Most people know of Stephen King’s It because the TV movie-miniseries. This was my first exposure to the series as well. We recorded it when it aired using a VCR, commercials and all, and watched it for years. It wasn’t until I was deployed in my early 20’s that I read the book. During my time at sea I read as many books as possible, including The Dark Towers series also by King which concluded at the time (picked up the last book in Canada). While on this tear of King books I looked into many of the supplemental books connected to the series. It was a near 1200 page tomb. I read it in 3 days (there wasn’t a lot to do at sea).
Stephen King has created many different works in his time, allowing for there to be something in his catalogue for everyone. On the surface, It seemed it would be for me. I still hold the book in high regards, but there are still some moments that make me questions their purpose. For those of you who have seen the movie, it does an accurate job of translating the source material. I don’t envy whoever had to adapt it.
The book takes place primarily over two time periods, summer of 1958, and what was the present, summer 1985. We follow seven friends, Bill, Ben, Bev, Richie, Eddit, Mike, and Stan; self dubbed, the Losers’ Club. While the movie separated the two parts, the book intertwines them for reasons I’ll get to in a minute.
The young teens notice strange happenings around their home of Derry. Children (including Bill’s younger brother), are found, murdered horribly. A creature known as It is responsible. This creature is some sort of imperceivable in it’s true form shape shifting monster. Mostly appearing as Pennywise the clown, it awakens every 27 years to feed on children. Adults are unable to see the creature or the havoc it reeks. The Losers’ make it their mission to destroy the creature. In their youth they injured it. As adults they return to finish the job. Without It active, they forgot most of their childhood and the creature. Only Mike who stayed in town as a watchman remembered and called them back. It’s with this mechanic we see them return, remembering the events as they went on, making the dual time periods storytelling work.
Again, It is nearly 1200 pages, there is a lot I am skipping over. I did enjoy the book but one moment really stood out for me and nearly ruined the entire experience. Both battles with It took place in the sewers under Derry near or in it’s lair. After the first battle in 1958, It is injured and goes back into premature hibernation. Now the groups purpose is lost and their memories start to fade. They’re lost in the sewers and panicing. As a means to calm them down, or make everyone an adult (the child/adult dichotomy is mentioned often), Beverly has sex with the other 6 boys. I really don’t see the point in that. They could have just left the sewers. I’m not prude by any means, something about this just didn’t sit right with me. This didn’t occur until near the end of the book. The experience wasn’t ruined, just hit a speed bump.
What’s you’re favorite Stephen King book? Another author I should tackle? Comment or tweet!