It by Stephen King
Published by Scribner on July 1, 2017 (first published 1986)
Genre(s): fiction, horror
Format & Length: hardcover, 1,156
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Soon to be a major motion picture—Stephen King’s terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.
Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.
Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.
I’ve been curious about Stephen King’s work for some time. He’s such a prolific and popular author with a multitude of books that have also been turned into movies or TV series. The first book of his I picked up was Under the Dome, about a year and a half ago. It was fine – not my idea of perfection but not terrible either. So when Janel over at Keeper of Pages decided to organize a readalong of It, I jumped on board.
“I can sense these memories… waiting to be born.”
Well. It took me twice the amount of time allotted for the readalong to actually complete this monster. And I have to say, it just didn’t do much for me. In fact, I enjoyed it significantly less than Under the Dome. It wasn’t that I found it scary. (A fact which may have been helped by my refusal to read it at night.) It wasn’t that I didn’t like the story. I just found it to be so much work to pull the gist out of all of the words used.
“Can an entire city be haunted?”
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I like words but I am not a wordy person. I like to get to the point. When a story is both evocative and concise, that is my happy place. This was certainly evocative, but there is so much extra detail that I started getting lost in all of it and missed the forest for the trees. I felt like this could have been edited with a heavy hand to get it down to half the size while telling the exact same story and it would have been more to my taste.
“That darkening Sky had a fantastical kind of beauty…”
So why, do you ask, did I finish this? Simply put, I was curious. Curious to see how the story would pan out, curious to see if it would engage me (it didn’t), and curious as to why this book seems to be so popular. And I’m glad I did finish. There were some really nice moments and aspects to the writing that I enjoyed. It was amazing to see transitions from one time period to another happen mid-sentence and always be able to understand where I was at in the story. But in the end, It just wasn’t for me.
“What, exactly what, was power, anyway?”
I’m not done trying Stephen King books. Maybe it’s worth giving books that were the basis of movies I’ve seen and liked a shot (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile). But I’m also hoping for recommendations. If you’re a fan of his work and can suggest something that is either a bit shorter or less long-winded, please let me know!