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It: A Novel Paperback – January 5, 2016
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
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They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name. What was it? Read It and find out...if you dare! --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
The amazingly prolific King returns to pure horror, pitting good against evil as in The Stand and The Shining. Moving back and forth between 1958 and 1985, the story tells of seven children in a small Maine town who discover the source of a series of horrifying murders. Having conquered the evil force once, they are summoned together 27 years later when the cycle begins again. As usual, the requisite thrills are in abundance, and King's depiction of youngsters is extraordinarily accurate and sympathetic. But there is enough material in this epic for several novels and stories, and the excessive length and numerous interrelated flashbacks eventually become wearying and annoying. Nevertheless, King is a born storyteller, and It will undoubtedly be in high demand among his fans. BOMC main selection. Eric W. Johnson, Univ. of Bridgeport Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
I'd gotten into reading Stephen King two years before by way of a trip over the previous summer to my uncle's house. He had a collection of Stephen King novels and I'd started reading them with Pet Sematary, which had been adapted to the big screen two years before. In the intervening time, I'd devoured Salem's Lot, Carrie, Firestarter, and Misery, and The Shining. I found a copy of the 1990 TV movie adaptation and watched it. I recognized just how much I figured it had to have been toned down, but it was a decent primer (or so I thought). I felt warmed up and ready for the brick-like tome I'd acquired. I was wrong.
Reading the book was like a marathon, and I was prepared for a sprint. I easily identified with the younger versions of the characters, but had trouble with identifying with their adult incarnations. I appreciated the story and the implications of both eras, but entirely missed out on how well crafted the story was. In the end it took three weeks, but I completed the book, considered myself proud for conquering the nearly 1200 page tome, put it on the shelf, and...proceeded to put it out of my mind for nearly twenty five years. Almost, and entirely unintentionally, like the characters in the book...
Twenty five years later, I was on a kick of re-reading books I'd read as a kid, and then I approached Stephen King again. In the interim I'd devoured his books and probably thousands of other books by many dozens of different writers of differing skill levels, and when I thought "I should re-read some Stephen King" I thought about it, and it came down to either reading "IT" or "The Stand" and to be honest I felt "IT" was the better book. I remember it being a mountain for an adolescent. I wondered how I'd do this time.
It was SO MUCH better than I ever thought it would be!
I felt ACHINGLY nostalgic in the sections with the characters as kids. Whereas as a kid I identified with those elements as mapping directly onto my friends and setting, I did it unconsciously. Now I was (at times painfully) aware of it. I longed for the good times and friends of my youth. I appreciated how well King encapsulated the distance between childhood and adulthood and all the roads we travel in between. I reveled in how little we remember accurately about the past and how mutable it can be. I realized that IT was in fact two predators...both the eponymous monster who will kill and devour you, and the predator that robs us of our memories and the clarity we remember having as a kid.
The prose is wonderful. King doesn't use mere words to tell stories, he uses meanings themselves, woven seemingly seamlessly into shades of context and pigments of innuendo and occasionally bright, obvious splashes of unobfuscated emotion that jar you because...hey...in real life that's how it works. And in getting that right, King manages to make the impossible elements like the supernatural nature of IT and the relationship IT has with the town of Derry and the inhabitants there...normal. This could have happened. It could be happening. And it's that esoteric dread that King wields masterfully. The implications. The possibilities. Even in the fact that both eras are now, as of 2016, dated (the earlier phase was in the 50's, and the later phase was in the 80's...eerily we would be neck deep in the middle of the next cycle were it coming) was delightful. It was an added layer of nostalgia woven over the rest of the tapestry.
If you haven't read this book, read it now. Enjoy it. If you have read it, by all means read it again. It will thrill and delight and horrify and frighten you all over again.
If you’ve ever read a Stephen King book, you would know his descriptions are vivid and this book is no exception. You wouldn’t believe Derry was a fictional town with the way he describes it. The details make you believe you aren’t just reading about a town, but that you actually have stepped foot right into it. With all the crazy and evil things that happen here, it is not a place I would want to visit. With the way King goes into details, it’s like you are actually in the book right beside the characters as they go through the horrors of every day life of living in Derry. His style definitely works by making you really feel terrified as you read, as if It could actually reach out and grab you at any minute. This is a true horror novel. It is not for the faint at heart. Do not read this at night, especially if you are alone- you will have nightmares.
“…she took her washcloth and leaned over the basin to get some water and the voice came whispering out of the drain: ‘Help me….’”
-Stephen King, It
I loved the way this book was formatted. It’s not your typical straightforward timeline. The book is split up into 5 parts, alternating between childhood and adulthood in the perspective of every member of The Loser’s Club. Instead of starting out with the childhood perspective, you are thrown right into the perspective of the adults in present-time making you curious as to how each character got to that certain point in their lives. This was an effective writing style making it so you just couldn’t put the book down because you just had to know how everything would come together.
Every character King writes is so realistic. You either love them or hate them. I just fell in love with every character that was part of The Loser’s Club. Each had their own personality and quirks and that’s what made you love them even more. They seemed so real; like they could be your friend. Same goes for the bad characters. He writes them so descriptively that you just can’t help but hate them with everything you have. Some characters in this story were so demented. Pennywise (the clown) was so scary and creepy. The descriptors that King uses couldn’t be anymore perfect. Character personality, growth, and development get an A+ from me.
“Can an entire city be haunted?”
–Stephen King, It
This novel wouldn’t be what it is without the addition of the Derry Interludes at the end of every part. The interludes, in my opinion, are what made the book so terrifying. They detail all the past horrors that have happened in Derry and have basically been ignored and forgotten. This is where you really see the true evil nature It brings upon this town. I could read an entire novel just on the basis of the history of Derry, Maine. So interesting, yet so horrifying.
Now for my dislikes. One thing that bothered me about this whole book of amazingness is the amount of detail. I know, I know, I just went on and on how I loved all of King’s brilliant descriptions, but at some parts they seemed to become unnecessary. I got bored at some of the parts that I was just not interested in. For example, the description of Stan’s wife’s life. She wasn’t a major part of the storyline; therefore, I really didn’t care to hear about her life. I thought some parts like the one I just described could have been cut out entirely. Also I feel the need to mention one specific scene that just did not sit well with me, mainly because the ages of the characters at this point in the novel. I’m not going to go into detail about it because after all this is a spoiler-free review, but I do believe this one scene was just absolutely disgusting. If you’ve read the book, you know what scene I’m talking about. The scene that brings The Loser’s together. (Sorry for the vague description!) Besides that, I have no complaints of this brilliantly written book. I was hooked from beginning to end. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to fans of Stephen King or fans of horror novels.