Review: IT

IT by Stephen KingTitle: IT
Author: Stephen King
Published: September 1986
Author’s Website:
Genre: Horror

Review:  There’s not a lot of build-up before disaster strikes for “Stuttering Bill” Denbrough in 1958.  While Derry is in the grips of a flood, and Bill is laid up in bed sick, his brother Georgie has an unfortunate meeting with Pennywise the Clown.  Tragedy, in Derry, seems to be a way of life, as Bill and The Losers’ Club soon learn.

The thing was to get through this one. To get the power back on, and then to forget it.  In Derry such forgetting of tragedy and disaster was almost an art, as Bill Denbrough would come to discover in the course of time.

The Losers’ Club, a group of kids who form a deep bond over one terrifying summer, are called back from their adult lives by the only one still living in Derry, the small town in Maine in which they all grew up, on the strength of a promise they barely remember making as kids.  It turns out that the promise is all most of them remember of the adventure that brought them all together as kids, pitting them against a malevolent entity that seems to have been preying on people in the town for a long, long time.

As they gather and talk and start to remember more of that summer, IT is also reaching out and bringing in help.  A pawn or two with easily swayed minds may be able to prevent The Losers’ Club from a repeat performance, maybe from even making the attempt.

Fighting through muddled memories, emotions, and fears, as well as the forces that IT is able to marshal in its defense, The Losers’ Club make their way to the final confrontation, hoping to summon enough of the magic they found as kids to overcome IT once and for all.

The quote above and the ones below are the “Teaser Tuesday” posts I made over the course of this story:

His face uttered a strange smile which said that, while he didn’t believe anything so silly, he believed it completely.

Richie understood.

Whatever it was, it came to me in the night, left its talisman…and then disappeared.

Tied to my reading lamp was a single balloon.

He was about to turn away when something caught his eye: a cement cylinder with a heavy steel cap on the top.  Morlock holes, Ben used to call them, laughing with his mouth but not quite laughing with his eyes.

They stood in the rain in a huddled group, hugging each other, listening to it hiss down on the bushes.  That was what she remembered best:   the sound of the rain and their own shared silence and a vague sorrow that Eddie was not there with them.

Bottom Line: Maybe it’s because this was my first Stephen King novel, but IT has always been one of my favorites.  Maybe it also has to do with being able to relate to The Losers’ Club –I was never hounded by bullies, but my circle of friends always seemed to be the nerds, the not-quite-outcasts, those who’d rather go build forts in the woods and use our imaginations than do what was “cool”.  This is truly a horror story, consisting of both human and supernatural monsters that prey upon children and adults, but it’s also a story of hope and magic, the kind that we find in ourselves and our friends.  I highly recommend IT.


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