I think I’ve mentioned this in previous updates, but for the longest time I avoided Stephen King’s It. It just seemed way too intimidating. I don’t do well with long books. I quickly lose interest, and it’s almost always never the fault of the author. As soon as I’m reading a book, I see another in a bookstore and go, “Oh! I want to read that one. NOW.”
Took me until I was thirty-five to finally give the book a go, and I am really, really glad that I did. It is a sweeping and engaging epic. Heartwarming, funny, and terrifying. The interesting thing is I found the actual horror elements the least interesting. Sure, I loved It when it was in the background, but when the kids and adults finally come face to face with It, that’s when I wasn’t nearly as interested or invested. I was far more engaged by the children and their relationships with one another.
And the history King paints for this town. AMAZING. Some of the best stuff apart from the kids is the history King goes into. And he has to, because the town is very much the story. The town isn’t simply a town. It’s a major character. DERRY IS IT.
As much as I enjoyed the novel, there were a few times towards the end of the book where I thought it went off the rails. Without getting into spoilery territory (although I imagine at this point I was the only human on this chaotic planet who hadn’t read It), the kids end up having to do… something to get out of the tunnels. An adult version of one of the kids makes mention of this, and I remember blinking my eyes several times and saying, “Whaaaaaat?” I thought surely I’d misheard. Or perhaps it wasn’t meant to be literal. Maybe it was more of a metaphor. But then you get to that part and OH NOPE IT AIN’T NO STINKIN’ METAPHOR IT REALLY HAPPENS. (Also, reading Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story, he even mentions this in his footnotes which warned me that, yes, this most certainly happens). I get what King was trying to achieve with this, but it just felt wrong and out of place to me. And I actually read this section as fast as I could to get it done and over with.
Be warned animal lovers… there are some really, really tough and horrible scenes involving animal murder and torture. On the plus side, we get to see what happens to this person who’s causing the murder and torture, and it was insanely satisfying.
To help me get through this monster of a book, I listened to the audiobook which is superbly read by Steven Webber. He does an amazing job. Highly recommended. Even if you’ve read the book, you should listen to his reading. It’s masterful.
I loved Stephen King’s It. Will I ever read it again? Hard to say. It really is long, and like I said I don’t do well with long books. But I am really happy that I finally got around to reading it. Definitely can see why this is so many people’s favorite book by him.