To help you sleep tonight, I left out a trailer. Happy reading…
I have recently read 420 pages of the novel IT, by Stephen King, an obviously renown and profound writer that many may call one of the greatest. IT, having a complex and terrifying fantasy story, spans over a long plot for a little over 1500 pages. It was published on September 15 in 1986.
Out of all of Stephen King’s books, IT is his longest novel. It was his 22nd book and his 18th novel under his own name. The novel won the British Fantasy Award in 1987, and received nominations for the Locus and World Fantasy Awards that same year. Publishers Weekly listed IT as the best-selling book in the United States in 1986. It is widely known today for being produced as a horror movie that came out on September 8, 2017 which also got a high rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, a very excellent review company.
In the book IT, it is told in the third person, omniscient. The storyline follows seven children, also known as the “Losers’ Club”: Bill “Stuttering Bill” Denbrough, Ben “Haystack” Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Stanley Uris, and Mike Hanlon. The story follows their experiences as they are terrorized by a being that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. “IT” primarily appears in the form of a clown to attract its preferred prey of young children, named Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The plot alternates timelines, one being the story of them as kids in 1957-1958, and the other as them 27 years later, obviously as adults now. Since there is the two plotlines, and I have only got to the 375 page mark, there has not been too much action in either storyline.
It firsts starts off with them getting “the call.” It generally gives a brief background on their lives now, and how much they’ve changed, as well as how much IT has affected them, and even how IT is now starting to affect them. One main event that happened in their adulthood storyline is when they talk about Stanley Uris’ life, and how he rejects the phone call of his needed return to face IT, causing his fateful death. It then transitions into the timeline of them in the summer of ‘58 takes place in the town of Derry, Maine. It talks about them first becoming a group, and how they all have images, really nightmares, of the same creature: IT. And how they have to defeat this monster by overcoming their fears, and overcoming adulthood. Although what they do makes IT leave, it comes back; 26 years later, which is the period of time it takes for IT to come back (It can take 26 or 27 years). When he does in 1984-1985, the “Losers’ Club,” gets “the call” from an old friend, Mike Hanlon, who was the only one of them who stayed back to live in Derry. Mike has noticed IT’s returning after the death of a gay couple, who “seemingly fell off” a bridge. Their bodies were not found, and when the killer confesses, he tells of how he saw a “clown looking figure” took their bodies into the sewers (This was told at the beginning of the book). After willing to sacrifice it all once for ITs defeat, and with the Losers’ Club reunion, they must end it; once and for all.
I liked how the author was able to include hidden, yet very meaningful principles that are very life-relating. Some examples of these are the power of memory, childhood trauma and how it can echo later on in adulthood, and overcoming evil through mutual trust and sacrifice. Although it is early in the book, the author shows many signs of this, such as their reappearing images of IT, and their memories from many months ago of him as well. For example, in a part of the text when Mike Hanlon is looking around at a local park. He is following a trail towards the stream; right where the sewers are. And IT is now trying to use his fears to lure him in: “The seagull screamed again. Mike stared at the bloody scrap of cloth and remembered what had happened to him in the spring” (p. 330). It then transitions to the memory of him, most likely ending with none other than IT. They use many of these to connect to various situations going on around them, like murders of other kids, or even what is it that they are seeing in the first place. Once the Losers’ Club gets together for the first time as kids, I predict that using all of the visions they see, they use them to figure out what is going on in their small town of Derry. Although they have not “overcome” IT and his powers, I believe that, in the end, is how they finally defeat him.
I noticed how the author included Henry Bowers, and his small two man “gang” with Victor Criss and Belch Huggins. Since they have not had any life endangering encounters with IT yet, Henry and his friends seem to be the main antagonists at this point. I feel they are the main sign of evil to come, as if IT is in the presence of Henry. Not as much his two buddies since they wouldn’t dare to do some of the crazy acts Henry pulls off. But he gives off a certain aura that shows as if IT is in him. For instance, he started to carve his name with a knife into the stomach of a young, innocent kid (The poor kid was Ben Hanscom. This happened before the Losers’ Club came together). In the end, I believe Henry eventually will become a big role on the antagonist side of the book. Maybe becoming one of ITs minions, becoming a demon like him. Or maybe he’s the reason for an unbearable defeat on the antagonists’ side. In someway, some how, I know he is connected to Pennywise, and may cause a big problem in the story.
Finally, this is one of my favorite passages so far. It is right at the beginning of the book, and plays a huge role in the entire story; the death of George Denbrough:
“‘And a balloon? I’ve got red and green and yellow and blue….’”
‘Do they float?’
‘Float?’ The clown’s grin widened. ‘Oh yes, indeed they do. They float! And there’s cotton candy….’
The clown seized his arm.
And George saw the clown’s face change.
What he saw then was terrible enough to make his worst imaginings of the thing in the cellar look like sweet dreams; what he saw destroyed his sanity in one clawing stroke.
‘They float,’ the thing in the drain crooned in a clotted, chuckling voice. It held George’s arm in its thick and wormy grip, it pulled George toward that terrible darkness where the water rushed and roared and bellowed as it bore its cargo of storm debris toward the sea. George craned his neck away from that final blackness and began to scream into the rain, to scream mindlessly into the white autumn sky which curved above Derry on that day in the fall of 1957. His screams were shrill piercing, and all up and down Witcham Street people came to their windows or bolted out onto their porches.
‘They float,” it growled, “they float, Georgie, and when you’re down here with me, you’ll float, too-”
George’s shoulder socked against the cement of the curb and Dave Gardener, who had stayed home from his job at The Shoeboat that day because of the flood, saw only a small boy in a yellow rainslicker, a small boy who was screaming and writhing in the gutter with muddy water surfing over his face and making his screams sound bubbly.
‘Everything down here floats,” that chuckling, rotten voice whispered, and suddenly there was a ripping noise and a flaring sheet of agony, and George Denbrough knew no more….(p. 21-22).”
What makes this passage a favorite is how Stephen King wrote it, and how he was able to portray the horror and fear of this unthinkable monster. The description making you aware of your own surroundings, and looking in every corner or closet, as if the clown is right there with you. The action made you want to jump out of your socks. Every step leading up to it making your pulse skyrocket, adrenaline coursing through your body, as if you were watching the movie in theaters. And finally, the dialogue. Oh, the dialogue. The clown’s eerie voice just crawling into your ear as a whisper, sending goosebumps down your spine. The entirety of the book so far has been just like this. Making you wish you did not read that book before bed, or being glad you are reading it when there is sunlight out. I overall love this book, as well as Stephen King’s ability to write at such sophisticated, yet fictional stories. For what I have read so far, I give this book a 10 out of 10. I can not wait to finish this book, and see what other horrors Stephen King has lying ahead for me.