Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)'s Reviews > It

It by Stephen King
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Not now, Pennywise. I'm going to start off with a story.

The first time I encountered IT, I was around the age of Bill, Ben, Richie, Bev, Eddie, Stan, and Mike. It was around Halloween. My dad was getting ready to go to a party at his friend's place, so my mom and I were downstairs channel surfing. I wanted to watch something a bit scary. On ABC Family of all places, this was coming on. "Oh, I remember this one," my mom told me. "It's not that scary."


For the next however many hours the damn miniseries is, I was terrified. My dad went out to his party. My mom fell asleep. My dogs refused to be with me. I was completely alone. Let's just say that I didn't sleep well that night. I was too scared to move. At one point, I thought I was going to wet myself because I didn't want to get up and go to the bathroom. (I didn't, FYI. I didn't pee the bed.)

A few years later, I tried to read the book. Got around to the point with the gay bashing, then gave up because it was too much and I understood what was going on yet I didn't at all. If that makes any sense. Even later, I decided to watch the movie again. Scared me, but not as much as before.

To this day, Pennywise is the only clown that scares me.

Yeah, yeah. Be flattered. Also to this day, I hate storm drains. I walk around them if I can. If it's dark, I don't even look at them. Storm drains has to be one of the weirdest fears out there, and Stephen King gave it to me. So... thanks for that one.

I've been meaning to read this book for years. I own a Kindle copy of this book because it was insanely cheap one day. I own a paperback as well. Just, with my schedule, delving into a 1000 page book seemed dumb. So, when I saw my library had this as a downloadable audiobook, I jumped at the chance because I knew that since I work at a chill place, I would be able to listen to it every day I work.

What I wasn't entirely expecting was to make this one of my favorite books. While it's far from perfect -- too long, sometimes it's awkward in the way it's told, the tie-ins annoy me because I haven't read the Dark Tower series, wasn't a fan on the discovery of what IT really is, and I thought it was a bit too sexual (not that the last scene with the kids bothered me, just that I don't really need a lot of sex in books) -- I really enjoyed it.

At its heart, King really makes a great coming-of-age story. Because, that's all this is. A group of kids who band together during rough times. They're on the brink of adulthood and have to be children, yet also be adults. Isn't that what we all get to? That's why I think that to really enjoy a coming-of-age story, you have to be an adult. You have to have gone through that time and then look back through a story to see how true it is. I read many coming of age stories as a teen, and none of them ever connected with me because I was living it.

Then, beyond the coming-of-age story, you have a great meditation (as usual) about small town life. I grew up in a small town. Not Derry small, but only 20,000 people live here. The kids I went to elementary school with, I went to high school with. I graduated with them. I see them around town and the community college I went to. And, King loves meditating on the darker side of small towns. Given that I grew up in a small town, I know it pretty well. When I was maybe ten, some kid was beat up and his attackers didn't give him his inhaler so he died. Or, when, in my freshman year of high school, we had a spate of deaths; someone died in a car crash, a kid in my grade died from heart failure, then another huge accident, a kid got hit by a car crossing the street. Just this year, my high school tried covering up that a student hung the Confederate flag in the cafeteria. I can connect with what King's doing, and he does it well.

Even more than that, he really writes well about childhood and what happens when you grow up. You move away from friends, you lose contact, you talk maybe a few times a year, and then you can even forget about them completely. Your childhood memories fade away, too. You may not remember who you were with or what even happened. And, that's another thing this book is about. The fading of childhood.

Basically, you have to be an adult to get this book.

The horror, though. Oh, that was good. There were times where I had to blink a few times and force myself to focus on imputing location changes into the system or to stop looking so dumb with my mouth hanging open. It's not even all to do with IT either. Racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, psychopaths. That's enough to make my blood run cold any day just by reading a news article. While I already said I didn't enjoy the revelation of what IT is -- although, I enjoyed the tie-in because of King's universe -- nor was I a huge fan with Dark Towers being in there, I thought IT was creepy and scary up until the alien stuff started.

In other words, read this book. You really won't regret it, whether you recognize his tie-ins or you don't. Or, even, if you don't like horror. Horror, while it is a major part of the story, isn't the full one. It's much better than I anticipated it would be, so Pennywise ought to be pleased.

