Books

[Book Review] It (Stephen King, 1986) ★★★★★

cover It by Stephen King

It is the epic horror tale you should read at least once in your life.


It is a great epic horror tale written by the master storyteller Stephen King. The story unfolds as an epic battle between good and evil told by various different events in Derry’s history. Those stories about all sorts of evil lead back to the sightings of a strange clown. When seven Losers each encounter their personal nightmares brought forth by this evil clown called Pennywise, they have to face their fears. 

The story mixes history, coming of age, fantasy, horror, the supernatural, science fiction and social themes still relevant in our time. It’s an epic tale about good and evil, about seven kids who stand up against It. Although it’s a very big read, the story has a pleasant structure, that’s nicely paced. It’s exiting, gripping, enticing, scary and emotionally charged. It has inspired writing and the kids become loving friends you wished you had while growing up.


Plot

In 1957 little Georgie plays with his paper boat made for him by his big brother Bill who’s lying sick in bed. But Georgie meets a strange clown hidden in the sewers and disappears. It’s the beginning of an epic summer in 1958 when Bill Denbrough and his friends Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak and Stan Uris meet three other kids, Beverly Marsh, Mike  Hanlon and Ben Hanscome. 

Everyone of them has seen something very strange and frightening that seems to connect with the disappearance of Georgie and the appearance of an evil lurking Clown named Pennywise the Dancing Clown. But they also share some childhood difficulties and real life horrors that makes them misfits. Together they know they have to fight It. 

After an epic battle they promise to come back if It ever should return. 27 Years later they each get a call from Mike who’s the only one who stayed behind in Derry. It is back.


Why you should read it

To read a book this big, there must be something appealing about the story to keep you interested. Well that certainly is the case. Not one storyline or passage is redundant, every part is a true addition to the story, and it never feels like the story is too long. The structure of the book is very well chosen. It doesn’t start with the introduction of the seven kids but it begins with Georgie in 1957 and his disappearance and then skips to 1984 when a gay man named Adrian Mellon is attacked and killed by a group of boys, while a strange clown is seen. 

Only after these incidents the real story begins. It begins with six phone calls. We meet Bill, Ben, Beverly, Eddie, Richie and Stan as adults before we get to know them as children. This structure reads like a mystery that slowly unfolds. It’s in sync with the memories of the six adults. They seem to have forgotten everything about Derry and the summer of 1958, except for Mike who stayed behind in Derry, to keep watch. 

When they each return to Derry, slowly some memories are coming back and they’re not all happy ones. Their reunion is a happy one though, but they know they have to face It again. More is revealed about that summer in 1958, more about the history of Derry, until it all leads up to the final epic battle. 

The story is wonderfully told and I have read the book several times and it never gets old. The book is so full of details, and has such a rich story, that with every next read you’ll discover something new. 

The characters really come to live, just like Derry does. It mixes real life threats and dangers and fears with the supernatural ones. Pennywise is a symbol of their fears and the hate and fears of all humanity. It feeds on it. The surroundings of Derry, the Kenduskeag, the Barrens, the House on Neibolt Street, the Standpipe, the sewers, they all play a major part in the story and the way King describes them it all becomes very tangible. 

The horror is great, both the supernatural and the real life horrors, it’s awful and terrible but written with great penmanship. The encounters with It are scary and creepy, the werewolf, the mummy, the giant bird, the statue of Paul Bunyan, the blood from the drain, the little old scary lady, ghost children, a leper, all are scary but Pennywise is the scariest of them all. 

Besides being a great horror story, it has several themes throughout the book which are important and are well incorporated within the story itself. Honestly I can’t think of anything that is not good about this book. 


My favorite part

I liked everything about it. I think the best parts for me are the stories and adventures about the kids back in 1958. I love a good coming of age story, their special bond and the fact that they are Losers but find each other and become best friends. Even if you never had such a group of friends in your childhood, it brings a feeling of nostalgia, a warm fuzzy feeling.

The kids each have their own specific personality and they complement each other, they help each other facing their fears and dealing with their flaws. They stand up against evil, but to human evil and wrongs as well. It makes them heroes, who against all odds come out as winners, just for standing strong together. It’s a wonderful message in a wonderful book. 


A favorite quote

‘We all float down here. And when you come down here with me, you’ll float too.’


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Epic factor: ★★★★★

Scare factor: ★★★★★

Nostalgic factor: ★★★★★


Read more about It:


Info

It is written by Stephen King and first published by New English Library. Since then it has been reprinted many times. It consists of 1116 pages. 



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