I know many bloggers partook in the It-along a few months back and really enjoyed this novel – particularly the audio version. So way back in February I downloaded this baby and have been listening ever since. I cannot believe it took me two months to finish, but some of that time was monopolized by Vanity Fair. And before you think I didn’t enjoy the audio, please think again! The narration by Steven Weber is just as fantastic as everyone says. An Oscar worthy performance if there ever was one!
The long story short version? This epic length novel is about evil in a small town and the somewhat momentous differences between childhood and adulthood. There are two main timelines – one in 1958 following a group of children who call themselves the ‘Loser’s Club’ and one in 1985 where those children have all grown up. Every 27-ish years an evil often personified as Pennywise the Clown haunts the town of Derry, Maine, focusing on brutally murdering children. The Loser’s Club manages to escape but must come together again to fight this evil force when it reappears.
A lot more happens, trust me. 44 hours of stuff happens. There are Derry interludes where we discover tidbits of Derry’s history. But honestly, all those diverging plot lines take a major backseat to the 1958 setting where we get to know and love the Loser’s Club. Stephen King is a master of writing children. I loved each and every one of those kids which made all their horrors and fears so vivid.
Pennywise the Clown was never what scared me. I was, instead, truly terrified by the more real life violences that King doesn’t shy away from portraying. Bev’s many encounters with domestic violence – especially as she’s trying to run away from her father’s rage as a young girl. The bullying brought about by Henry and his followers. The ballshit evil that was Patrick. Some of those moments were almost impossible to listen to because Steven Weber made them feel so real.
All that being said, It wasn’t a perfect book for me. The scene with the kiddy orgy was absolutely wrong and off-putting. I cringed throughout the whole thing and would have skipped had I not been driving. Also, long parts were extremely slow and boring (remember those Derry interludes?) and could have been edited out easily. If the book had been culled down to a much more efficient but still affecting length, I’d probably have nothing but praises to sing.
I’d still recommend to readers who enjoy the horror genre or King’s writing in general. I’ve watched the first half of the IT mini-series and wasn’t very impressed. So much was changed that I couldn’t get into it. I did like the child actors though. It was lovely seeing Jonathan Brandis again. I used to love him way back in the early 90s. Now that I have two King novels under my belt, I’m going to give him a little rest. He’s not an author I can read day in and day out without growing tired. But I’m looking forward to revisiting him soon!