Book Review: IT by Stephen King

*None of the books reviewed on this website are written by myself. Everything stated here is simply my opinion, and a fair assessment of what I thought about the book.

**If you have any suggestions for books to be reviewed, let me know in the comments section of this post.

it by stephen king

 

A while back, I read It by well-renowned author Stephen King. I’d heard many things about the book -some great reviews and some not so good- and decided that I should give it a read for myself. Over the summer, I read the extremely large novel, and these are my thoughts on it.

 

WHAT I LIKED:

  •  It Was Easy to Read.

All of Stephen King’s work that I’ve read has been easy to understand and clear. He gets his message across and has impressive descriptions that still allow me to view the scenery and area in a familiar way. The sentences weren’t confusing, and I didn’t have to labor to understand them.

  • Everything Felt Like Real-life.

The characters in this novel were what astounded me the most. Throughout the novel, a group of seven kids -and later adults- are known as “The Losers’ Club.” Their backstory is given at perfect intervals, and when you finish the book they are more like friends than characters. In some ways, you feel like the eighth member of their club, having gone through all the ups and downs of their lives in a single novel.

As well, the town of Derry, Maine seems like such a real place that I Googled it, making sure it was in fact fictional. The descriptions and layout seem as authentic as my own hometown, and familiarly comfortable. I saw many similarities in my own town and Derry, making a part of me doubt even now that Derry is a fictional town.

  • The Different Plot Threads.

There are two stories within this one, both of them centering on the Losers’ Club interaction with It -a.k.a. Pennywise the Clown. Both parts to the story and intertwined and the first majorly affects the second; as well, they take place in the same town.

In the first, all seven kids are about nine years old, and still in school. This was my favorite, personally, because of how effective King was in describing and explaining the inner emotions and dreams of the children. I felt emotional with them, ached with them, and cheered for them as they took on the monster I wanted to help defeat.

But the monster isn’t finished. In the second thread, they have returned to their hometown as adults, leaving behind lives of luxury for some, relationships, friendships, and familiar places. This section of the story was mysterious, intriguing, and kept me on the edge of my reading couch. King once again showed his expertise in understanding and showing not only emotions, but how those emotions affected the actions.

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • The Length.

I’ve read long books. Seven-hundred, eight-hundred… They’ve been long. But never have I even seen or heard of a fiction book being over one-thousand pages long. And this book clocked in at one-thousand, one-hundred, and four pages. That’s 1104. More pages than I’ve even written as an author in my lifetime. Remember how I said there were two story lines? That’s about five-hundred pages per story line. I understand there was a lot of information and character depth to dive into, but I don’t see why it couldn’t have been shortened or split into two separate novels.

  • Certain Aspects of Pennywise.

Don’t get me wrong: Pennywise the Clown is a frightening adversary. I love the creepiness factor of him (I think it’s a him when he’s a clown?), but there is one thing that puts me off a bit. He can change shapes in the novel, taking many different form to better scare whichever child he is in contact with. There have been other shape-shifters in horror books and novels that I thought worked quite well, but this just seems off. Pennywise could have efficiently frightened and killed the children without needing to be a shape-shifter, at least it seems so to me. Then again, I am definitely not Stephen King and I trust his judgement in this matter.

***SPOILER ALERTS***

  • A few scenes

There are a few scenes in the book that paint a poor picture for Beverly, the only girl in the Losers’ Club. Besides being a victim of abuse from first her father and then her husband, there are two specific scenes in which she has sex with another member of the Losers’ Club. At the ending of the first, younger story line, after they have defeated Pennywise for the first time, they are stuck in the sewer and lost. In the midst of their struggles, they begin to divide and argue, and she “solves” this problem by having sex with each of the seven boys, one after another. Then, later as adults, she and one of her two romantic interests in the group have sex, only for her to walk off and leave with the other man. I don’t want this to influence your decision or feelings about the novel, but it is something to keep in mind.

***SPOILER ENDED***

MY RATING: 4/10

Overall, the book was entertaining at times, extraordinarily tiresome at others, and ultimately quite a challenge to finish. If it had been shorter and had the ending not left a bad memory in my mind, I would give it a much higher grade. The best part was the continued growth that you see in the children as you read. As it is, I give this book a 4 out of 10.

*******

Turn the page. Trace the plot. Tempt the panic.