It by Stephen King
It, by Stephen King, was a book that impacted heavily upon my teenage years. It was at that time both the biggest - and the scariest - book I’d ever read and it is a book I remember most fondly. It is always a risk to revisit beloved books decades later - you’ve (hopefully) matured, which has both negatives and positives when it comes to re-reading, and like as not the revisited book is unable to pack the same punch it once did. And this was true of It, and also King’s other doorstopper, The Stand. They were both good reads but this time around I found issues and weaknesses that I gleefully missed and ignored when I was a teenager. Oh, how I miss being young...
It’s a book about childhood, in particular the special elements like friendships that seem they will last forever, days and lives that will last forever. I cannot think of many authors who can capture what it was like to be a kid better than King. He remembers things vividly and through his words allows us to remember the excitement, the awkwardness, the ability to laugh genuinely and hard at the dumbest of things. But it is not all fun, there are the bullies, there is the feeling of inadequacy and isolation. This is not just a horror story, indeed it is less about horror and more about coming of age.
As always with any book, you should focus on the positives first and foremost. As already mentioned, this is not simply a horror book, the scary moments are few and far between and all the more powerful for it. This is a book that allows us to relive the most potent time of our lives - our childhood. King’s narrative details the young and adult lives of Bill, Richie, Stan, Bev, Eddie and Mike (The Loser’s Club) and at the same time bring to life the cursed town of Derry. And to be honest the book’s colossal length of just shy of 1,200 pages does not feel that long, especially when you are within the chapters that capture your imagination and fears most. There is much of worth and value within the pages and nostalgia plays a large part in the reading enjoyment. You’ll like these kids, they will remind you of yourself and your childhood friends, and the fact that adult life rarely pans out the way you’d thought and hoped it might will resonate with the large majority of adult readers.
However, if you speak to readers who did not enjoy It their reservations often focus on the same two areas. Many say it’s too long and too detailed, often pointlessly so. But the main recurring objection to the book is the ending, which I have to admit slightly disappointed me all those years ago and this time around left me feeling rather uncomfortable. It’s not just that the denouement is a bit of a let-down (which I feel it is) it is those now infamous few pages in which 6 boys and 1 girl (all aged 11) have sex in the sewers. It is very difficult to explain why this happened and what Stephen King intended but now I am older, and a father, it is such a strange event to occur than I find it almost inexplicable. And for many it ruins the hundreds of pages of excellent story and characterisation that went before.
As an exploration of childhood, growing up, friendship and facing both real and supernatural fears I still hold It up as a great book. But the ending, and the book’s length in general, will be unpalatable to many readers.
This It book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read It?
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It reader reviews
Cameron from America
I would read this book for hours and loved every bit except for the intercourse at the end… like really?
Andrew from United Kingdom
I've just finished it and I miss the characters. I could see the light of the long summer days from when I was a kid (I was 11 years old in 1987, growing up in Poland). The book instantly brought back memories of how we played during summer holidays. To me, its not a horror story. It's a story about a lost childhood. How we grow up and forget all those beautiful moments and purple that used to be very important in our lives. How we can't even remember some of the names of our childhood friends. It reminds me a lot of Hearts In Atlantis, which I consider one of the most beautiful books about childhood I've ever read. I found parts where Mike Hanlon reports sightings of Pennywise from old Derry redundant. You won't miss anything off you skip those parts. I hated the real monster. It's kind of lazy of King to have gone in this direction. I also found the seed scene very weird and unsettling. Otherwise, a must-read. The ending clearly shows that it is a book about wonders of childhood and how growing up robs us of it.
June from India
A 1367 pages long mistake....the whole book could be just shortened to abt 250 pgs...unwanted detailing and unnecessary vulgarity at the end..
Caroline from United States
I abosutely LOVED this book!! I already watched the movie prior to reading it and it was interesting to see how they are alike and different. This book was definitely one of the best and well written books I have read. I will say some parts go into a lot of detail and are kind of boring, but overall it gets really intense and I could never put it down! I fell in love with the characters ever since I watched the movie and I felt the same while reading the book. This book is not only horror but a story full of friendship, childhood, and love. 100000/10 recommend.
