IT book review 

By Stephen King

Easons €10.49 was €13.99

Pages 1,138

It book cover

IT first edition book cover
IT first edition book cover first published September 15th, 1986

About the author: Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

Synopsis: 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 is the children who see – and feel – what makes the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.

Now IT is a cleverly laid out story in probably my favourite method of literary craftsmanship, simply put, we follow two time lines 27 years apart that shadow an almost identical path fraught with a monstrous menace and a demon that prays on children. Seven young friends come together in the late 50’s and face a little more than the usual growing pains of childhood, a promise is made and years later they come back to Derry to face a horror all but forgotten. Yanked back by the, whatever that makes you wince the most, but this is a hell of a lot more than the story of six boys and one girl who stumbled into a nightmare one hot summer.

There’s so much to love in this story, characters that you watch grow, characters you can’t help but care deeply about and a gripping story that remains that way for the vast majority off it. Stuttering Bill, ‘beep beep’ Richie, Ben ‘haystack’ Hanscom and Beverly Marsh were my favourites and whenever the story cuts to the friends as adults, you just can’t wait to get back to the stories of the youngsters. Their altercations with the bullies, Henry Bowers getting Bev’s boot right where it hurts the most, Eddie lying in that hospital bed and finally giving his mother what for. There’s just so many stand out moments with these kids and the trials and tribulations they faced, it’s just too much to mention them all.

Richie with the mouth that simply decided on its own to cut and run instead of stopping too think ‘Richie could hold back no longer; his mouth simply fell open and then ran away like the gingerbread man, as it so often did’.

The Patrick Hockstetter chapter, a sociopathic kid that while not as disturbing as Shelley from The Troop, was just creepy as f*ck.

While he was beating frantically at it and watching the bloodstain spread above the place where it had taken its hold, another settled on his right eye. Patrick closed it, but that did no good; he felt a brief hot flare as the thing’s sucker poked through his eyelid and began to suck the fluid out of his eyeball. Patrick felt his eye collapse in its socket and he screamed again.

Beverly a witness to it all, the sink and the blood, her escape from the manipulative partner and the belt. Ben chased by the clown at the bridge over the canal, it’s all just fried within an inch of its life with the fattest side salad known to man, a delicacy in fine dining.

The kids going back into the basement of that house and Ben struggling through that little window.

He started to pull himself out and realized, horrified, that he could do it, but was very apt to yank his pants – and perhaps his underpants as well – down to his knees when he did. And there he would be, with his extremely large ass practically in his beloved’s face.

Bill on his return to that sewer.

I guess this is what we mean when we talk about the persistence of memory, this or something like this, something you see at the right time and from the right angle, image that kicks off emotion like a jet engine. You see it so clear that all the things which happened in between are gone. If desire is what closes the circle between world and want, then the circle has closed.

And finally IT, a thing that changed and fed on your worst fears, a f*ckdoer of pure evil.

The fears of children were simpler and usually more powerful. The fears of children could often be summoned up in a single face … and if bait were needed, why, what child did not love a clown.

I always wanted to read this book but was put off by the size of it. I’m glad I did now even if it took me over a 3 and a half weeks to complete! An unbelievable read that had me on edge. I love Stephen king’s voice and his ability to create a world with just words that make you feel like you’re there. If you have never finished this book because of the length of the story then I advise you to get back to it! Amazing. And yes, it is that scary!

IT movie review available here.

The Bolds On Holiday book review

By Julian Clary

Easons €9.80

The Bolds book cover

About the author: Julian Clary is a comedian, entertainer and novelist, who has toured across the world with his one-man shows. He became a household name in the late 1980s, and remains one of the country’s most popular (and least predictable) entertainers. Julian has appeared on numerous popular TV shows including Celebrity Big Brother (which he won), Strictly Come Dancing, This Morning, QI, Have I Got News For You and is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute. He has starred in West End productions of Taboo and Cabaret, and appears in panto most years – he loves wearing silly clothes and lots of make up! Julian also narrates the Little Princess children’s television series. He lives in Kent with his husband, dogs and several chickens.

About the illustrator: David Roberts is an award-winning illustrator who has earned great acclaim for his distinctive style. He was born in Liverpool and studied fashion design at university in Manchester. After graduating, he worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator, but always felt his true calling was in children’s books. David finally realised his dream when his first book was published in 1998, and since then he has collaborated with some of Britain’s finest children’s authors, including Julia Donaldson, Sally Gardner, Philip Ardagh and Jacqueline Wilson. He is also the creator of the popular Dirty Bertie books. He lives in London with his husband. His book Little Red was shortlisted for the 2005 Kate Greenaway Medal. In 2006 he won the Nestle Children’s Book Prize Gold Award for his line drawings in Mouse Noses on Toast.

Synopsis: It’s the summer holidays, and the hairiest family in Teddington decide to take a well-earned holiday by the seaside. With their extended hyena family in tow, they head on down to Cornwall for a spot of camping. But it’s never long before trouble sniffs these hyenas out, and Bobby is mistaken for a pup and snatched by a wicked dognapper. The Bolds will need all their ingenuity to hunt her down and rescue all the pilfered pooches. But can these hyenas-in-disguise save the day, without letting the cat out of the bag?

The story is about a family of hyenas trying desperately hard to conceal their canine features to blend in with the humans and (as most families are) this family is disfunctional to say the least. There is a lot of things happening in this book and moves at a fast pace. From a mad-cap sports day, to a wounded leg, to dogs, to holidays, to dognappers, to reading about new friends. The family really are harmless but I wouldn’t want to leave next door to them as an adult BUT as a kid I’d love it what with all the excitement that always follows them around!

I suppose if you wanted to delve a little deeper into what I think Julian was trying to convey in this story, that it doesn’t matter where people come from, what they look (be it hairy or otherwise!) or what their religious beliefs are, it’s the person that you should get to know. That’s just mean overthinking it when I look at Syrian refugees coming to a foreign land to live. Smile and be friendly, guys.

It’s a fun little book for both boys and girls aged between 9 to 12 years. The Christmas cracker jokes are corny but then again have you ever read one that wasn’t? It’s filled with funny moments that will have your inner child in stitches. I tried hard not to “laugh out loud” but I did find myself sniggering. Well worth buying for the little person in your life.