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'IT' - Book Review

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

"No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.”

This review is from September of 2017. I had picked up the book in July that year to read (for the first time!) before IT Chapter One was to be released. I remember being young (maybe 10 years old?) when I picked up the paperback copy of IT laying around the house. The cover had Tim Curry as Pennywise. I did not end up reading the entire thing at that point... I was just curious about, you know, THAT scene in the sewers. And it's odd that the book's length intimidated me for so long given how much I love The Stand. That being said...I finally read IT in 2017 and I will forever kick myself for waiting so long.

So before IT Chapter Two is released this Thursday evening, I am posting my IT review here on The Circle Opens in celebration. I can't wait to go back to Derry... what about you?

From 2017: I have been reading King since I was 14 years old (never you mind how old I am now!), and I have avoided IT like the plague. I have no idea why. I kept saying it just looked too long, but that's coming from a woman whose favorite novel is The Stand. I didn't have a phobia of clowns, and I knew IT was regarded as one of King's masterpieces, but there was just something that kept me from picking up the book.

Well, last year, once I knew the release date of the 2017 movie adaptation, I decided I wanted to finally bite the bullet and get through the book before I saw the movie. So over the course of a couple of months, I managed to finish IT just before September. And I'm so angry at myself for taking so long to read this. I think I am so used to horror novels that very little frightens me anymore. But this novel was frightening. Not only through Pennywise, but the other horrors these kids went through (namely, their parents and the all too familiar bullies in town). The Loser's Club was the heart and soul of this story. King has always had a knack for writing children, but oh my goodness, does he really construct such a beautiful friendship between the seven children as they spend the summer fighting for their lives. Even the moments where Pennywise was not their focal point - building the dam, creating their hideaway, developing and acting on crushes... it was so relatable to me, because I could very clearly remember my own youth, and how those summers with my friends shaped me, even after we grew up and moved on with our lives.

I have to admit, the end of the book was one wild ride. The Maturin and the Ritual of Chüd could have very well sent this book flying off into Major Disappointment, but King pulls it off. It's unique and complex and given there is a cosmic entity taking the shape of various fears to feed off of children running amok in Derry, I can't exactly say it was too unbelievable for me to enjoy.

I think if I have any criticisms, it's that some segments felt a bit *long* to me in their descriptions. Yes, I wanted to know the history of Derry and of Pennywise, but occasionally I did find myself skimming through these segments to get back to the present day action. I could have also done without that scene in the sewer between the Loser's Club - you know which one I mean if you've read the book. It felt unnecessary and diminished a bit of Bev's character in my eyes, which was maybe the only disappointing aspect of this novel.

I won't lie, I did get misty eyed during the last couple of pages. I'm not sure if it was nostalgia from my own childhood, the knowledge that these Losers would probably forget one another and whatever had bonded them together would eventually disappear for good... I just don't know. But IT quickly climbed into my top 5 King novels, and if you're a fan of his, this is a must read.