Author: Stephen King
No. of pages: 1,376
Genre: Horror, Coming of age, Thriller
Year of publication: 1986
Date read: 3 July 2017
It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.
Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it sirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
So, I finally finished this monster of a book. It took me more than a month to do it, but at the same time, it didn’t feel like it took me that long at all. The story sent me from feeling happy and giggly about the children’s crushes to being absolutely disgusted. That being disgusted can be a good thing, when it comes to horror, but there was one part in IT where I just sat in my chair, whispering “wtf” a hundred times over. Not in a good way.
Okay, first some other things. The story starts in the past, 1958, takes you back to the present, 1985, only to go back to the past again. And so on. King has a wonderful way to blend past and present together, with It and the Losers’ Club at the center of it. The book is divided into five parts, each interrupted by an “interlude”, told from Mike Hanlon’s point of view. I thought that these interludes were a bit messy, lengthy and they really took me out of the rush of the story. They were part of the story about It, but that realisation only came almost at the end of the book. At least to me it did. So yes, they were necessary to the plot, but then again, they could’ve been a lot smaller.
Because of the “wtf” part in the book that I mentioned earlier, I began to doubt my love for the book a bit. Without spoiling too much, this part, quite at the end of the book, consisted of minors having “consensual” sex. It really didn’t add anything to the plot in my honest opinion and I was a bit disgusted by it. The grading that I had in mind went from a solid 5/5 to a 4/5 in only a couple of pages. Luckily, King’s writing style brought back my love for this book again. When King describes weather, you can really feel it. By this I mean that when Ben Hanscom sees Pennywise the Dancing Clown in a snowstorm, I could see and almost FEEL it happening around me. When Stan Uris saw weird things in the park while it was foggy and drizzly outside, I could almost feel the tiny raindrops on my own face. It may sound weird, but I really don’t have this with other authors and I think that it makes the reading experience a lot richer.
It wasn’t the only thing that sent shivers down my spine. Actually, I wasn’t really scared by the leper, the big bird, the mummy or Pennywise. I was the most scared by the other ‘monsters’ in this book: the humans. King knows how to describe who the ‘real’ monsters are, and those parts actually disgusted me the most (in a “good” way this time). Mostly because of the sad fact that there are really such people out there who can’t feel empathy for either human or animal. Yuck.
Besides the weather descriptions, the human monsters and a lot more, I also love the fact that at first glance IT appears as just simply a horror story. But it’s so much more than that! It’s also about friendship, the strength of faith and belief, growth, nostalgia and love. The ending of the book was so beautiful that I started thinking about my own childhood (without It being in it THANKFULLY) and it left me with a lump in my throat.
After all, I already miss the Losers’ Club, Derry, and maybe even Pennywise …