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.

IT 

It’s September 8th 2017 and Stephen King’s killer clown, Pennywise is back with a vengeance.
The story takes place in the sleepy town of Maine where Pennywise resides deep within the sewers. It is children who he preys on and it’s only the children who can only see him, which what makes him that much more dangerous. I mean, if your parents can’t protect you then who can?

In the 1987 version of the film the clown was played by actor, Tim Curry and he took on the role as a cartoon but with Bill Skarsgård efforts he plays the part as a monster trying to be a human, which is a hard thing to do. I mean, it’s hard for me to explain this but there’s a scene where Pennywise is laughing and he suddenly stops to stare into nothing as if he himself was frightened of showing any sort of emotion be it fake or otherwise.

Tim Curry as IT

Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) is a kid with a stammer (known to his teachers as stuttering Bill) who has to look after his little brother, Georgie and perhaps partly just to get rid of him, lets Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) play outside in the rain, sailing a paper boat down a rushing gutter. Just as the boat disappears down a drain, Georgie is surprised to see a clown standing down there in the darkness: this is the sinister red-balloon-wielding Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), who asks him if he’d like his boat back? Just lean down into the darkness and take it! Falling for the clown’s charms, Georgie does as he is told and in the blink of an eye that’s the end of poor Georgie.

Haunted by what happened to his younger brother who was under his watch Bill sets out to find out what happened to poor Georgie. And I feel that his parents blame him for the disappearance of their child and so during the long summer days Bill is more or less left to his own devices. With having to deal with the local bullies and abusive parents as well as a murderous clown who says that frighten flesh taste better, the Losers Club have a lot of growing up to do. The only girl in the gang, Beverly is although it’s not shown in the film but it is implied that she is not only being hit by her father she’s also being sexually abused. Her father in her mind is much more scarier than the clown that lurks beneath the town. When she finally faces her fear, which is what the whole story is about, is when they can overcome IT in a final showdown.

Thoroughly enjoyed this adaption … it is true to Stephen King’s book. There is lovely character development. It has a Stand By Me feel in places. Funny and plenty of jumps and scares. “Masterful” is on point in my opinion! I’m by no means a fan of horror but I have read the book and seen the original version so I was just curious to see this adaptation, I’m glad I did. And the kids in this film were excellent.

I saw IT in Cineworld and you should too!

I’ve reviewed the book IT too, have a look here.