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[Spoilers] Some Observations after a First Reading

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Ezra Vasquez I just finished this book, and overall I enjoyed it immensely. However, it's a long read, and I felt some of the plot points were either left unresolved or their resolutions were unfulfilling.

First, how did they avoid having to explain to the authorities Henry Bowers ending up dead in the hotel room? During the cataclysm, I thought the hotel would be destroyed, but that was not the case as they return to it later.

Also, in the 1950s, what happened to Beverly when she returned home after having run away from her abusive father? It didn't seem possible that she could just go back without repercussions. Are we supposed to believe she walked back in the door, and everything was hunky dory?

Moreover, at the beginning of the book, a great deal was made about there being seven of them. I thought the fact Stan Uris did not make it will present a significant barrier for the party to overcome. As they remember previous events, we are certain that some crucial piece of knowledge that will be needed to defeat Pennywise died with Stan. However, in the end, nothing seems to come of Stan's absence other than there being five instead of seven (after losing Mike).

Lastly, Pennywise himself seems to indicate that Stan saw something significant that led to his suicide, and it seems that Pennywise is implying he had something to do with it.

And of course, how can you talk about this book without mentioning the awkward sex scene at the end. Clearly he wanted to incorporate the big, scary "It" that every child faces as they mature, but as many have noted on this site, the scene seems to come out of nowhere, and feels grossly out of place. I think he was right to try and give the characters some kind of symbolic victory over their sexuality, but it was daftly done. It was the eighties though, right?

One last thing about this book that struck me was the POV. As far as I can tell, it was 3rd-Person omniscient. And it worked just fine. I don't know if I'll ever be able to read a writing guide again that admonishes 3rd-person omniscient without bringing up this book.


Laura Herzlos I finished this book and was left with a sense of disappointment. I was enjoying it tremendously, recommending it to everyone and their sister, and then... after the reunion happened, it slowly went down the drain.

I don't know if it was, as someone else put it, because the build-up of what It was had been so huge, that no matter what it was, it would have never properly met the expectations. I mean, I was thinking "Really? A huge spider? *roll eyes* ok......."

I hated the sex scene, although perhaps not so much because of the sex itself. First, well, the age of the kids, of course. We're not even talking about teenagers; I believe the oldest was what, late 11? But also... a bit sexist, much? There was only one girl in the club, perfect, beautiful, cool, so "not like the other girls", with lots of eye-rolling descriptions of her glorious hair and her developing body, etc. The only looser whose flaws were actually faux flaws. If the author had been a woman, people would have called her a Mary Sue (not that I agree with the term).

So, this lovely, perfect, smart, instinctive perfect aim stone shooter was also the only member of the losers club who did not leave physical abuse behind. She married a version of Henry Bowers (even if she said it was her father), and continued to be brutally beaten all her life. The only one. Ok, that aside...

I hated the sex scene because the mere idea of gang humping the only girl in the group is disgusting, especially when it's used as a symbol of union and childhood love that gives everyone the strength to go on and face It. If the idea was supposed to be a general strong bonding through their love for each other, and if it HAD to be sex (at 11 years old??? but ok, let's say...), why not all the kids between each other? Why not kissing, hugging, touching... why the need of six boys penetrating the girl? (You know, for a moment I was actually afraid that Bill would try to use that to bring his wife back).

Anyway, preachings aside, there were a few incomplete resolutions, yes. Also, the apparent happy ending of Bev running off with Ben... but weren't they quickly forgetting each other? And the aftermath of the first fight against It, there are several things that don't seem to add up.

I enjoyed the first part of this book, a lot. It had me jumping at little noises while I was reading. I love the way the suspense is handled. Those childhood scenes of the kids' encounters with It, for example. You know they survived because you know they're adults, but the scene is terribly tense nonetheless. I enjoyed parts of the ending as well, even though it was not all that I had expected.


Ezra Vasquez Laura wrote: "I finished this book and was left with a sense of disappointment. I was enjoying it tremendously, recommending it to everyone and their sister, and then... after the reunion happened, it slowly wen..."

Yeah, I have to agree with you that the ending was lackluster. I thought it went downhill after the episode between adult Henry Bowers and Mike in the library. The spider was anticlimactic and a bit too Lovecraftian. The ending got very cosmic horrory.

Also, the bit with Eddie's inhaler felt a bit like a Deus Ex Machina, even though it had been there throughout the story.

This is the third King book I've read, and I get the sense overall that his endings tend to be unfulfilling. I know he doesn't always know how his stories will end when he starts writing them, which I can empathize with, but I think his endings sometimes suffer for this. I was disappointed with "The Shining" as well. I feel like he explains too much, and, by doing so, ruins the horror. We didn't need to know what "It" actually was, and in fact, if we'd gone on not knowing, it would have been a much scarier book.

I'd be curious to know if there were fights between King and the publisher/editors over the sex scene. I bet there were.


Jason Burghardt Paul wrote: This is the third King book I've read, and I get the sense overall that his endings tend to be unfulfilling.

I agree. However, I will argue, this is the case with most authors and most books I have read. The endings are often the weakest parts.

That being said, there is no doubt King has helped make horror more mainstream and popular. If that has come at the expense of some of the mystery and wonder of the genre, perhaps that was the price that needed to be paid.

I am of the opinion that "IT", while being a book that many of his "fans" claim to love, is amongst the weakest of his novels. It is far too long, and as you have stated, the ending is anticlimactic and a letdown given the build up.


