It, like The Shining, was one of my first Stephen King novels. This one, however, I read despite the warnings of my mother, who said it was “a stupid book.” But I was curious, and at that point in my life I loved big, thick books (this one is over 1,000 pages)—so I read it anyway. And I absolutely loved it.
The story is ridiculously complex, but at the same time rather simple: seven kids, six boys and one girl, become friends in the summer of 1958 during a spree of child abductions in their town, Derry, Maine. Only Richie, Bill, Eddie, Beverly, Mike, Stan, and Ben know who (or what) is really behind these abductions—and they make it their personal mission to fight It. This story is interwoven with chapters of their adult lives, and the consequences they experience when Mike, the only one who stayed behind in Derry, calls each of them 27 years later to tell them, “It’s back. And you promised.”
This promise, of course, was to all come back to Derry if It ever returned. Now that it has, the chosen seven must defeat it once and for all.
I know what you’re all going to say: “It was just a clown, right?” No, not right. A clown was just one of the shapes It took to draw kids to Itself. This is what bothered me about my mom’s dislike of it: she thought the book was stupid because of what It “turned out to be at the end” (which I won’t give away) but that was just still only one of the shapes It took. More accurately, it was what their minds projected onto It, because it would be impossible for the kids to see or understand what It actually was.
That’s not why I loved the book, though. I loved it for its intricate plot details, for its amazing character sketches, and for the fact that, despite, ya know, the monster living in the sewers, it was all pretty plausible. It was very real, and very heartfelt. It always seemed to me as though King was writing about himself when he wrote about Bill Denbrough, who grows up to become a best-selling author of horror novels and who is talented at making others “see” stories and not just hear them.
The characters all have very distinct personalities, to the point where you could probably ask me if one of the characters would do or like something and I could say yes or no, because I feel like I know them. I think I would have liked to be part of their “Losers Club,” to have known them for real. For ten- and eleven-year-old kids, they’re all incredibly brave, and it’s fun going back after you’ve read it a few times and seeing how their small talents as kids blossom into their careers as adults. It’s one of those books where everything falls together perfectly.
My copy of It is falling apart, and I haven’t read it beginning to end for quite a while. (This is partially because I didn’t bring it with me to school this year.) I know Stephen King isn’t for everyone, and this book was totally terrifying at parts, but if you do ever venture into Stephen King and don’t mind long books, I would suggest this one. It is an incredible portrait of friendship, loyalty, and courage, and I will no doubt keep reading it until my copy falls apart completely.