Books

I Finally Read It

IT

It

By: Stephen King

As a kid I was always a fan of Stephen King’s older stuff. The Stand, Tommyknockers, Carrie, Christine but for some reason I got it in my head that I would never, ever touch It. Yet the most recent adaptation and a rekindled interest in horror made me finally pickup the book tale of Pennywise.

And in the end I found it odd as promised and more sad and melancholy than actually scary.

So most people probably know the basics of the tale. A seemingly immortal clown terrorizes the small town of Derry, Maine every 27 years kidnapping and killing kids. At the start of one cycle he kills young Georgie Denborough who just wanted to play with his boat and was apparently never told not to talk to clowns in sewers.

The following summer George’s older brother and six-other kids will come together to form the Losers club and face Pennywise the clown. 27-years after that confrontation the children have grown-up and mostly moved away and forgotten the whole thing when a new cycle starts and Pennywise decides to call them home and take care of its unfinished business.

Do they have the courage to face their fears again? Will the memory of how they survived the first time help them or even come back? Can they find the imagination and faith they had as children to give them strength?

The first part of this book and the history of Derry- told in interludes- is interesting and genuinely scary. There’s something about King at this point where he can basically word vomit but still make it fascinating and immersive. I loved the kids just as much in the book as the film and I was surprised by how much more Pennywise was able to use their fears and shift and not just be the clown.

It’s actually got a lot in common with Tommyknockers- which in canon happened in the town next door. Derry is also mentioned a handful of times in that book. I do hope we get the full blown ending in the movie. Speaking of the film there were a couple of differences that really stood out to me including one that I was truly surprised about especially since I think their going to do the same thing to get them into the sewers in part 2.  But that’s for another post.

To be fair I knew some parts of the ending of It. I knew it was odd. Weird. Off-the-rails. There are stories King wrote it at the height of his drug addiction and I can certainly see that easily enough. On the one hand the more trippy elements of the ending of It didn’t bother me but it definitely took away from any of the fear.

Pennywise

The kid sex scene with all of them must be mentioned as well as its another big reason I always told myself I wouldn’t read it. I am not for censorship of any sort but I am for editing. Luckily I was warned it was in there and you know when it’s kicking off. It’s easily skipped. (Which only reinforces my belief it’s worthless and easily edited.) It’s also King so there’s random mentions of breasts and erections throughout.

There’s also racist and sexist language casually used throughout and even saying oh it was the olden days I did feel like it was a little much there. There’s also spousal abuse, child abuse, suicide and (I would think this goes without saying) extreme acts of violence most against and some carried out by children.

The bullies were actually toned down in the movie believe it or not- two of them were just outright psychotic in the book.

And a fucking giant spider which nailed my great fear.

So It is a very, very mixed bag but despite that I do come down on the side of liking It and being happy I read It.

Would I recommend It?

It’s one of those where you know your own limits. I think if you are like me and have some familiarity and liking for King’s writing of the 80’s time period and have been dancing around the idea of reading It- go for it.

But likely if this book is in your “not a chance, never” list nothing I could say about it would probably change your opinion 🙂

28 thoughts on “I Finally Read It”

  1. Well said. It was one of the few I struggled to get through. And not because I don’t like clowns. I don’t mind them at all. The book was just a chore to get through. Granted I was 18- 20 something when I read it.
    Ps have you happen to watch any Carnival Row? I will be really curious to hear/share some thoughts. I binged it the last two days. It’s Pretty much right up your alley!

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    1. I’m so glad to hear Carnival Row was good! I’ve been looking forward to it but had a miserable migraine for the last several days and kind of want to start it when I can actually bare to concentrate on something for more than ten minutes 🙂 I can’t wait to though!

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      1. Well I wouldn’t say that I am a great critic. But if I binge watch something in a short amount of time, well I must have liked it. So sorry about the migraine. I know exactly what you are going through. Too many years with too many triggers. But then I found something that changed everything. And since, no more debilitating migraines!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I totally agree! The faster I watch something the better.

        I checked out episode one last night. Very intriguing. I thought he was very unsurprised to see her at the end 😉 Philo is definitely hiding something big. Also the girl who plays Imogen played Dany in the GOT pilot so that’s throwing me a bit because I’ve always wondered if she was a good actress. I liked her though and I definitely want more of Jared Harris (in everything…)

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      3. I won’t comment much less I give something away. There’s a lot going on. After the first episode though my biggest question was how do these pieces fit together. Or do they. Which is probably why I kept watching. It’s funny you mention Dany because I called the similarities to the Targeryans with her and her brother and when I did that I made that connection which was pretty funny! You’ll have to let me know as you watch more what you think of her.
        As for him, I felt that he knew it would be inevitable. As long as she was alive, or thought she was, he knew she’d come back to him eventually (and be pissed)

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    1. I’d agree with you about 75% but after the explanation I think that took some of the fear away from me. It will be interesting to see if they go that way in the movie and what the response will be for some people who aren’t familiar with it. 🙂

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  2. I agree with you. I read the book this year, and it is creepy, but I found it surprisingly disappointing, and it is long winded and could really be half its size to tell the same story. Stephen King has even apologized for this phase of his writing. Still he is a great writer and knows how to draw in the suspense. Fortunately, his newer books are more to the point and really well written!
    P.S. the book is mostly about the kids, what are they going to put in the adult part of the movie?

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    1. Pretty much everyone whose watched the miniseries says the adult part was weakest in that too. I’m hopeful because they have great actors but its also longer than the first movie so we’ll have to see 🙂

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  3. I loved the book, it was so deep and the human characters were actually far more scary than the supernatural evil. The adaptation did very well even though they did take many liberties but parts of this are certainly unfilmable and I am glad to hear King was high when writing it because there is no other explanation for THAT scene involving kids

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    1. Oh I’m glad the that scene was out to. I probably wouldn’t have watched it 🙂
      The change I thought was strange was changing how they first went into the sewers by having him take Beverly in the film. I actually liked the sequence in the book a lot more especially because its kind of what happens with Audra at the end. Oh well! Have fun at the film!

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  4. There’s something about King at this point where he can basically word vomit but still make it fascinating and immersive. – you perfectly summed up Stephen King in that one sentence.

    Really excited to read this now, I think I’ll have to bump it up on my TBR. Though I’m shocked to hear about the casual racism, it’s the first I’ve heard that it contains racist remarks. That’s disappointing. And yeah, so agree, tired of having to always say it was just the olden days.

    I feel like kids in film adaptations and violence in itself is always toned down to cater to people’s sensibilities… and I really wish they didn’t because it’s better to see characters as they were imagined and written otherwise it’s just an unfaithful interpretation of characters.

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    1. Yeah the language racism is really over the top. I mean I was a kid in those days and my mouth would have been washed out with soap if my mother ever let me speak again. Though even then we knew better. Even growing up around a lot of older relatives who spoke off-handed I a lot of ways it’s pretty over the top in the book so you may want to keep that in mind 🙂

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