If you had told me at the beginning of the year that I would read a novel thats over 1,000 pages long I would have laugh at your face and say when pigs can fly. Apparently pigs can do that because I came, I saw, and I conquered this monstrosity of a novel. I tried reading IT a year ago and failed epically because I couldn’t give 100% of my attention to the novel and its definitely a book that you have to be reading constantly or you will give up after 200 pages. I didn’t have a physically copy of the book which does not help at all and luckily this time around I got a used paperback edition along with my hardcover edition to keep me company.
What propelled me to finish this novel was the film adaptation. I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old, my friend had a VHS copy (did I just dated myself?) of the IT miniseries with Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown and I was fortunate enough to watch it and it was not scary. That means a lot considering as a kid I hated clowns, I didn’t have an issue of seeing them far away like in a circus setting but if one got near me I would go into panic mood. When it comes to film and television, if you want to scare the living daylights out of me you have to visually present the acts of horror and violence on screen and I felt that the miniseries didn’t live up to the book especially the amount of crazy sh@#t that happens in Derry. I know the film will be nothing compare to the book and I curious what the writers and director will do to scare a whole new generation (plus its rated R so thats a bit more hopeful).
I entered this novel thinking it was pure horror and in all earnestness its a beautiful coming-of-age story. The novel deals with a group of kids (7 to be exact) who are trying to find a way to destroy a terrorizing clown who is wreaking havoc and murdering children across the map. At first you believe they have succeeded in that mission and made a sacred vow that if the clown every shows up, they will reunite and fight it once and for all. Guess what? 27 years later the clown surfaces again and starts killing everyone left and right so we get to meet our beloved characters again as adults. Stephen King with his masterful skills as a writer was able to simultaneously blend the narrative between the past and present without interrupting the flow of the story. It feels at times that we are experiencing these characters memories as if it were our own.
What I love about this novel is King makes major investments on these characters, providing background information and letting these friendships blossom naturally which is difficult if you think about it. Derry itself is a character and theres hundreds of pages that provide enough information about what is Derry and how these tragedies keep happening in every century. Overall I am relieved to finish this novel but theres a tinge of sadness that is lurking underneath the surface as I say goodbye to these lovable characters.
I wanted this novel to be 5 stars and for the most part it was going through that route until I reached the half-way mark. My biggest complaint about this novel is that it is TOO long. I understand King wants to create this whole universe and I have no quarrels about it but he could have eliminated easily 200 pages that weren’t needed. The other issue is there is too many children. I can see how each one was useful in the end but there could have been 5 instead of 7 children and the audience wouldn’t tell the difference.
Another reason why I am avoiding telling you much about the plot is because I highly recommend going into this novel without a clue because the littlest details you find out about the Loser’s club or Pennywise could cost you a few hundred pages of boredom. As I was reading the novel I started remembering certain revelations from the miniseries which made me want to slit my wrists (is it too soon?) later on waiting for about 150 pages before I learn new information. My favorite characters were Bill, Ben, and Mike whereas I could not stand Beverly for the life of me. Every time I came across her story I could careless what happens to her and even when she was an adult I was ready for her to get killed by Pennywise. That infamous scene that happens towards the end, I understand why people are grossed out by it and trust me its a bit uncomfortable but I can see Stephen King’s perspective that he needed to find a connection that closes the bridge between child and adult.
Even though the kids are 11 years old, I pictured them to be about 13-14 years old and I believe I am not alone it this struggle. If IT was written in 2017, I honestly believe King would have made them older and he would have the necessary template to write these characters in middle school setting. Plus the passage between children to adults would be more accepting and realistic than how it is written. Besides Henry Bowers, I got a major vibe that Eddie is gay. I believe without his mother haunting him and the AIDS epidemic, he would have realized that he’s into men especially how he always makes these references about Bill and how he “admires” him. So I wasn’t shocked the way his storyline played out and I would have loved to see a leading gay character in a Stephen King novel.
This was a solid 4 star novel by the time I reached the end but after the 1,000 page mark I was shocked how the plot line kept getting better and Stephen King was able to wrap up this story perfectly. Every time I wanted to put down the novel Stephen King found something new and interesting to bring to the table and it left me wondering how is this epic fantasy story was going to end. I was thoroughly amused and it is a bit heartbreaking to say goodbye to these characters. After reading this book I was expecting a sequel in the works and see King revisit these characters after all these years and its sad to say that you only get to meet a few of them again in 11/22/63 . I love Stephen King and in the short amount of time I’ve been a fan of his work I can properly say that this could be my top 5 favorite King novel. For now I say goodbye to Bill, Ben, Mike, Beverly, Eddie, and even Stan and the day that I forget about you and your story I will revisit Derry again so until then I will hold you all deeply in my heart and memory. Don’t forget…
“We all float down here, you’ll float, too. “