In honour of the newest adaptation of IT being released in cinemas in a few days, I thought this was perfect timing for a review of the book! I had read another of Kings books before, The Green Mile and really enjoyed his writing style so I also expected to like this novel. Prior to starting, I had seen the 90’s mini series so I was quite familiar with the characters and storyline but the book was simply something else.
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.
It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.
Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
What I enjoyed:
- Eery and thrilling – From the first page, there’s a menacing atmosphere that’s built up and continues throughout the novel. Sometimes it’s very subtle but powerful nevertheless. I wouldn’t classify it as straight forward horror though as it’s much more a coming of age tale and showcasing how childhood experiences can shape adulthood.
- Representation of friendship – I think for me the most compelling aspect of this book was the strength of the friendship between the kids in The Losers Club. The horrors they experience together and the way they only have each other to rely on through all difficulties: abuse, bullying and alienation to name a few, gives them a life long loyalty. I think this aspect will be very nostalgic for a lot of people and perhaps take them back to memories of their own childhood. There is one scene however- between Bev and the boys which is quite controversial and I felt it was odd and unnecessary.
- Flawed characters – I don’t think there’s any one character which is ‘perfect’ in this book, they all have their own setbacks, unique arcs and make terrible decisions at times, but for me this kept it realistic. It’s especially interesting in this case as you get to see the adults these children become, and see some of the same behaviours follow them.
- Humanity – As I mentioned before, the truly horrific aspects within It, relies on the flawed aspects in human nature. Sure, Pennywise and his many manifestations are nightmare inducing enough, but there’s something very scary about the adults in Derry who remain wilfully ignorant of the evil happening to their own children. I think all of us can recall an instance when we were frightened and we relied on a parental figure or some sort of authority for comfort, in this book however, the children only have each other.
What could have been improved:
- Timelines – The story switches from the Losers Club when they were children, growing up and when they are adults. I have to admit the sections told when they were younger are far more interesting and I’d find myself wishing the adult parts would end so I could get right into the crux of the back story. Obviously both parts are necessary but I connected a lot more with the younger narrative.
- Dragged a bit – In a book of this length and caliber, it’s inevitable that there would be some moments which felt a bit slow, but some parts still annoyed me a bit where I felt like there was unnecessary prolonging of a scene etc.
Overall, I really did love this book, from the atmosphere to the bond between the characters, I was totally drawn in. I know it’s one of my firm favourites now and one I’ll re read again one day…when I have the time, it’s pretty hefty, page wise!
Have any of you read IT? Seen the movie maybe? Or planning to see the new adaptation? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
14 thoughts on “It by Stephen King”
Oh wow I cant believe I have never heard of this?! Sounds very real and something that would grab my attention, thanks for sharing!
Sarah | http://www.sazsinclair.com xx
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve never read this, and after reading this review, I can see I’m missing out! I’m not sure my new parent nerves can take reading about children who can’t rely on adults at this precise moment, but I’ll keep it in mind for once I’ve settled in a bit! So glad you went back to review the OG It — I’ve been seeing things about the movie EVERYWHERE!
I love your breakdown of this book! I have not read it but I do remember laying in bed terrified after having watched the movie as a kid! Stephen King is such a talented writer, and I’m probably gonna consider reading this, thanks!
Gah, I wish I had the guts to read this book! I love a good thriller but I don’t think I could manage something as eery as this while I’m staying at my place alone🙈😂
Great review though!💕
I read only one book by Stephen King and it wasn’t too scary .. horror is not my genre at all. But I do plan to watch the movie :).
I like your review style.
Ooooh brilliant review! I’m ashamed to say I have never read a Stephen King book. I did try and get this one out from the library last week but understandably, because of the film, all the copies in the entire borough were gone! But I’m definitely gonna get myself a copy and read it – I love anything scary, weird, creepy. The creepier the better! (: xx
Oooh actually the book sounds soo good! I have seen quite a few people raving about the new film but I didn’t really think it’s my kind of movie. However, the book sounds really nice! AND I love Stephen Kings writing so that’s a plus 🙂
I’ve never heard of this before, sounds brilliant
I went to see the film yesterday and bought the book, loved hearing your opinion on it☺️X
I didn’t know this was a book! I thought it was just a movie! Honestly I’m not one for scary things at all but I’m really glad you enjoyed it!
I’ve never read IT as I’m terrified of clowns and horror movies, but I loved reading your review! 😊
I am such a big scaredy cat so I’m not sure IT is for me! I am considering accompanying my friend to see the new adaption in the cinema as she is a big horror fan and I feel much better equipped after reading your fab review – still terrified though!
Kirsty | The Monday Project | themondayproject.co.uk
Great review sister. I was OBSESSED with Stephen King in high school. I’ve read pretty much anything he’s ever writing up until the late 90’s. I remember reading IT late at night in my room completely enthralled and terrified….good times! If you haven’t already read them I would strongly recommend: The Stand, The Tommyknockers, Needful Things, and Dolores Claiborne (which is not really a horror novel but rather a psychological thriller).
Aw thank you sister! I really want to read more of his work, I’ve only read IT and The Green Mile so far but I believe I have a copy of The Stand so perhaps that will be next! I always look forward to your comments, they really give me a boost so thank you once more for always leaving such good ones! Hope you are doing well x