‘They float…and when you’re down here with me, you’ll float, too.’
Derry, Maine is just an ordinary town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part, a good place to live.
It is a group of children who see – and feel – what makes Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes is appears as an evil clown named Pennywise and sometimes IT reaches up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, emerging again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
IT began in 1957 with George’s story and the stories of IT’s reign of terror kept on coming, then silence, the Losers Club forgot, until they were called home. With a non-linear timeline, King builds a picture of Derry’s history, and why twenty odd years later these children, now adults, have to come home; as you read the opening, you can feel the fear building, you’re psyching yourself up for the horrors that will surely come. And come they did:
“[…] what he saw destroyed his sanity in one clawing stroke.”
There’s so many reasons why you should read this book but in the interest of your attention span, I’ll try not to ramble on too much. There’s so many strands to this story, but they all work together beautifully. You’re engaged, interested and invested. So, while this a big book, daunting to look at, once you start reading it, you’ll get so caught up in the plot, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about! And don’t worry – the ending is brilliant, you won’t read 1000 pages only to be disappointed!
King has a distinct writing style; the way he switches between the past and present day is so well done – sometimes, taking place mid-sentence, you’re in the present day with a character and then, in that one sentence, you both fall into a memory.
One of the things I noticed when I read Under the Dome, also by King, and again was evident here, is King’s brilliant character creation; his ability to make you love and hate. And I loved the Losers Club – Bill, Ben, Richie, Stan, Eddie, Mike and Beverley – you get to know these characters extremely well in the present day and the past and you root for each and everyone of them in their quest to defeat IT. But equally important are the characters you love to hate, hoping your hatred will manifest onto the pages of the book so you can see their downfall.
What I really enjoy about this book, and probably one of the reasons this book is so long, is King’s over-detailed writing – the vivid pictures he paints, giving you every piece of information you need to be able to visualise what you’re reading. Even when I rolled my eyes, like King did we really need to know that, but it was a good eye-roll, like me thinking, typical King. However, while I enjoyed this over-detailed writing within the story, there were several chunks of Derry’s past that I thought could have been left out of the book without taking away from the main plot. But, in a book of 1000+ pages, you have to accept that you won’t like every single thing. There was only small part of this book that I absolutely detested, and thought could have been portrayed in a million different actions to the one that was chosen (I won’t disclose what it was, but it was left out of the recent IT film); while reading this book, it’s easy to forget the children are not even teenagers yet as they act much wiser than their years, but they are still children – that’s all I’ll say on that matter.
As for the horror, it was a descriptive horror, it was a psychology horror, one that stays lingering in your mind. And yes, the descriptions are graphic.
It’s so hard to talk about all the little things I loved about this book without spoiling it, so I’ll just say: overall, I really enjoyed this book and would absolutely recommend it. There’s no denying King is a masterful storyteller and I look forward to continuing my journey through his works.