Book Review: It

IT | Stephen King
01.05.2016 (first published Sept 1986) | Scribner
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Derry, Maine has an interesting history of cycles of violence and cases of missing children. There is something hunting the town’s youth and impacting the behavior of the adults. In 1958 Bill Denbourgh’s brother George is found murdered with his arm missing. The pattern is starting again, children are vanishing. Bill seems to be the only one in Derry noticing what’s happening around him. With the help of his friends, The Loser’s Club, made up of Bill, Richie, Ben, Eddie, Beverly, Stan, and Mike, the group will set out on a mission to find the cause of this evil, known simply as It. They will stop at nothing to kill It.

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Maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends – maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that’s what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.

The year is 1985 and It is back to lurking in Derry’s sewers and murdering the town’s children. The Loser’s Club are adults now and their lives have taken each of them to different parts of the globe, but the commitment to always return if It came back to Derry draws them home. Can the Losers Club finally kill It once and for all? Will It destroy them before they ever get the chance?

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The force of the memory sweeps through him like a tide, turning him alternately hot and cold, and he suddenly understands why these memories have come back one at a time. If he had remembered everything at once, the force would have been like a psychological shotgun blast let off an inch from his temple. It would have torn off the whole top of his head.

Stephen King’s IT is a masterfully told story that is equal parts terrifying horror and coming of age story. Deep at the heart of the novel is the Losers Club and the kids, turned adults, who make up the group. Each one serves a special place in the group and they all need each other to survive. The reader watches over the course of the novel as each Losers Club member grows up and what the impact of It had on their lives and who they became as an adult. The reunion of this group is an emotional roller coaster fully showcasing just how much they each mean to one another.

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The kid in you just leaked out, like the air out of a tire. And one day you looked in the mirror and there was a grownup looking back at you. You could go on wearing bluejeans, you could keep going to Springsteen and Seger concerts, you could dye your hair, but that was a grownup’s face in the mirror just the same. It all happened while you were asleep, maybe, like a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

King has the ability to write this emotional story of the good parts of mankind and mix it with a terrifying tale of evil in the form of another being and mankind itself. The evil in this novel surely centers around It, which is at the root of the disappearances and murders, but its the ability that It has to affect the town’s population and drive them to acts of terrible violence that is the most unsettling part of this book. King highlights this evil in the adult population of Derry, but also a gang of kids who know no boundaries. While the shapeshifting abilities of It to alters its presence to what terrifies you most is incredibly frightening, I more commonly felt fear from the acts of the everyday person.

We all float down here!

As with any book, there were part of IT that I didn’t enjoy and felt they didn’t need to be included, but each element of the story captivated my heart and this book easily deserves a 5 star rating. Thank you so much to Janel (@keeperofpages) for organizing a wonderful read along for this novel!

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