Maine book fair from USA
Bob from Canter
Lucy from England
Honestly this book was a huge disappointment. I found it very hard to get into with a lot of in depth detail that just wasn’t needed. I found myself skipping huge chunks and after about 150 pages in I decided to just give this book up because I couldn’t see it actually going anywhere. This was such a let down as I was really looking forward to it after seeing the amazing reviews that are online :(
Mark from Australia
I got “It” for my birthday and, as l am not an avid reader, l found the 1300+ pages quite daunting. Overall, l did enjoy the book but, like other reviews in this forum, King included a lot of detail about characters, places and events that could have been reduced. Obviously he needed to portray Derry as a town which had a horrible and evil history. I found the child sex scene a bit off putting but again King was trying to explain the special bond this group had. I didn’t mind the ending and will now have to see the movie.
Elyse from United States
People complain about the child orgy which is very subtle compared to a famous author I know. Clearly none of you have read Edward Lee books. You'll die of a heart attack.
Susanna from Australia
This was my first stephen king novel and after the first three chapters i nearly threw it out the window. Boy am i glad i didnt. I feel in love with the characters the town everything stephen wrote about made me feel like i knew them. I couldnt wait to finish it often thinking about the book during my wrking hours . It was a brilliant story that sent me on my path to read every stephen king novel i can find thank you
Duke from America
It is a great book to the end with deadlights and a giant turtle. The loser club charters were great
Galven from Australia
The story itself is great. The book is poorly written, sometimes bordering on incoherent. 3/4 of what is in the book is not necessary from a storyline point of view, and in my opinion is just needless fill that adds nothing to the overall story. The writing style puts me in a mind of something written by a teenager.
Evan from Belarus
The problem with King's books is that you can't read them easily. In all senses. They are massive, contain a tremendous amount of characters, names, storylines etc. What can you find in "It"? A lot of kids, a lot of grown-ups, a lot of senseless dialogs, a lot of cruel and even vulgar scenes. And, of course, one diabolical clown. Are there any new ideas in the book? Maybe that one with the giant turtle who created our Universe because couldn't hold the gases inside her anymore? Well, I guess this idea would be just perfect for King because nothing more than that he can't make up. Unfortunately.
August Profumo from USA
It Book Review By August Profumo Its first victim was six year old George Denborogh. His (ten year old brother) Bill had built a paper boat and covered with hot wax, so that it could stay, dry and buoyant down the street during a stormy morning. George, who was wearing a yellow rain slicker with a hood and galoshes, chased it all the way down (splashing joyfully) from one side of the street to the other. But, when it suddenly shot down a storm drains’ mouth, he tried to snatch it with one arm while it was still swirling from vortices in the center, tantalizingly. But, IT tore his arm off—and he died of shock from losing too much blood. Then a few other children suffered similar fates, but IT always assumed the same form, a Clown with Orange pompons, aka Penny Wise. Then two gay men who were crossing their favorite bridge were assaulted in the Future by two anti-gay men. Then one hoodlum threw Adrian Mellon over the bridge, after using fists. Then he landed near a Storm drain, where IT a Clown lurked and then killed Mellon. So, the gay survivor’s attorney explained that, if he ever mentioned seeing the Clown, they’d lose the case. So, the Gay had to cover it up. So, currently the Derry Librarian (Mike Hanlon), who was a friend, called Bill on the phone and asked him to return to Derry since IT appeared to be happening again. It’s finely spun tale about a group of childhood friends that took an oath to return to their home (Derry, Main) to destroy, IT, since they had apparently failed as children. The group of seven friends struggles to overcome IT: a monster. When they were children, however, IT appeared to be a shape shifter: it automatically adapted its visage to coincide with the children’s greatest fear. Thus, IT appeared differently to everyone, according to the perceiver precepts. So, it looked like The Creature, The Werewolf, Frankenstein, The Mummy, a leper, a Giant Bird, or an Eye. This stems from watching horror movies at the Aladdin Theater with Bella Lugosi. Since this Period was 1958, a black and white TV was possible. So, when the friends were Adults IT, appeared to be two different types of giant spiders: One spiritual (eternal, dimensional or immortal), and the other mortal (flesh and blood that laid eggs). The friends must overcome both in order to triumph. The spiritual (IT) had to be defeated first before attempting to kill the body (IT). So, there were two separate battles. So, when the Turtle created the Universe (by accident), IT wasn’t included. So, IT had to create itself. The spiritual (IT) was sublime, courageous and cunning, thus, it was extremely tough to defeat. But, the body (IT) was bizarre, cowardly and naive and begged for its own survival and that of its spawn: one hundred eggs. It was trying to bargain. But, Ben crushed them all with his feet. It’s weaving back and forth superbly between when they were children and when they were Adults. So, you’ll be dying to read the next thread. A Vision for IT Bill and Ben had researched in the Library and concluded that since the Indians believed in Visions after being exposed to smoking logs in their lodges that they should try it. So, they gathered faggots and placed them inside their underground fort to ignite with matches later. Then Bill asked Beverly, if she’d be so kind as to not participate just in case they might have problems getting out. So, she could help. But, she asked everyone to draw lots from her matches, and even though, everyone drew fairly with a single match from her hand, ultimately, Bill ordered that everyone should participate including Beverly. Within a few hours, only Mike Hanlon and Richard Cozier remained within their smoking lodge—everyone else had driven out including their illustrious Leader: Bill. Then when they emerged—a few hours later—they were coughing slightly, but they were Ok. However, Bill asked them if they had had the desired vision—but they agreed that they had—and it was shared. IT hailed from outside the Earth (perhaps, from a different Universe). IT crashed over a million years ago and landed in Derry, Main. IT was eternal and a spiritual being. IT would sleep for about twenty-seven years, then awaken, and commence eating children’s bodies and souls. Bill discovers Silver when he comes back as an Adult When Bill revisited Derry as an Adult, he found his trusty old childhood bike again at a local store: Silver. So, he bought it. Then he called Mike Hanlon on the phone and asked if he could leave it there in his garage. He agreed. Then Bill had to walk it by propping its flat top tire up and balancing it on the bottom, precariously. So, he’s holding it up by its handle bars. Then he used two hands: one gripping the handle bars and the other the top flat tire. Then he walked forward a wee bit at time. So, when he arrived at Mike’s, he already had all of Bill’s tire kit gear and screw drivers ready (including a pump). Mike had bought everything about a month ago, and he had known why. Then Bill puts Silver on its seat and tests the wheels by spinning them a few times after finishing his repairs. Then he tightened some bolts and put a few more drops of 3-M gear oil on the chain. Then he beeps his horn, “Aaaauuuuuggguuuuuu.” Making a Dam Initially, Ben had a major scrape with three bad classmates who followed him from the Library to the Barrens where three children were building a dam: Eddie, Richey and Bill. (Ben had refused to allow their leader to copy from his Exam paper on the Last day of school). The Bad classmates had reaped havoc on their nascent dam by kicking it apart with their feet—and then stomping on it. But, when Ben arrived, he chucked a few stones furiously at them, driving them away—and the others friends assisted by throwing their own. So, Ben drew a side view diagram, with his notebook and pen, how to build a stronger Dam with wooden boards, supports, sand and gravel. Then they agreed to meet the next day to begin their new project. So, they started at 8am, Jun 4. But, their initial attempt had failed, so they had to pile a few more stones between the plywood planks. So, it took about three weeks. The dam was so successful that the local cop, Mr. Nell, told them that they had to take it down, since it caused the sewage lines to backup around town. He told them that if they tore it down (quickly) that he wouldn’t press charges. Beverly notices that her parents can’t see the blood in her bathroom She used the sink and toilet, but she saw a lot of blood suddenly gushing out of vents and spilling out, all over the floor. So, she had to clean it off herself with towels since her stomach, arms and legs were covered. So, she told her friends about it. So, the four boys: Eddie, Bill, Richey and Ben went to her house since her parents were gone for the day at work: her father was a Janitor and her mother was a waitress. But, they saw the mess. So, they helped her clean by buying new towels and then they took them to the local laundry mat to be cleaned. Beverley, remembered her parents having sex once with the bed springs crashing