Sunday, 8 January 2012

IT: 24th September 2011 - 8th January 2012

Writing a post for IT is a bit daunting. Considering the book's expansive, ranging immensity, my inclination is to try to write something that pays tribute to those qualities. That said, this is not a masters thesis, nor even a school book report or even a review, so I'll just say what I feel like saying and leave it at that.
While it took over three months to read it, that's not due to procrastination or going off reading other things, as I did during both The Stand and The Talisman (I'm picking on these two as they're the longest of his books I've encountered so far.) I read a few comics but not many. It's really a measure of how much time I have (or, more tellingly, make) to read. It's a big book, but it didn't drag. During both The Stand and The Talisman, I found myself looking at how much I still had to read with a degree of exasperation and the feeling that I didn't much care about what was still to come. Not with IT.
I don't think it lost its way or grew tired. I don't even think it could have lost a few hundred pages. I really enjoyed it. I loved the way he drew each of the many strands of the plot and gradually entwined them. I'd also liken it to a patchwork quilt with vibrant, beautifully embroidered panels that is eventually folded in on itself as the arcs are drawn to their conclusion. The way the parallels between the 1958 and 1985 strands become more apparent, until they become two sides of the same coin spinning in place, was a delight to read.
As for my usual question: did it scare me? It did a bit. While posing a real threat to our heroes and its many victims, IT's predominant strength is the way it taps into the nature and mechanics of fear itself, particularly the immobilising irrationality of perceived fear. I haven't come away from it with an aversion to clowns, though their intrinsic creepiness is no less diminished. I'm still not great with the dark. What a girl.
If there was anything about the book that niggled me, it was the group virginity-losing. While a group of eleven year olds having sex in the context of a horror novel doesn't offend me per se, its inclusion does demand some justification, whether as a plot point or conceptual device. There are enough people whom the idea will render apoplectic and, without anything to back it up, the scene comes off as pornographic by definition. Having read a couple of his books now, I know that King isn't a cheap writer, so he gets the benefit of the doubt in this instance but giving a more explicit reason than a bonding experience for the group would have been nice. I wondered whether he was using it as a way for them to prematurely transcend the boundary between childhood and adulthood as a way to sabotage IT's influence over them. But, considering their encounters twenty-eight years later, this obviously wasn't the case. That said, this is a horror novel: the arena of subverted norms where anything can, and often, does happen.
So yeah, 1090 pages of small type later, I'm done with IT. Good shit!
Stephen King's IT


  1. This is SUCH a great review! (I have no idea how I'm going to review It when I get to it, because omg the gushing!) but basically agree x1000. And I'm so glad you brought up the whole child sex thing, because it's the only part of it where I go '...seriously, what *was* that?!' I still don't get it, but I let it go because I love the book so much (the only other thing I can suggest, other than your idea about it which is way plausible, is that he needed a 1958 equivalent to Bill and Bev having sex in 1985, so that was it... but still..). Anyway, yay It!

  2. Thanks Laura! I'm sure you'll have no problem writing about It. I really like reading your reviews because you do actually review the books and apply a literary criticism as opposed to my just saying what I liked about a book before throwing down some random thoughts.