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by Stephen King
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I did not like this book and don't recommend it. ( )
Content warning:This book contains some particularly difficult tropes including dark and gritty depictions of
King's classic tale of horror made an indelible impression when I read it decades ago as a teen (long before my Goodreads days). I am finally getting around to writing this review as The Outsider, my most recent King read, shares a number of similar tropes.
The juxtaposition of the two timelines - the past revolving around the protagonists' first conflict with "It" as children, and the present with their return to Derry as adults to battle evil once again - can be confusing at times, but ultimately adds an extra layer of tension to the storyline and contributes to the character development.
As with many of King's longer works, certain descriptions and events, particularly the completely gratuitous and unnecessary
In Pennywise the Clown, King has created one of the most terrifying personifications of evil in the annals of horror fiction, and I can never see a clown without thinking of this character lurking in the shadows.
Overall, It is a gripping tale focusing on timeless themes including the power of love, friendship and sacrifice, the dangers of prejudice and hatred, and the all-encompassing and eternal battle against evil. It is well worth reading despite some of its more problematic contents.
When I was 17 my English teacher decided that for the next two weeks we would spend the class reading a book of our choice. I already read books like they were going out of print, so this was a welcome change in my daily schedule. Grading on this reading would be based solely on page count, to be proven and tested by the teacher opening pages at random and asking what was going on after a sentence or two. The only caveat being that it couldn't have been made into a movie.
I initially was going to re-read "Flowers in the Attic" but one student pointed out that it had been made into a movie. I guess the teacher didn't trust us to actually read the book....However no one seemed to have a problem with "It" although it had been made into a mini-series (that I hadn't seen and still haven't seen).
So I grabbed my copy of "It" and proceeded to re-read it for a second time. We weren't limited to reading the books in the classroom, so I managed to plow through this 1000 page behemoth in about 5 days.
While other kids were turning in 200 and 300 page books after the whole two weeks was over, I had managed this book and three others. Needless to say, I got an A, and had my teacher wondering what kind of cheat I was doing to be able to easily and accurately tell him what was going on after only a sentence or two. It was like "Name that Tune" but with books... He actually considered the idea that he was randomly opening the book on exciting and memorable chapters that stood out and as such made for easy recollection. Although, it's been 20 years since I read "it", but was able to recall the book scenes from the previews of the movie coming out --That I WON'T be seeing Thank you very much...
Whatever.... I read "It". I read "It" three times, and plan on reading "It" again. However, I won't be listening to the Doors while reading "it" since the last time I did I managed to be listening to "Light My Fire" at the same time it was referenced in the book....Not quite the same as the phone ringing in IRL when it is ringing on tv...but close.
So this wasn't quite a review of the book but more of a little anecdote showing how it somehow made it into my personal Zeitgeist.
If you haven't read "It" because you are daunted by the page count, don't worry, if you like Steven King, this is required reading that won't leave you skimming the pages. "It" Is a classic that needs to be read at least once in your life if you like the genre.
Now for the side-effects!
Reading "It" will often cause mild to moderate side-effects including but not limited to....
Lost items never attempted to be recovered once they cross the barrier of sidewalk to sewage drain....Not even the fear of losing a wedding band will have you peering into those drains...Bonus for you if your spouse has also read "It" because they won't even question your lack of action.
Fear of old refrigerators with the latch doors....
Anxiety when walking into a library, that increases exponentially in correlation to the time of day and the age of the library.
New aversions to:
red balloons, slide projectors, clowns, wax-sealed paper boats, small-towns, asthma inhalers, clowns, bikes with playing cards in the spokes, walking at night, walking along rivers at night, clowns, cookie-baking little old ladies in big old houses, ex-ray machines that tell you your shoe size, clowns, turtles, sewers, full moons, native american sweat huts, and CLOWNS!
On the other hand...reading "It" gives you the same bragging rights over those who have only watched the movie....bonus points to knowing when to avert your eyes and miss out on those scenes that will forever haunt your friends and family that didn't see them coming....
So this book was actually split in two and at first I wanted to review it as two books, but the second part isn't available, so FINE, I'm just gonna count it as one. Here's the review I wrote of the first part, pretty much half-way through the entire thing:
"This first part is def getting five stars, though I'm skeptical about how it will end, especially with all I've heard about King's tendency to not deliver what the build-up promises. But oh my gods, this build-up! Part of me is like "no, I shouldn't like this, flashbacks are bad", but the biggest part of me is just SO HERE FOR IT. I love how the characters are introduced as their older selves and then flashbacking to them being kids for most of the 550 pages contained in this part, with only a chapter here or there dealing with them gathering again to finish what they started but can't remember. It's just sooo well done, I'm loving it.