loudly up and down. Her friend explained to her about what she knew about it: “When the man finishes, he pees all over your bug.” Beverly as an adult was Living with her husband Tom who beat her up with his belt Beverly had married a successful business man who nevertheless beat her regularly with his own leather belt. Initially, he used it when he caught her smoking, since she had agreed to quit. But, once in awhile when she had received parking tickets, he’d hit her with it a few times. Then he’d say, “You’re going to get a Whipping!” just like his mother. But, Beverley believed that since her own father had hit her when she deserved it, that’s why she was submissive. But, when she told Tom that she’d be leaving for while in order to fulfill her prior commitments (although she didn’t say where) he went berserk. So, he went beyond the pale of a mere whipping with her. So, she retaliated in order keep to stay alive and to return to Derry, Main. After, escaping Beverly called her friend from a 7-11 from a pay phone and arranged to visit. Then she took a cab to her apartment and stayed there overnight, sleeping on the front room’s couch. Then the next morning, she explained what had happened—and her friend was a Pro-woman’s liberation type (like Rhoda Kellogg). So, her friend said, “You should’ve divorced your husband, Tom, years ago. Then she arranged for her plane’s departure to Derry, Main—and her friend dropped her off at the airport. Then Tom Visited Beverly’s Friend’s apartment and forced his way in—although initially she had dropped her guard for only a second. Then she was forced to reveal where Beverly had gone, because after beating her to a pulp the first time, he had threatened to kill her. So, Tom flew there. But, since he looked bad from his wife’s beating, the rental car agencies refused to rent him a car. So, Tom searched through the classified newspaper, searching for cars. Somehow, he found one, but he had to get the plates for it in the airport garage. Then he asked the seller via pay phone to drop a screw driver off to do it with, when he delivered the car to the airport. Then, when he arrived, he paid the kid $1,100 cash. The Refrigerator with Parasites in the Dump Beverley, had followed one Bad Guy to his favorite refrigerator in the Dump, where he kept a Zoo of half dead animals like cats, dogs, rats. Then when he opened the door, he was attacked by one Parasite type creature similar to a flying leech, with a huge proboscis, which poked a huge quarter inch in diameter hole in his arm, and started sucking his blood. So, he grabbed it with his free hand, squashing it dead. But, the blood that had oozed out of his wound on ground was his. Then another ten vile creatures emerged and attached themselves to him in the same revolting way, sucking all his blood out. Then, for the coup de grace, IT came by with a slightly different visage and dragged him off to eat. Then Beverly rejoins her friends and shows them what has happened to the Dump’s refrigerator. Then they followed her in order to ascertain, where the boy who was dragged off by IT, went. Then when they arrived within the vicinity, they saw a giant tunnel spiraling, downward. So, Beverly, who had her (Target) slingshot in her back pocket, pulled it out, and withdrew one of the two silver pellets from her front pocket, then aimed it, and finally shot at a creature that looked like a giant mosquito from hell. But, initially she had missed, but it had curved back magically and struck its target—making mince meat out of it—at the last second. The First Rock Fight Mike Hanlon was trying to escape from three bad classmates who had infiltrated by climbing over his fences and continued following him out. One claimed to have poisoned his dog. They hit each other with branches and pelted each other with small stones. So, they chased him to the Barrens wild country, where he was trying to shake them. That’s where the friends were, in their own territory. So, they had had plenty of ammo: round sedimentary stones against their arch enemies who were pursuing, strategically cached in pits. So, they succeeded in defending themselves, admirably. So, from that day onward they allowed Mike Hanlon to become a member of The Losers Club. So, he agreed to keep their vital secrets. But, after talking with him, they discovered that some of their experiences were shared: IT. Then Mike showed his friends his father’s entire collection of photos from Derry without asking for his permission, which included the Clown, doing round-offs, flip-flops and double whip backs, as entertainment for the children and handing out orange helium filled balloons that floated in the opposite direction of the wind without casting any shadows. (Bill had seen similar revealing pictures from his father’s albums with his little brother, George). Mike had seen IT in person as well. The Black Spot Fire Mike