It – Stephen King (#italong)

Posted 14 October, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 24 Comments

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Title: It
Author: Stephen King
Published: 1986 Pages: 1090
Narrator: Stephen Weber
Audio Duration: 44 hrs; 57 mins
Genre: Horror. Straight up.
Rating: 4/5 (see bottom line)
IT in Short: After a rash of violent murders of children in 1958, a band of misfits join together to face their worst nightmare–IT. Twenty seven years later, these misfits (aka Losers Club)—now adults—must come together again to destroy It one final time.
Why I Read It: Jill and Christina double-dog dared me to. And because I can’t resist a readalong, especially when clown noses are involved.
Thoughts in General: It. The book I never thought I’d read. The book I had no interest in reading. I loved it. Ok, I loved 75% of it but I think that this is fault of my own. So let me tell you a little about me…  When I was a younger version of me I loved reading suspense and scary books. Christopher Pike and RL Stine (Fear Street, not Goosebumps) used to keep me turning pages like crazy. Until I couldn’t sleep at night. At all. My mind tends to get the better of me and provide me with terribly vivid nightmares—I’ve even been known to sleep with my sister after watching particularly scary movies.
Although I loved these books, the anxiety was too much and I had to move on. I haven’t touched suspense or thriller or horror since then. I rarely watch the movies and when I do, I shamelessly cover my eyes or hide behind the covers. Yes, even at 31 years old. Yes, even sometimes with just movie previews. Can’t handle! So in those opening scenes of the book when little Georgie Denbrough is heading down the stairs to the basement full of fear for the thing that lurks in the dark, the It that is just waiting to grab him—reading those scenes brought back a flood of nostalgia. Both good and bad. Yes, It gave me a few nightmares. It kept me up a few nights and made me afraid to wander into the dark recesses of my house (aka my sewing room upstairs). I stopped running outside in the mornings and ran to my car when I went to the gym instead—all to avoid seeing Pennywise with his dark orbs of eyes and greasepaint grin.
But even though this book at times got the best of me, I loved it. There is no way that I can explain in a way that makes sense the fun in getting scared silly. Because it’s something that I do not plan on doing again anytime soon. Scott had me order IT for him on DVD after I started reading—after he told me how damn scary the movie was—but I’ve told him there’s no way in hell I’ll watch it with him. What does he think I am? Crazy?!
Oh! You want to know about the book: Well, it’s long. Like really long. And there are several characters. But unlike The Stand, it is evident pretty early on that there are certain characters to pay attention to and some that we can just forget. The story alternates between present day and past…oh and it’s scary. Stephen King knows all of your worst nightmares and he’s included them in this book.  Since I’ve already babbled on enough about my history with scary, I’ll keep the rest pretty short.
Why this book worked for me:  Now that I’ve read two Stephen King books and I’m an expert, let me tell you that this guy is amazing at drawing characters and painting scenes.  The characters and the scenes but also the atmosphere—you and I both know that a creepy ass clown isn’t hanging in our gutters, but King not only makes you believe it, but he makes you feel it too. I loved being pulled into the story, loved learning the history and feeling a part of it, loved  being sad for the characters, scared for them, happy for them. There’s definitely a reason why King is a bestselling author.
Things that didn’t work for me: Derry Interludes. Totally could have done without those tangents. The true form of It (I accidentally read a spoiler during the Standalong so this was a let down). The switches between past and present in the last third of the book–on audio this was tough to keep up with, so I blame it on that. Think this would have been more effective had I been reading the physical copy. The whole Henry Bowers thing. I get it but still it got weird. Um, that’s about it!

Bottom Line: I’m telling you…I’m shocked at how much I enjoyed this book. Part of me wants to give it a 5/5 but the ending fell flat for me. I know horror isn’t everyone’s thing and it certainly isn’t mine. I won’t be grabbing other horror books to read for a long long long time. But yes, I did enjoy this one and it might just end up being my top read for 2012. CRAZY? I KNOW RIGHT?!?! 

A Note on the Audio: I was really resistant to using my precious Audible credit on IT, especially because my library has the audiobook collection. But I was eager to start listening and the audio was checked out from the library and Care assured me that the audio was worth the credit. OMG this was the best audiobook I have ever listened to. Ever. Steven Weber (think Wings) doesn’t read IT, he performs IT, he breathes life into IT, he transports you to Derry Maine and lets you live IT. Seriously. It was that good.

Have I convinced you to read IT? What’s the scariest book (or movie) you have been brave enough to watch?