Laura Herzlos It was my second King book; the first one was 11/22/63 and I couldn't help having a similar feeling toward the second half and ending, even before than for It.


Laura Herzlos Paul wrote: "We didn't need to know what "It" actually was, and in fact, if we'd gone on not knowing, it would have been a much scarier book."

Exactly! I never read Lovecraft, but something that could take the form of anyone's worst nightmare... was a ****ing spider??


Ezra Vasquez I felt the same thing about The Shining. I get the sense that he falls so in love with his ideas, that he can't wait to tell you everything about them in the end, but he tells too much. That's why I've always liked the movie better than his book. Kubrick fixed it by leaving everything King explained ambiguous.

By the way, did anyone else feel that the entire section of "It" where Audra and Tom come to the town was completely unnecessary? Or at least wasted?

When he first told us that Tom and Audra were coming it was scary because you could see how a confrontation with someone like Tom could be tragic for the group. But they never even saw him! And they don't even know he's there until he's dead. As it was written, did Bill really need another incentive to go into the sewers.

In the end of the novel, I felt that Tom and Audra's being there was an attempt to raise the stakes for the party that was never realized.


Jason Burghardt Laura wrote: "Paul wrote: "We didn't need to know what "It" actually was, and in fact, if we'd gone on not knowing, it would have been a much scarier book."

Exactly! I never read Lovecraft, but something that c..."


It's not a "spider". The closest the human brain can come to comprehending what "IT" looks like is to manifest a spider-like image.


message 9: by Jason (last edited Aug 18, 2015 10:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jason Burghardt Paul wrote: "I felt the same thing about The Shining. I get the sense that he falls so in love with his ideas, that he can't wait to tell you everything about them in the end, but he tells too much. That's why ..."

For one thing, Kubrick's film may be entertaining, but it's vastly different than the book and I would argue does not improve upon the narrative. For another, the story is about a sane man going insane, corrupted by the hotel. Kubrick completely undermines this possibility by his casting choice (Nicholson), a man who always looks somewhat crazy and does so from scene 1 of the film. So, that ruins that devolution.

In the book, the hotel is actually a character. It has a presence, the ghosts who want to possess Danny's shining ability. You get none of that from the film. And Kubrick, while a visually stunning filmmaker, doesn't understand horror. His payoffs don't scare, so you are left with an non-scary, albeit entertaining as hell, film about a man being manipulated into trying to murder his family. And in the end of the book, during a moment of clarity, Jack attempts to save his family, fight the evil. None of that redemption at all in the movie.

Yet another example of a King adaptation failing to live up to the source material.


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Gallagher I always felt like, at the end, when Bill, Ben, Bev and Richie left Derry that they should retain their memories but that Mike should be the one to start to forget. After all, he held onto his memories because he was the only one to remain there. The others forgot because they left, but with Pennywise's defeat it felt like a cop-out to have the other Losers go back to forgetting.


C. G. Telcontar I first read It around 1990, when I was 22. Single, no kids, a different era, different tech, you name it. I reread it a few times after that, but despite how much I loved the book, the sex scene threw me off every time. It's not even what you could call gratuitous, it's just a wretched idea. They're lost in the sewers and their bond toward each other is weakening, so let's solve it with a quick gang bang? In the midst of being scared half to death, let's have a quickie with one of our best childhood buddies? You can't sell that plot point resolution to me, no matter how hard you try. I can't even say it's casual author intrusion -- it seems to reach too far wrong to shake it off that lightly. It's a colossal misstep.

The spider idea is terrible, too. I think he had nothing left in the tank and just threw that image out there as something that scares everyone, a spider. A really big spider. Scary big. It just doesn't work.


Stephanie Mittendorf I've just finished the book and a few things are bothering me. I feel like the "past" version of the encounter of it was not fully explained. Although the fate of belch and Victor is partially explained I'm not clear on when and where that happened. At one moment the losers are not only getting through the tunnels to find it, but also to escape henry and his crew. Then they almost defeat it, have a wierd and confusing sex circle, (which also bothers me,) then magically find their way out of the sewers and somehow Henry is magically institutionalized. There is no further explanation of Henry's cowardly encounter with it, nor his escape from the tunnels. I feel like I've missed a page. I can figure out what happened, but i felt like that encounter would've had an in-depth explanation.

The Tom/Audra thing doesn't bother me as much. I felt like that could've gone differently but i can be content in thinking Tom's purpose was to bring Audra to the lair. It did understand that adults need more than just a nightmare creature to incite fear.

The wierd sex thing really bothered me. I don't understand what value that was meant to add to the story. It ruined the character of Beverly for me entirely. And i also don't understand how the hell things happened for her in childhood after the first encounter. Did she just run away? Did she find some authority to step between she and her father?

All that wonderful build up and all the conclusions fall short. I don't understand why there was so much explanation of the destruction of Derry without a full explanation into what happened with the characters.


Laura Herzlos The whole Tom/Audra/Henry in the adult part felt like a Chekhov's Gun that is used to hammer a nail on the wall.


message 14: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Ezra wrote: "I just finished this book, and overall I enjoyed it immensely. However, it's a long read, and I felt some of the plot points were either left unresolved or their resolutions were unfulfilling.

Fir..."


Bev's father was invaded by It. He was a controlling, abusive a-hole all along, but the scene where she literally runs from him intimates that he has been somehow possessed by It and made into even more of a monster than he really is. I don't believe he would have remembered most of this scene, and may have been back to normal* once the kids injured It and returned to the surface of Derry.

*If by "normal," you include trashy, abusing pieces of shit.*


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