In honour of the newest adaptation of IT being released in cinemas in a few days, I thought this was perfect timing for a review of the book! I had read another of Kings books before, The Green Mile and really enjoyed his writing style so I also expected to like this novel. Prior to starting, I had seen the 90’s mini series so I was quite familiar with the characters and storyline but the book was simply something else.
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.
It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.
Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
What I enjoyed:
- Eery and thrilling – From the first page, there’s a menacing atmosphere that’s built up and continues throughout the novel. Sometimes it’s very subtle but powerful nevertheless. I wouldn’t classify it as straight forward horror though as it’s much more a coming of age tale and showcasing how childhood experiences can shape adulthood.
- Representation of friendship – I think for me the most compelling aspect of this book was the strength of the friendship between the kids in The Losers Club. The horrors they experience together and the way they only have each other to rely on through all difficulties: abuse, bullying and alienation to name a few, gives them a life long loyalty. I think this aspect will be very nostalgic for a lot of people and perhaps take them back to memories of their own childhood. There is one scene however- between Bev and the boys which is quite controversial and I felt it was odd and unnecessary.
- Flawed characters – I don’t think there’s any one character which is ‘perfect’ in this book, they all have their own setbacks, unique arcs and make terrible decisions at times, but for me this kept it realistic. It’s especially interesting in this case as you get to see the adults these children become, and see some of the same behaviours follow them.
- Humanity – As I mentioned before, the truly horrific aspects within It, relies on the flawed aspects in human nature. Sure, Pennywise and his many manifestations are nightmare inducing enough, but there’s something very scary about the adults in Derry who remain wilfully ignorant of the evil happening to their own children. I think all of us can recall an instance when we were frightened and we relied on a parental figure or some sort of authority for comfort, in this book however, the children only have each other.
What could have been improved:
- Timelines – The story switches from the Losers Club when they were children, growing up and when they are adults. I have to admit the sections told when they were younger are far more interesting and I’d find myself wishing the adult parts would end so I could get right into the crux of the back story. Obviously both parts are necessary but I connected a lot more with the younger narrative.
- Dragged a bit – In a book of this length and caliber, it’s inevitable that there would be some moments which felt a bit slow, but some parts still annoyed me a bit where I felt like there was unnecessary prolonging of a scene etc.
Overall, I really did love this book, from the atmosphere to the bond between the characters, I was totally drawn in. I know it’s one of my firm favourites now and one I’ll re read again one day…when I have the time, it’s pretty hefty, page wise!
Have any of you read IT? Seen the movie maybe? Or planning to see the new adaptation? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,