minds of kids as well as the bittersweet nature of looking back at that time as an adult. But it’s also one where he gave in to his worst impulses in letting the book bloat far beyond what was needed to tell the story. In other words he loves to indulge in nostalgia porn.

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Comments

  1. I definitely need to reread this. Thank you for the awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I finally got myself a copy of It this Christmas, and I cannot wait to get started on it. I’ve read only 2 of King’s books, so it was about time I got my hands on more. It has been top of the list for quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

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