on November 18, 2010
In 1981, Stephen King began writing the best book I've ever read. "IT" was my first King novel, from the moment I opened the cover, and took in the ever haunting and mesmerizing initial sentence, I was enthralled, and had to prepare myself for a 1090 page journey that would change my life. Although the basic concept of the monster that takes the form of your worst nightmare is brilliant, the stories shining quality is in the way it portrays the values of friendship, childhood, memory, and growing up. No other author has ever captured these feelings better then King, and the magnificient ending brought a tear to my eye. Character developement is astounding and a number of disturbing scenes make the story more real and suspenseful. "IT" weighs in at 1090 pages, each as important as it's predecessor, not one is out of place or unnecessary. There is only one major flaw present, an unavoidable curse that plagues all great stories, it ends. But let me assure you my friends, it ends beautifully. Thank you very much Mr. King, you've changed my entire outlook on writing and filled me with memories that I will cherish deeply and never forget. I will forever hold an undying respect for you and all of your written work. I only hope that perhaps one day, I will be able to write a story that will have as much of an impact on you as IT had on me.
on April 23, 2012
Scary, poignant, and surprisingly real, Stephen King's 1987 door-stop novel is as much a coming of age tale as it is a horror story. "It" has all the ingredients of classic King: a sleepy Maine town? Check. Flawed, yet believable characters? Check. Supernatural forces? Check.
The book's length rivals that of The Stand (uncut version) finishing off at over 1000 pages, and although this may exasperate some readers, the story contains some truly terrifying scenes that are amplified by the helplessness of the child protagonists. Yes, King does tend to go over-board with the details, but his portrayal of characters is astoundingly accurate. No doubt, readers will relate to at least one aspect of the troubled band of misfits as they try to survive both their personal lives and the horror that threatens the town.
For King fans, "It" is a must read. Newer readers, however, may be put-off by the novel's length, but even if you only read one Stephen King book, make "It" your first choice.
on October 17, 2001
Before I say why I love this book so much, a helpful suggestion. Please, if you want to appreciate King's more marketable stories, please read the Dark Tower series. I don't think that I'm giving away anything here, but the sequence in "It" that deals with 'turtles' (those of you who have read the Dark Tower know why I'd focus on this) will take on much more meaning. On to the review. I think that people have a misconception about what makes for effective horror writing. You have to care about the characters for horror to be effective. Otherwise, it's not horror, it's comedy. Think about it: in the span of a few short pages, King makes Georgie a character we care about--that's why you really feel it in the pit of your stomach when Georgie's encounter with Pennywise reaches its conclusion. This book is about normal kids and adults (who happen to be incredibly well-developed characters) finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances..That's why "It" is so effective. Minor complaint: Richie does not ring true as an adult or a child. He's the only character that is not believable..fortuneately, even though he has a tremendous amount of dialogue, he's really not important to the story..he's there for comic relief. Finally, by all means avoid the mini-series. I can't for the life of me understand how anyone who has read the book can stomach it.
on January 16, 2003
I love this book. I first saw the Movie before reading this book (and i got nightmares from it) which i think was a good thing since i knew what the book was about mostly instead of getting confused with alot of sub-plots (For example, the big conflict with gay's in the 2nd chapter). When i bought this book, i thought i would never finish it. But, i sat down one cold December night (i got it for christmas this year) and i was also home alone, mind you, and started to read. After the first part where Georgie dies, i had to put it down - that was immensly disturbing! But, i did finish it. And being the King fan that i am, i LOVED IT! This is the best book i have ever read! I love all Stephen King books, but THIS is a gem! I love Pennywise - or IT. My deepest fear has always been Clowns, and this did not help, but i still love this novel. Mr. King realisticly describes the Clown and all of the shapes it takes, and all of the gory graphic details are great! Althoughy and absolutley horrifying/graphic spellbinder, i also think there is a lighter side to it. King realistly describes school life, pacts, friendship, bully's and other things children must go through. Being a child of 12 (i got started reading King books at about 10) i understand completley what theese kids go through. I was shocked howmuch this book can relate to me. Like Beverly (i am a boy though), i am also afraid to sleep in my most comforatable sleeping position, and i also like to write like bill. I also get picked on alot like Ben (but not because of fat, because i am not fat) and other things. Horror and Emotion camptured all in oen book by my all time favorite author creates a gem, A MUST READ - also get the movie on DVD.
on December 14, 2001
"The King of Horror" produced his finest tale when he wrote IT. Impressively long at 1000+ pages, King takes his readers on a thrilling joyride back to the wonders and terrors of childhood. Like no other living author, King remembers what childhood consisted of and has the uncanny ability to recall it for us in all its intensity of conflicting emotions.
The plot of this novel is straightforward. Set in 1958, 7 children must face down an almost supernatural evil which they come to call IT. Able to take on the aspect of each person's worst fear, IT mostly sleeps only to awake every 26 or 27 years to feed on the children of Derry. After a series of adventures, the children battle IT to a draw. 27 years later, as adults, they are recalled to Derry to once again do battle with IT's ancient evil.
King interweaves the events of the present day with those of 1958. His characters ring completely true, although they are more vibrant as children than as adults. The various subplots and adventures experienced by the children (the apocalyptic rockfight, dam-building, movie-going, Silver, to name a few) enhance the verisimilitude of the story.
I must caution you on two things. 1st, there is a sex scene late in the book that many will find offensive. While integral to the plot, King could have developed a less viscerally offensive avenue for his characters' escape. It is King in his "if I can't get terror, I'll take horror, and if I can't get that I'll go for the gross-out" mode. 2nd, I am one who equates the name of Stephen King with the term "finest living author". His work, while at times crude, even gross, has the depth and vibrancy of the best of Dickens. No stylist he, but a storyteller without peer with an uncanny ability to delineate character with a few sentences. This is his finest work. Read it.
