Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
"The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years--if it ever did end--began, so far as I can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain."
This is the first line of "It," the beginning to one of Stephen King's masterpieces, and probably the most incredible story I've ever read. Those who complain about it's length... they need patience. Those who complain about its characters... they need to look around at themselves and others. Those who complain about it being vulgar, vile, or horrific... that's part of the story, and not to embrace it means you miss out on something extraordinary.
In the summer of 1958, seven friends encountered something horrible in their town of Derry, Maine. This something fed on children, hunting them, preying on them, and devouring them. It could shape itself in any way It liked, whatever their nightmares suited, but always with one trademark: the semblance of a clown. The seven friends all had something in common: They had all escaped It at some point. And in that summer, they learned about It, confronted It, and killed It... or so they thought.
28 years later... A boy named Adrian Mellon is apparently thrown off a bridge by two other boys for his sexuality. It seems like an open-and-shut case, but the boys claim that there was something down below... a clown and a cloud of balloons.
Soon the friends are being called back to Derry, told that It is back. They made a vow, sealed in blood, to return if It wasn't dead. Each of them is now very successful, and the thought of returning to Derry, of going back to the horror that they'd all forgotten, is more than they can bear, but they had made a promise.
After finishing IT for only the second time, I feel I must add my comments to those listed below. I found this book to be one of the greatest fiction books I have ever had the pleasure of curling up with for several weeks and reading (any book that can have me go through the full range of emotions over and over again and then get me to spend weeks reflecting on thoughts from the last two paragraphs has to rank up there). SK has managed to write the scariest novel I have ever read but also weave in multiple underlying themes (Good vs Evil, racial discrimination, the reality of childhood as seen through the eyes of a child - who can forget the schoolyard bullies?) that kept me thinking the whole way through the book. Rather than bore you with a long review - just read the book you'll be glad you did (although due to the mature and sometimes inappropriate content of a number of scenes, I don't recommend this book for anyone under 13/14). As a parting comment, the book is best summed up by my dilema - Which is scarier: Pennywise or the reality of what happens to us as we grow up and leave childhood behind?
"IT" is, bar none, the best Stephen King novel I've ever read.Since most readers are probably at least somewhat familiar with the book, I'll briefly say that "IT" is about a group of eleven-year-olds menaced by a monster (also called IT) on a child-killing rampage, which takes the shape of whatever will scare the victim most -- then, the same people reunite in their hometown as adults, to confront the thing in hopes of defeating IT once and for all.At the very least, the book is jim-dandy entertainment, a riveting page-turner. The writing is Stephen King (admittedly not everyone's cup of hemlock) at the top of his form; the idea of a Mobius strip story/ies is clever; the stories themselves are both gripping and skillfully interwoven; the thrills and scares (and gross-outs, of course) come without letup; and the plot, though based on a simplistic and slender premise (Good Guys confront Bad Guy; who will prevail?), is a quite satisfactory cliff-hanger...But what really puts "IT" severed head and shoulders above King's other books is the authenticity of the emotion. "IT" is the Stephen King novel with a heart -- a bloody, still-beating heart ripped out of its owner's chest -- but a heart nonetheless.What distinguishes King's books in general from those of, say, Dean Koontz or John Coyne; and "IT" from the more mediocre of King's books; is the sensitivity and compassion (odd words for King, but in this context, I think they're fitting) with which he writes about his characters. They're kids (at least throughout the majority of the book), but they're also real people -- individuals with thoughts and feelings and likes and dislikes and hobbies and ambitions and (usually dysfunctional) families. We care about them. We laugh when Richie tries to charm the ticket taker at the movies.Read more ›
I feel that it is fair to warn anyone that is planning to invest their time in a book of this scope and magnitude that you may not be happy in the end. I have never written an online review before because usually when I read a great book most people already feel that its great and the existing reviews speak for themselves. However, as I was reading through these reviews, I could not believe how many 5 star ratings people gave. This is not nearly the masterpiece that it could have been and I think people deserve fair warning and a review that is more than: greatest book ever man! First off let me say this, I love horror stories, I am not easily offended, and I have read and enjoyed many other King books in the past. With that in mind, I started reading IT and was immediately absorbed into the tale.
SO FIRST THE GOOD (EVEN GREAT):
1) great buildup, some genuinely scary and disturbing scenes
2) realistic character development and compelling characters in general
3) IT is a very original, strange and frightening creature...most of the way through
4) childhood events, friendships, conflicts, and experiences are realistically portrayed and sometimes even more frightening and tense than the encounters with the supernatural.
5) Despite other peoples complaints with the length, I feel that it flowed nicely and the way the novel slowly revealed events of the past while building suspense in the present time was wonderfully done.
SO WHY DID I GIVE THE BOOK 2 STARS? -- This book COMPLETELY falls apart in the last 100 pages or so. So much so that I had to shake my head and wonder if I was even reading the same book.Read more ›