I am bit unsure about the heavier things it deals with, re: racism, homophobia, spousal abuse. On the one hand it's written by a white, straight male, but on the other hand I think the issues are handled pretty well? The characters may suffer, but they are CHARACTERS, well-rounded characters and not stereotypes, and no matter the perspectives I don't feel that the narrative are endorsing these things, which is always important. Mostly it's Bev's storyline that bothers me, but that has more to do with her being the only woman and that being the ONLY femane representation we really get, than it has to do with her story not being well-written.
Oh well. I told Trams I picked this up in the hopes of getting really scared and she said I shouldn't keep my hopes up, since King's books are more "thrilling pageturners" than superscare according to her ... and even though it hasn't kept me from sleeping, I'm not gonna lie: there are times when I went "oh shit" out loud because creepy shit happened. So I'm tagged it as scared the shit out of me, though it's more like a minor fright.
Will pick up the next book tomorrow. Right now they are both safely tucked in under big piles of books. It didn't scare the shit out of me, but I'm also not stupid enough to leave that scary-ass cover face up. I don't have a death-wish, you know."
It never did scare me that much. I couldn't sleep on night and started thinking about the clown, but I just went "well, I'm an adult, I wouldn't be able to see it" and went on with my life. But I'm not gonna lie and say it didn't have my heart racing.
Even though the ending wasn't as good as the first part, it's definitely worth 5 stars. We're talking 1,000 pages that are AMAZING, and then the last ~200 are not as great and well, that's still more awesome pages than a lot of authors come up with. And with the set-up I don't think it's possible to deliver an ending that's gonna match it. I didn't dislike this ending, it just wasn't as brilliant as the rest of the book.
The only things that truly bothered me was the en inconsequent tense changes throughout the book (thought I think they were deliberate), and that the one female character had to
But otherwise ... I just really love how we're getting both the stories parallell. I would be skeptical of that if I knew it before hand, but it really, really works here: nothing is spoiled, and you are getting to know the characters in the clearest possible way. But again, the switch between present and past tense made it a bit confusing towards the end, which time things were happning in ... but that's the point, isn't it?
Anyway, great book, and it is not even a problem that it's 1200 pages long. It's just awesome.
Oh man this review is gonna be a DOOZY
In 2015 I went on a trip to Italy for a week in the summer. I took with me Stephen King’s It, and consequently finished the entire thing on the train rides and plane journeys I made during that trip. The book ate me up, chewed up all my feelings, and then spat me back out a new person with a new appreciation for writing.
Man, that book is amazing.
It’s safe to say that this novel is probably one of my favourite King novels from the ones I’ve read. It’s got momentum, humour, history, imagination, a good grounded theme, and just a generally amazing plot. The book, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few decades, is about a group of seven children who try to defeat a mystical monster that they can only refer to as IT. IT takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, but what it can really do is look like the thing that you’re scared of the most. It preys on children because their fear is the easiest to materialize, and every 27 years it rises from the pits of the Derry sewer system to feed for a year, and then hibernates until the next cycle can begin.
The story is told through two different time frames: the late 1950s, and the mid-1980s. The first time period looks at our heroes as children, living in a town with enforced curfews, where the adults are blind to any kind of violence occurring, and children are going missing regularly. The town is no stranger to tragedy, as every three decades or so, a sort of purge occurs in the town, where a large number of people die. But for some reason, people seem to just ignore all that happens.
The Loser Club, Derry’s own silent heroes, are the ones who take on IT because it murdered Bill Denbrough’s baby brother Georgie. Bill wants revenge, and to stop this happening to any other children. They embark on a quest to stop the monster, a quest which follows them well into their adult life, 27 or so years later, when they must return to Derry to finish what they started.
The novel is not told linearly at all, but rather through flashbacks that help corroborate the story taking place in the 80s. Indeed, the story in the 50s almost feels more real than the story happening in the 80s – something about the writing style of it makes it feel like the 80s is actually some sort of flashforward, rather than the present time of the novel.
There are a lot of elements that make the novel great, but I think one of the best things about it is the underlying theme of it all: growing up. The children grow up and start to forget what happened to them when they were children in the 50s, and only really remember when they come back to Derry and start seeing everything again, triggering their memory. And isn’t this exactly what happens to us when we’re growing up? Details of our lives before a certain age become fuzzy, and all our hopes and dreams and fears from when we were younger start to slowly vanish, because they’re no longer relevant to us as adults. At its core, I believe the novel is about memory, growing up, and friendship. The Loser Club is only really able to battle the monster because they have developed a strong bond of friendship. That’s the kind of friendship most of us aspire to have. My friends wouldn’t fight a flesh eating monster with me. Where’s my version of The Loser Club?
Final rating? 7/5.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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