It by Stephen King

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Rate: 5/5


Medium: Audiobook


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?

 

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80 comments

  1. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to read this one… I was (and still am, I guess) completely unable to watch the movie. That damn clown scared the hell out of me! And reading your non spoilery bit and given that I have a vivid imagination… hehe But great review! Now I wish I had read more while growing up, so that I could re-read favourites and really feel those changes you’ve mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I still haven’t read this or seen the film, even though I have read lots of other King novels and have had similar open-mouthed-horrified-can’t-sleep reactions. He really is one of the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! I’m a fairly new reader of Stephen King and recently finished the audiobook of IT. I enjoyed it, though parts of it were tough to get through. But it did scare me. I get up and walk early in the morning and listen to my audiobooks while I do so. Let’s just say my eyes frequently checked the storm drain openings as I walked past 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this one when I was older and it scared the crap out of me! I read Stroker’s Dracula when I was younger and that was my first experience with true terror-masterfully written! I have reread Dracula as an adult and still get chills. I won’t touch IT again (or like clowns ever again).

    Liked by 2 people

      • I like how King has built up his little bit of Maine but I found too much for the story. That’s why for me Joyland by King works so well. But I do agree with you , the fact two people can approach the same book in a different way makes it worthwhile

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely LOVED ‘It’! The older movie didn’t really do much for me, though I may re-watch it. I did love Pennywise. I’m so looking forward to the remake!

    Would love to give the novel a re-read but it’s a big undertaking so I might wait until I’ve knocked a few others off my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t watched the old movie. I’m looking forward to seeing how the remake adapts the movie. The book was honestly a lot longer than I remembered. The audiobook was a good nice way to tackle the project. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have never read any Stephen King books let alone ‘It.’ Reading your review, I’m most certainly inclined to give Stephen King a try in the year 2017! Great Review 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I havent read IT, the whole clown thing scares the hell out of me. On the whole I can read anything and not get scared but Stephen King has the ability to scare me to death. I have read a lot of his books, my favourite being The Stand, and he has scared me every time. He is the master of fright!
    I can relate to what you say about reading everything when you were young, I was the same and had the same reaction from my parents lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hello!

    I too was reading King way before I should have been allowed to, but similar to yourself, my parents couldn’t keep me in enough books, so I think they just got tired of fighting me. I loved It, though it terrified me and on a reread in my adult years also picked up many different things. Kid me didn’t understand the Bev sewer scene and adult me was shocked when I read it.

    Awesome review and I am really looking forward to the movie remake!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I want to read this SO BAD!! I was obsessed with King in middle school but in the past few years I haven’t read any besides 11/22/63 (we’re basically the same person lol) but the movie is coming out this year I think, and I’ve heard it’s amazing, so it on my TBR. I’ve started listening to lots of audiobooks but I feel like this won’t be one because listening to scary things out loud might make me too scared to walk around my house 😂😂
    Thanks for your review!!!

    Also: I’m running the book blogger awards, and so if you’re interested in sharing the book blogger love you have until the end of April to post your nominations: https://writethroughthenight.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/the-book-blogger-awards/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our tastes are so very similar! I went through the King phase at the same age, and hadn’t read anything of his recently excepty 11/22/63. 🙂 I absolutely love audiobooks, however I don’t think I will use that medium again for a horror book.

      The book blogger awards sounds awesome! Thanks for organizing it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not a huge King fan, although I loved The Stand and a couple of others, but feel this could have been a great book. However the awful sex scene completely ruined it for me. While SK obviously has a talent he also has a tendency to ruin his own books with pointless scenes shoehorned in for shock value.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. This is when King was at his best. Did you read “The Stand?” My fav out of all his work. Sorry to say, I’m not a fan of his current work.

    Good review, you make me want to re-read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is one of my current reads actually, I also chose the audiobook. The few chapters I have read so far have been pretty tame and I hope it stays that way, lol. I still have nightmares about Pet Sematary which was the last Stephen King book I read almost 10 years ago. I decided to face my fears this year. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am a HUGE Stephen King fan. We are known to him as Constant Reader. You made me chuckle when you said you were “old”. I’ve been reading King since 1978. Your review on IT was a bit different than they way I saw it, but interesting all the same. I’ll admit, it’s been a long time and I need to reread it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved this book, I tried to read it when I was 9 (i’d seen the miniseries and loved it, so didn’t think it was going to be a big deal) and then quickly understood why it was meant for adults and stopped immediately after the first time the clown popped up…way too scary. I picked it up a few years later and it has been one of my favorites ever since. I definitely would like to read it again before the movie comes out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you tried to read It when you were 9! You wouldn’t have been that far off of the ages of the characters. Hopefully you get a chance to read this book again before the movie comes out! A good summer book! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol. I was always a bit of an overachiever. It bugged me that I couldn’t read it though, so it ended up being the first King book I ever read and made me a lifelong fan. I agree, a perfect book for summer. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I also just recently listened to the audiobook of It (my first time reading the book) and I thought it was great! I agree about the sex scene – it was just… it felt unnecessary. And Mike’s parts with historical background were some of my favorites, too. Have you read The Stand? I recently listened to that as well (as I guess I am on a roll with enormous audiobooks) and it was excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great review! Might I join in the festival of suggestions and add Salem’s Lot to the list? It has much the feel of it, with a vampire wrapping. And the TV adaptation from the 1970’s (80’s?) is also excellent, one of the best King ever got. It captures most of the book quite faithfully and is actually pretty terrifying.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. My number one favourite Stephen King book. I’m glad you gave it a chance. Yeah, the sex scene might unsettle a lot of people, but I understood and was cool with it. But the best part of the ending was Bill taking his wife for the bicycle ride. Gosh that got me all teary-eyed. Such a beautiful story with a positive subliminal message.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I hated ‘It.’ Until then, I was a huge fan of Stephen King’s, but when I read ‘It,’ I felt like no one was editing him anymore and he was just going on and on, throwing in anything that flitted through his mind. I was kinda right. In reading his biographies, I learned that he wrote ‘It’ when he was deep in substance abuse. Unfortunately, after that, I did read any King novels for years.

    But now I’m coming back around. I’ve liked a few of his more recent novels, especially 11/22/63. But he lost me for a long time with ‘It,” and it’s taken time to come back around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments! 🙂 This is yet again a wonderful reminder regarding how people can read the same material and have a wide array of feelings toward the book.

      I really enjoyed 11/22/63. Like you it was a reintroduction to King after a long hiatus. What is your favorite King book?

      Like

  19. It and The Stand are my two favorite King books. I am so excited to see the new movie. I hope they do it justice. I also have read it as a teen and then listened to it as an adult a few years ago. Just as good as before, just a different view point for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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