The title of my review is an actual Stephen King quote and it is amazing in its simplicity and imagery. This review is based on my recent re-read of "It" which I first read when it came out and once in the 90's. It holds some nostalgia for me much like the main characters who King has bounce between 1957-58 and 1984-85 in their twice epic battle with a powerful life-form. This daunting entity preys on an individual's personal fear allowing King to provide a rich tableau of horrible characters and situations. Like most of his novels, King pits good versus evil with a few pawns between these forces.
The premise of "It" going through a cycle of hibernation then awakening for mayhem and killing every 25-30 years was highly original at the time. And my favorite part of the book is King's coverage of the carnage in previous cycles dating first back to 1740-1743 when "It" is credited with the disappearance of over three hundred settlers from Derry Township, analogous to Roanoke Island. My father was fond of saying that every town, regardless of size, holds all the vices of a large citiy. The town of Derry holds that and more - it has "It".
One final comment, I believe that King's contribution to literature will be one of the must debated of all time. And he, himself, will have a voice in the debate based on his own quotes such as, "I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries."
on May 24, 2005
I've read IT about 6 times. The first time I read it I was only 11, and to be honest, though I enjoyed IT in general, I didn't understand a lot of it (I was actually looking up the dirty words I didn't understand in the dictionary and wondering why they weren't there!). I was morbidly fascinated and afraid by the horror and the sex scenes; confused by the Derry Interludes. Weirdly enough though, I love the book today at 24 for the same reasons I loved it at 11: IT is a fantastic and intricately layered story with characters that you miss when the book is over, because you've been with them through their whole story as children and adults, best friends. IT leaves you emotional, wanting more, especially of the summer of '58.
I'm not sure what I thought about the ending. I agree that perhaps it was a bit anticlimactic. But when I think about it, what else could have been done? I'm not talking about the "Beverly & the boys" scene. Even I thought that to be unnecessary and very unbelievable. I was 11 when I first read the book and I found this part extremely weird and shocking. Other than that, I guess the kill had to be anticlimactic; King sort of wrote himself into a corner there. But I forgive the ending for the rest of the book.
To those who think that the book needed "slimming" a few hundred pages, I don't get it! I believe that every element of the story was essential to build a history of Derry, identifying with the book's characters (there were 7 after all). People don't seem to have any patience anymore. I don't see the book as sloppy. I don't see extra chapters as a "waste of time" if they're adding to the book.
I didn't want to mention the movie here, I saw it when I was little and it's sort of a kitch classic for my friends and I, and Tim Curry was great. But why did adult Bill have to have that stupid ponytail????? haha.
on April 26, 2002
A haunting but equally uplifting novel, 'It' has long been regarded as one of Stephen King's finest and rightfully so, and in terms of complexity and ambition, it is without equal.
The story centres around the experiences of a group of friends quest to destroy an evil in their home town, spanning over a quarter of a century.
Like most of King's novels, although it is a supernatural story the characters are so well developed and realistic it makes the story instanly believable.
The novel begins in the 1950's and slowly moves on to the group's experiences in the 80's. It becomes more and more interwoven as the story gains pace until at the final stages the time changes take place within a matter of pages, achieving a very satisfying effect.
Although it is over a seemingly daunting thousand pages, the style is so readable that it's suprising how quickly you finish it. The story of friendship, hope and of course horror contains as many uplifting moments as it does shocking.
Perhaps this is not the best choice for those who are new to King but it is an excellent read nonetheless.
on April 20, 2002
IT is not a scary book, but then, Steven King does not write scary books. He does however, write entertaining books, and this one is a page-turner. King really is a master storyteller, and can make a story that seems silly or uninteresting into something quite intriguing. I was not exactly engaged at the idea of a killer clown, but picked the book up because there is really very little good horror out there and because of the strengths of King's other works. The book has a Lovecraftian feel, both because of the pervasive nature of the madness that afflicts the town and it's obvious origin 'somewhere else'. I am also no fan of 'cute kids' in movies or books, but King draws them so faithfully and gives enough dimension to make them both admirable and believable. King switches back and forth between the kid story (in the fifties) and the story of the grown ups (in the eighties). The device is very useful because each time he switches you are dying to know what is about to happen and wishing that he wouldn't switch each time he does it. This makes the book quite addictive. The story is also very surprising. My favorite bits were the tales of yesteryear that Mike discovers when researching the history of IT, the long history of terror and discovery of it by a main character are part and parcel of the Lovecraftian style. All in all, highly recommended.
on April 2, 2002
Stephen King's IT demands a pretty big investment from readers. At more than 1000 pages it seems like a helluva mountain to climb and I can understand the hesitation a lot of people have when they first pick it up. (It's a hefty muther, so remember to lift with your legs!) But as intimidating as it may seem, the reward in the end is extraordinary and it is a journey you will never forget... A group of children, struggling to survive the cruelties of being outsiders and "geeks", find themselves battling for the survivial of the entire town when the epitome of the boogeyman crawls forth from beneath the town. The creature takes the shape of a demented clown named "Pennywise", but like the devil, it is legion and can take many guises; capitalizing on their individual and most personal fears. Through sheer bravery and desperate love for one another, they manage to slay the beast and send it back to where it came from. Decades later, however, as adults who have all gone their separate ways, they are called back home by one of their members who stayed behind as a kind of Watcher. The evil has returned, he tells them, and it is up to them to finish the job they started as children. But the unspeakable IT (aka Pennywise) is expecting them and it will make them pay for what they did to it those many years ago... As big as this book is, and as intimidating as it seemed when you first opened the cover, turning the last page will break your heart. It is a novel to be cherished again and again.