Sunday, 2 July 2017

Book Review: IT by Stephen King

Evil resides in Derry, Maine. Whether that is in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a werewolf or a leper, it pulses through the heart of Derry and has done for many years. IT focuses on a group of children, the Loser's Club, as they try to overcome evil and face their biggest fears in order to do so.

"Maybe there aren't any such bad things as good friends or bad friends - maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you when you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that's what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart."

Excuse me while I curl up into a ball and bawl my eyes out... IT was my first King and it really was what got me hooked onto King's writing. I was almost apprehensive at rereading this masterpiece - not just because of its size - but I was afraid that it would tarnish my memories from my first read, I was afraid it wouldn't be as good as I remembered it. However, I can confidently say that it was even better. The Stand is not King's masterpiece, in my opinion, this is.

This book, alongside 11/22/63, the Dark Tower series and Duma Key, is where King's writing abilities truly shine through. IT is simply chockfull of paragraphs and sentences where you need to just stop and pause, and let the awesomeness sink in. You will feel ALL the emotions when reading this book - heartache, fear, joy, sadness... you will laugh, you will cry, you will feel like you ARE a member of the Loser's Club.

Speaking of the Loser's Club, they have to be one of the most well-developed group of characters I've ever encountered, and I think a lot of that lends to the length of this book. We get to spend so much time with each of them individually as well as within the group. People sometimes complain about the length of IT, and perhaps I'm slightly biased, but I love the size and it's probably why you feel kinda lost when you finish - you're so deeply entrenched in this world that leaving again is heartbreaking.

In terms of the themes explored within this book - friendship, childhood, growing up, overcoming your fears - King handles each with such ease. There's a number of similarities between IT and The Body from Different Seasons, it's almost as if The Body was King's practice session for this epic coming-of-age tale. Other themes are also explored within these pages: racism, prejudice, domestic abuse. To anyone who says IT is simply a horror book - you could not be any more wrong (said in the style of Chandler Bing). Yes, horror plays a big part in this book, but as is the case with all of King's books, it's about so much more than that. King's depiction of childhood friendships is something special, it really brings you back to your youth, when everything seemed to be heightened - your first love/crush, the connections and bonds you felt with your friends.

Gahhh, I could talk about this book forever! So I'll finish up by mentioning my favourite aspect of IT. Out of EVERYTHING that happens in this book and all the characters, I have such a soft spot for Ben Hanscom. On my first read, I recall Bill being my favourite, but on my reread, from the very first encounter, I have developed a crazy love for Ben. A reader, who is relentlessly bullied, someone who lived quite a lonely life until he met the Loser's Club...Ben is special to me. Then to see his love for Bev and the haiku he writes for her... MY HEART.

"Ben Hanscom had no sense of being lonely because he had never been anything but."

He's caring and sensitive...a truly good friend. Ben, you the real MVP.

And now I'll shut up. I could probably write a book on my thoughts about IT. One of my favourite books of all time and one of the best books I've ever read... firmly cemented in my top 3 Kings list. 5 stars out of me from me!!

"Your hair is winter fire,
January embers
My heart burns there, too."


1 comment :

  1. Hey! I'm a big fan of stephen king but can't handle the super scary stuff like the shining, salem's lot, pet sematary. I started it but got put off by the size but also by the fact that it's one of his most terrifying. I started it because i was intrigued and figured if it got too scary i could stop. Did you find it super scary? I've read On Writing, 11/22/63, Different Seasons, The Running Man, Finders Keepers, currently reading Firestarter and read half of Misery and plan to read the full thing plus Carrie. I've seen both films and liked the stories and have heard they're more disturbing/creepy than downright scary like the shining. (As for the shining movie, that's practically a comedy to me).
    Love your passion for the story! P.s my fav King story is Apt Pupil in Different Seasons and also LOVE 11/22/63; though Firestarter might be close behind...


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