Arjun Sivaram's Reviews > It

It by Stephen King
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's review
Feb 24, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

I had very high expectations of the book after seeing it as the most favorite among King fans (arguably behind The Stand). And it did not disappoint. Following are the +s and -s for me in the book:

* Awesome characterisation - Stephen King understands kids. He knows the intricasies of their world - of the difference in the way they perceive time (infinitely long summer vacations), their daily encounters with bullies and a million such small details. He makes sure we live through the childhood episode as one of members of the Losers' club. He understands that they cope with horror much better than adults - it's seen in the numerous scenes where the kids go back to playing/joking/giggling/eating after witnessing horrific creatures/manifestation and hearing voices of the dead and so on. He shows us that for kids, horror and fear are just part of life (they feel it everyday when they turn the lights off and watch the closet fearing the monsters hiding in there). Each character in the group - Ben, Mike, Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan and Bev are so well crafted characters and I am sure I would remember them for a long time.

*Layering - There are so many interludes in the story that narrate the events that happened during the previous manifestations of Its killings. Each of them are so well written and could well serve as short stories on their own. The strong back stories added great depth to the story and they connected well with the present ('58 and '85) - the ones involving the stand pipe and the black spot were especially great.

*Horror - King portrays the horrors that reside within the human heart/mind and at times that even eclipsed the horrors of It. Henry Bowers/Patrick/Tom were chilling villains.

*Final chapters leading to the climax - The narration was wonderful when it shuffled between '58 and '85 and we, along with the characters find out what happened all those years back. The way the friends stick together despite the threats from IT was an enjoyable read.
* The Climax - The ritual of Chud felt half baked. And the shocking scene immediately following the climax seemed out of place (he could have at least made it part of the ritual!). Though it did, kind of, signify the kids' loss of innocence, it was too explicit to be part of this wonderful novel.
* Final Portrayal of It - The clown was chilling - the idea of IT taking the shape of children's fears was awesome! But the original form of it was weird and did not go well with the build up. He should have left it as a psychological thing that dwells in people's fear. The chill was gone and I simply read on waiting for it to be conquered.
* The second installment - I still do not understand why the second story was needed - the one that happens in '85. It gives them chance to remember back the events of '58 but I found nothing fundamentally different in the final climax across these two times. Maybe IT assumed that not being children would hamper their chances of defeating it (which is kind of true as some of them are not able to cope with the horror as an adult).

I am happy I read this book. I am becoming obsessed with his books and have been reading only King for months now. This is one of his best.

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Reading Progress

03/06/2012 page 650

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