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Reading Progress

January 11, 2014 – Shelved
January 11, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
July 18, 2016 – Started Reading
July 18, 2016 – Shelved as: mystery-horror-thriller
July 18, 2016 –
22.0% "The one really nice thing about listening to this is that I would probably just be starting it right now, not this far into it. Plus, I like the narrator."
July 19, 2016 –
34.0% "The thing that strikes me about this book is that it's not a horror story per say. I see it as more of a coming of age story."
July 20, 2016 –
41.0% "I think I may love this book."
July 20, 2016 –
41.0% "Did I just spy Hollorann in this book?"
July 21, 2016 –
56.0% "doggy"
July 21, 2016 –
56.0% "Yep. I love this book. Please don't fail me now, King."
July 21, 2016 –
56.0% "I so hate that I have to listen to this at work because all I want to do is pump the air with my fist."
July 21, 2016 –
67.0% "Okay, so far we have Cujo, The Shining, and Dark Towers series in this. I bet there's bound to be more brought up. I love King's universe. It's terrifyingly amazing."
July 21, 2016 –
67.0% "Okay, so far we have Cujo, The Shining, and Dark Towers series in this. I bet there's bound to be more brought up. I love King's universe. It's terrifyingly amazing."
July 22, 2016 –
67.0% "You know it's a good book when I'm not working today and I'm listening to it instead of reading an ARC I have, a library book that's due in a few days, or a Harry Potter book."
July 22, 2016 –
70.0% "I am absolutely fucking terrified of this Patrick kid. Like, I'm sitting in my room staring at a wall in pure terror."
July 22, 2016 –
July 22, 2016 –
74.0% "Okay. Scarred. I am scarred for life because of that chapter. Someone bless me or something because I feel as if I have sinned from listening to that."
July 24, 2016 –
78.0% "I think I'm finally out of the flashback storytelling."
July 25, 2016 –
85.0% "I was wrong. More flashbacks."
July 25, 2016 –
89.0% "Wait.... what??"
July 25, 2016 –
89.0% "The ending(ish, I still have a few chapters) is good so far."
July 25, 2016 –
89.0% "I don't know if the spoilers are working, so I'm going to put my thoughts in the comments."
July 25, 2016 –
93.0% "So, instead of waiting until tomorrow at work, I'm finishing it today."
July 25, 2016 –
96.0% "This ending is going to be depressing, isn't it?"
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: fantasy
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites-all-time
July 25, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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Vanessa J. So the movie really is scary? I never watched it, though I'm curious... and believe it or not, I've never been truly terrified because of a book. I'm counting on SK to bring the day that happens. Agree with you on the coming-of-age story thing, and I'm also glad I read this as an adult - you're right some things you will not understand while you're a kid. Great review!

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) It terrified me, personally. I was also somewhere between 11-13, and it was my first horror movie. It scared me shitless when I was that young. I need to rewatch it now that I'm an adult to see if it generates the same fear. To be honest, just looking up those Pennywise gifs made my heart rate go up.

Thanks, Vane! Also, welcome back to GR!

message 3: by Maryam (new)

Maryam I was around 13 too when I watched it. It scared the hell out of me but at the same time I loved it. I even think of it time to time. I don't know why it had so much influence over me, maybe the piano thing...

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) I need to rewatch it, honestly. I own the DVD. For me, it was the stuff with the drains that got to me. That's what caught me. The drains. Which makes no sense why one afternoon a friend and I went down into our drain system and wandered around for a good hour.

Matt Smith Such a great damn book.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) It's so good. Much more than I expected.

Matt Smith Also I liked reading your review. It's nice to see you conquering something that scared you while also just getting the book and getting it hard.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Thanks, Matt! I'm really glad that I didn't read this book before now. Because, it's a book for adults. Not just themes and sex and stuff like that, but the huge themes are ones only adults will understand. (I'm barely an adult, so I'm sure with a reread in a few years I'll get it more.)

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) However, whenever I come to this review, I regret putting all the pictures of Pennywise. Because he still scares me a bit, seeing his face.

Cindy Newton Great review! I'm listening to the audiobook now, with Steven Weber reading. He really does a fantastic job! I read the book years ago and have seen the miniseries multiple times, but I had forgotten a lot of the details. It really is a great story! Did you know they are in the process of re-filming it as we speak? It's going to be two feature length movies. The pictures of the new Pennywise are on the internet--here's a link to an article about the movie:

remake of IT

I don't know--Tim Curry's portrayal is iconic, but this looks pretty creepy . . .

message 11: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt Smith I am so stoked for the remake. SO SO stoked.

Cindy Newton Matt wrote: "I am so stoked for the remake. SO SO stoked."

I know--me, too! I have a sentimental fondness for the miniseries, but I'm excited to see how it looks with modern special effects. The end of the miniseries is so cheesy and fakey-looking!

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Yes! I feel the same way as you two. I'm really excited. They're splitting it into two parts, one part the children's perspective and the other the adult's. I don't know if that's going to work since I loved the way it was told, but I'm still really pumped to see how they do it.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Right???? And I don't think they censored anything at all. No joke.

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