Book Review: It by Stephen King

ItTitle: It

Author: Stephen King
Series: None
Published: September 1986
Genres: Fiction > Horror, Thriller
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
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To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered, a good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, It lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each person’s deepest dread. Sometimes It reached up, seizing, tearing, killing… The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of It was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until the grown-up children were called back, once more to confront It as It stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

The overall idea behind this story was a good one. A creepy clown who lives in the storm drains and sewers and terrorizes/kills children — yeah, I can get behind that. Within the first twenty pages, something creepy happens and I was excited. Ohhh, this is gonna be good, I thought. I was wrong.

First of all, let me say that the characters in this book were excellent. I really felt like I got to know the kids pretty well throughout all 1,500+ pages of this book. King did an excellent job of making their actions and thought processes very reminiscent of childhood, and I enjoyed that. He also did a good job developing the characters smoothly into adulthood.

King’s writing style is very good — I think that he has the ability to write eloquently, while still adding in colloquial elements to make it relatable and enjoyable. I’ve read a few of his other books (The Shining, Carrie, and “The Children of the Corn”), and I enjoyed all of them. I really do think that King is a good writer who has really creative ideas.

The problem with this book that I had really had nothing to do with the plot, character development, or writing style. Ultimately, the reason behind my low rating comes down to two things that go hand-in-hand: the length and the wordiness. This book could have been trimmed down to about 400 pages and it could have told the same story just as effectively — if not more so. The other issue that I had was that there was WAY too much extraneous information that didn’t need to be said (no, Stephen, I don’t need to know who that random kid passing by on his bicycle marries when he grows up, or how and at what age he dies). Oh, and then, of course, there was that one scene towards the end…

I think realistically this book should have been split up into two — like the recent 2017 movie is going to be. I don’t necessarily regret reading this iconic horror novel, but I am pretty disappointed in it. However, this is the first King novel that I haven’t liked so I will continue to read his books. After reading the book and seeing the new movie, I can honestly say that this is the first movie that was actually better than the book.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: It by Stephen King

  1. I’m kind of sad to see you really didn’t like It. It’s one of my top favorite Stephen King reads. But I understand your reasons behind it. I do agree that the book could have definitely used some serious editing to make it a bit shorter. As to the newest movie adaptation, I like that they’re splitting it in two. There were a bunch of differences that I spotted, but that’s always to be expected. I honestly really enjoyed the new movie!

    Liked by 1 person

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