Overview (No Spoilers): Over the weekend my Mom and I were discussing the fact that during my prolonged book obsession in my youth, I was reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, much of it material that far exceeded the age appropriate realm. My parents, stereotypically conservative, tried at first to curb or influence my choices by establishing a ‘no witchcraft’ policy, however they soon yielded to my insatiable love of reading, especially since it spanned such a wide variety of topics. I’m in no way bashing or judging my parents who were trying their best to monitor the reading material that their daughter was voraciously absorbing like a sponge. I’m sure if they would have continued to restrict, I read what I wanted anyway, just with an added clandestine element. Prompting our foray into the past was my long anticipated reread of It, which I had originally picked up when I was 12 or 13. Having loved this work by King during my initial encounter with Derry, Maine, I recently found myself curious as to if I would enjoy It as much a second time around almost 20 years later. Spurring this interest is the eagerly anticipated movie remake, scheduled to make its theatre debut September 8th. Needless to say, I enjoyed It just as much, if not more as an adult. Interestingly, during my first read through I found myself associating more with the children, whereupon this time I related more with the grownups. Moral of the story, I’m old. Ok, perhaps old isn’t the correct term. Let’s say, more mature compared to when I was initially reading this horror story. It was my first King novel in quite a while other than 11/22/63, and again I was reminded of how masterful he is at conveying the inner dialogue of a character’s mind. In comparison to my initial encounter with Pennywise, I chose to listen to the audiobook in lieu of text, which resulted in several rather amusing, if not uncomfortable situations. One of which involved a character beginning a terrible racist rant as I pulled up to a coffee drive through window, ultimately resulting in a frantic scramble to turn down/off the sound before the worker opened their window. Another scenario involved listening to It when showering at 3:30 in the morning while getting ready for the Detroit Tiger’s Opening Day baseball game with my family. Just as I was shampooing, the narrative transitioned quickly into the throws of a particularly terrible murder scene, e.g., screaming, pleading, whereupon occurred to me that perhaps I should turn down the sound due to Luke being sound asleep in the next room. I can only imagine how jarring it would have been to be woken up by such desperate screaming in the middle of the night. It was also the first book that ever truly scared me during reading, and while there have been others throughout the years that have forced similar emotions, none have lived up to that original extent. I was extremely surprised to find that I was similarly on edge during my reread, as such, I found myself being startled more in the past two weeks than the entire year combined. Additionally, usually a sound sleeper, my dreams were plagued by Pennywise and other enigmatic hidden creatures leading to fitful rest at best. Even yesterday as I was beginning this blog post almost a week after I finishing my reread, I woke from a particularly scary dream where Derry’s apparition kept popping up unexpectedly. Overall, while I thoroughly enjoyed my reread of It, especially due to King’s writing style, I fully acknowledge that this book is not for everyone. There are a great many gruesome scenes that are beyond difficult to read, specifically one involving a bar fire that forced horrified tears similar to that of Shireen being burned in Game of Thrones.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- My key complain during my reread was the Beverly Marsh sex scene with the other kids in the sewers at the end of the book to ‘connect them’ and help them find their way back to the surface. I know that this act was suppose to be one of love and power, however it seemed really out of place within the overall context. While initially I struggled to reconcile this scene with the brilliance of the rest of the book, I realized that my issue probably had its foundation in the fact that the story was written 30 years ago. As such we live in a more sensitive culture today therefore, I would have to assume, based on quotes from King on the topic that this scene would more than likely be formatted differently if written in present day.
- One of my favorite aspects of the book was the historical details and stories provided by Mike’s POVs. The many tales added layer and depth to this evil entity as it has terrorized Derry from its founding, if not before.
- Ben was my favorite character. If key characters were forgetting everything and everyone following the defeat of It, will Beverly and Ben stay together? Personally, I hope so. Also, Bill and Beverly sleeping together as adults seemed to be another forced interaction for the sake of including a sex scene.
- Will the characters now be able to have kids?
- What happened to Stan or Eddie’s wives?