was talking to his father at the hospital just before he died of Cancer and he was taking morphine to kill the pain. He told him about when he was in the Army and patronized local off base drinking establishments during (Carrie Nation’s) Prohibition on the weekends, which was merited because he had worked extremely hard during the week. He got in trouble for going because somehow it got back to the CO. So, they allowed the blacks on his base to build their own club there. After, we refurbished its floors with oil, it opened everyday at 11am but it was like a cafeteria serving only Soda pop and cheddar burgers with French fries. Then after a while, we had live Jazz music on Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm to 2am. Indeed, it was so popular that people would come from across the state line, stay and danced all night long but they brought their own booze inside brown paper bags (like Canadian Whisky). Then about six hooded gang members with white robes and masks drove there in a white van and exited. Then they lit their kerosene torches with matches and used them to ignite the building inside, mainly by throwing them through the kitchen window. The front door was wide open, but because that was the only way out, it got jammed shut during the first ten seconds, since there was a stampede (about 300 people panicked). Then I was able to escape by jumping through the kitchen window, but I had to be careful not to cut my hands with broken glass. Then the sergeant showed up, driving a heavy steak truck. Then he got out and started to give orders to my friend and me. So, my friend hit the sergeant’s head with his fist, knocking him out cold. Then he jumped into the truck and rammed it into the flaming building. The first time he hit, he got hurt, but when he hit it again by putting it in reverse. Then when he finally hit it full force, a small crack appeared and a few people were able to scuttle out, escaping with smoke trailing behind. But, some were still on fire, so I started throwing buckets of water or hitting them with wet towels in order to extinguish it. The Epilogue Then at the very End, Bills wife, Audra, who had survived the ordeal with IT—in the catacombs, attached to a cocoons’ spun like thread—was stricken with catatonia. But, she still hasn’t recovered fully—even though Bill has grown bald from aging. So, Bill gets Silver ready—his trusty old bike from his childhood days with Playing cards on its spokes held there by close-pins. Then he takes her for a ride. Then when he says,” Hi Oh, Silver, Away!” she finally wakes up from her catatonic state like a miracle. Then she warns him to stop or he’ll kill them both with his foolishness. Then Audra, said, “I remember getting off the plane at Bangor, and I can’t remember a thing after that.” Analysis King continues writing until he’s satisfied with his Endings. But, because he’s hot-rodder, he’s rolling along inexorably forward from his own momentum like a giant wheel. So, it’ll take a while for him to stop because his accrued momentum (from velocity and mass) is insurmountably massive. His descriptions are still remarkably detailed, vivid and refreshing from beginning to end. He’s thoroughly immersed in his topic because he identifies closely with each character for their sake. So, he sees their perspectives and understands it utterly. Then his explanations are honest, profound and outstanding.
Martin from Austria
Never have I been this scared while reading a book!
Adam from Australia
This is a book that can shape your reading years as a child/teenager (I believe I was 10 when I first read IT) simply because it can reach out to those parts of your life that resonate most strongly with what the Loser's Club may experience away from the horror of IT. I have since read this novel several times since and while I can on occasion feel a bit impatient to reach critical points in the novel I also realize that those moments would not have the same impact without the time spent exploring the characters beforehand. I disagree with the comment about the length (which the above also mentions is not an issue for all) as I found that it created a complete journey for the main cast which may have been missed on a shorter page count. And also I was always surprised by the outrage about the scene where Beverly ties them all together during sex, to me it made sense in the situation of which it occurred given that they were trying to create a bond that would never be lost in the insanity they had witnessed and the lives ahead of them. I guess the purpose of this was in a sense that if they had not created some connection (and Stan's cutting of palms also follows) they would have never come back to end IT later on in their lives and what they had gone through as children would have accounted for nothing.
8/10 from 17 reviews
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