Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: IT

IT by Stephen King

When I started secondary school the book everyone was reading was IT. It was “the" book to read as it was soooooooo scary. I remember picking it up eager to be scared witless. Instead, I was met with disappointment. I found myself trawling through pages and pages of meaningless characters awaiting the next appearance of the clown. In the end, frustration got the better of me and I gave up.
Now as an avid reader and a lover of King I have always looked forward to revisiting this book. My immature view of the so called “meaningless characters” are the things I love best about King’s writing. I figured more than enough time had passed for me to have forgotten about the small percentage of the book I had read for me to give it a whirl.
Imagine my dismay then, when after the first 100 pages or so, my opinion had not changed that much. King introduces a myriad of characters, all vying for position in a plot that doesn’t seem to realise what it wants to be. I had trouble caring for these characters as I had no idea who was supposed to the main protagonists.
Eventually, the book settles down and I began to get a grip of who was who. King tells the story over two time periods. Focussing on the characters when they were young and when they are older.
Initially this is confusing too, as he concentrates on six different people which I found hard to connect with and found myself constantly having to remind myself which adult matched up to the childhood experience I had just read about. Simply remembering all of their names was too difficult due to the aforementioned ton of characters King blasts us with at the start.
It was a good job I have faith in Mr. King and thankfully this book is huge, as after the initial disappointment, follows an excellent book that is both terrifying and heart-warming at the same time. The six children (lattery seven) soon become your best friends. With the exception of Mr. McCammon, no one writes childhood like King. He simply gets it and manages to capture the innocence and joy of being a child.
The children known as the “Losers” not only have to content with IT but also their dysfunctional families and local school bullies. It makes for some riveting reading. Each of the children feel like your best friend, you care what happens to them. When they suffer, you suffer.
The plot surrounds the small town of Derry, where an entity feasts on the residents in an alarming pattern every 27 years or so. The creature mostly forms the appearance of Pennywise the clown, but can assume the shape of your worst nightmare.
The scenes where the characters are adult s returning to Derry are also expertly handled. King cleverly plays on the fears of adults whilst also striking the balance of reminiscing  and nostalgia.
After the shaky start, the book is still not without its flaws. The interludes I found slowed the pace of the book down far too much and talked about characters I had no attachment to. I also felt that occasionally the kids behaved a bit too mature sometimes, but overall I am really going to miss stuttering Bill, fat Ben and the joker Ritchie.
This book is a master class in writing about childhood, it is just a shame it has flaws. Overall my rating: 8.9

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