Two things I hate are being home alone after dark and driving alone in at night, because I am a huge wimp and get easily spooked. Usually, I pop on an audio book in the car or read at night once the boy is asleep to help qualm my unease. So imagine just how much reading all 1,153 pages (45 hours of audio) of IT helped.
But regardless, I thought it would be fun to read. I was wrong. Don’t do it. I am sure Pennywise looked just like this as I thought “Let’s read IT!”
I’m pretty sure everyone knows the bases of this story – killer clown in sewers, becomes your biggest fear, and eats kids. This book is way more messed up than just that. Though for having 1,000 pages, I was highly impressed how the 2017 IT film followed the book. I am excited to see what the sequel is like.
The story starts with iconic scene of Georgie getting a paper boat from Bill, his older brother who is sick,and running out into the rain to watch it float away. While he chases the boat down the road, the boat takes a dive into a storm drain. Georgie takes a look inside to see if he can see his boat, and instead, he meets glowing eyes.
This of course ends with IT introducing himself as Pennywise, the dancing clown. He talks with Georgie, making him laugh and feel safe, before baiting him to reach into the drain where he BITES HIS FREAKING ARM OFF and leaves him to bleed out in the street. Oh, yeah. Good times.
The book focus on a gang of kids that call themselves “The Losers Club”. There is Bill Denbrough – Georgie’s brother, Stanley Uris – a jew that everyone cracks jokes about, including Stanley, Eddie Kaspbrak – the germaphobe, Ben Hanscom – the fat kid, Richie Tozier – the loud one with no filter who thinks he can do impressions, Mike Hanlon – the resident black kid, and Beverly Marsh – the abused, lonely girl and the crush of everyone else in the group. A lot of main characters, but all charming in some way.
The book bounces back and forth from the Loser Club as kids during their first encounters with IT and how they try to end him, and as adults, when they hear of IT stirring again and come back to take care of him for good.
At the end of every section of the book, there is an interlude where it follows the diary of Michael Hanlon who was the only one from the Loser Club to stay in Derry, Maine (the small town this book takes place in). He decides to record his encounter with Pennywise as well as research previous incidents, writing it all down for a record. (spoiler) Of course all of this is useless, because there is some kind of magic that makes the kids forget the details of their encounter with IT and that makes the ink in Mike’s diary fade until it is unreadable. However, it gave a break from the story and clued us in to some of the past encounters the town of Derry had with IT.
IT also followed King’s trend of going into almost EVERY character’s backstory, discussing every side character and plot in grand detail, and shows you that monsters come in many shapes in sizes.
This book started out so strong! I probably would have given this book four stars until it got to the rather disappointing end. Despite this, King’s writing is phenomenal, he captured the eye of a kid perfectly (for the most part), and shows monsters aren’t the only evil thing in the world. This book had it’s funny parts and it’s chilling you to the bone parts. It was terrifying from the start and written extraordinary well… and then it just got weird, disturbing, and flat-out uncomfortable.
Warning, the next two paragraph contains spoilers…
The one that stands out most is a gang-bang involving 11 and 12-year-old kids. That’s right, everyone in the loser club bangs Beverly one after another – her plan to keep them all close. Not to mention, they do it in a nasty sewer drain after they think they have defeated IT. Who in the world thinks this is natural?? It literally makes me so sick to my stomach.
And there was a magic turtle? The creator of the world? That gave them the solution to killing IT? Kinda. I am still fuzzy on what the hell happened there. Until it just kinda, well, ya know, died, by choking on a galaxy, as you do. I’ve heard the turtle is also a character in the Dark Tower but I haven’t read that book so that could be wrong. Either way, it felt out of place.
While I am glad I read this book, I feel cheated by the end.
Now do I get a T-Shirt that reads “I survived IT”?