On another note, I’ve decided that with all the psycho reading I’ve been doing the past two months, I’m going to be all rainbows and butterflies the rest of the month. In other words, Jenny Girl is throwing around the idea of a Bleak House readalong. I know… I know…

24 Responses to “It – Stephen King (#italong)”

  1. I would have been ecstatic if the Interludes didn’t happen. Boy were those ever boring.
    And yes, we did have opposite reaction to The Stand and IT. Although I still like IT’s characters better.
    You need to read 11/22/63. I promise it is totally worth it. The audio was amazing. And its not horror. Lots of suspense, though, and fabulous characters. And a really, really good story.

  2. The interludes were so boring! I agree with Jill. They could have been left out entirely and it wouldn’t have taken away from the story.

    Stephen King’s characters are what impress me the most. I loved most of these characters and I really found myself rooting form them. Most of the ones in The Stand annoyed me at one point or another, but these kids were just really great.

    There’s no way I could watch the movie either. I would have to sleep with the lights on for weeks.

  3. Nope, still not going to read this one. :) But I’m glad that you conquered your fear and read it! I’m just not that strong. And rainbows and butterflies sounds nice …

  4. Glad you liked it. I read this for the first time in seventh grade, and I have a very vivid memory of reading “that particular scene” right in the middle of reading hour at my CATHOLIC grade school…..

  5. While Bleak House isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies, it’s a far cry from IT and an excellent choice for a group read. That’s the book that made me a Dickens convert. (Although I will always always always loathe A Tale of Two Cities.)

    I’ve read a lot of Stephen King. I mean, a lot. And, while IT is not my favorite King, it ranks pretty high on the list. The characters he creates are incredible.

  6. I stopped reading scary books, I don’t want the nightmares! I’m unable to switch off and the scary bits hanut me. I won’t even read thrillers if Joe is away, that’s how chicken I am.

  7. I’m so glad you liked this! I read it for the first time when I was a kid…way too young to be reading it, that’s for sure. It scarred me for life and I’m still terrified of clowns but it was worth it.

  8. Rae

    I’m scared just reading this review. Up until I was about 21 I love love LOVED scary movies (and as a kid loved R.L. Stine) and then it was like a switch flipped and I dislike as much as I loved. You have intrigued me though…

  9. I can imagine that the end third would get really confusing in audio form… I mean, it gets a little bit confusing in the book, and I think it’s supposed to be, to some extent, but you can more or less keep track. I’m still sad you don’t like the Interludes though! I really like them, even though I can see that they could easily have been cut.

    I’m so glad that you liked it though! And I wouldn’t be too worried about having been too scared to run outside, because this book has made me scared of clowns and drains (DRAINS!) and, well, big spiders… Lots of things. Tooooo many, really!

  10. I’ve never listened to King on audio, might have to give that a try. I imagine it’d be even more scary.

    King has been my #1 favorite author since I read Carrie in the mid 70’s. I love the movies of his books too. My favorite book of his is The Stand.

  11. I’ve never been double dog dared to read a book. :-) I hated It when I read it in college — I’m really glad you enjoyed it, Trish.

    I wanted to ask you about your questionnaire last week — I’m totally thinking about stealing that idea for my blog. :-) Do you mind telling me how you set it up?


  12. I’m so proud of you Trish! Scary bits and all you finished it and liked it. no pun intended. Bleak House announcement going up tomorrow partner in crime :)

  13. “you and I both know that a creepy ass clown isn’t hanging in our gutters, but King not only makes you believe it, but he makes you feel it too.”
    I know no such thing!! That’s why I had to big baby weenie out…watched the trailer to the movie the other day…are you kidding me?????

  14. I. Can’t. Believe. It. You made me want to read the book. I thought there was absolutely no way, because it would be way too scary for me. But you did it, you made me want to read it. Damn you’re good.

  15. Great, structured review :) The ending was blah, if only that had been better…! The movie is pretty ok, the scene at the old lady’s house and the cup of tea *shivers*

    RL Stine, ah, I remember those books. I must’ve a few Dutch translations hiding somewhere in my parents’ attic. My worst experience with horror was when I visited a friend (such a good friend *ahem*) in primary school and her brother was watching Nightmare on Elm Street. It was a bright summer day, but I was so scared of Freddy on my way home o__O

    Glad to hear that you liked It, what’s your next Stephen King read?

  16. Sadly, I had to concede defeat on this one and American Psycho. Just too much reading on my plate right now. I was so enjoying IT too, but I will have to come back to it a bit at a time. I’m glad you liked it. I <3 SK!

  17. I read everything by Christopher Pike as a kid! I have one his adult books, but haven’t read it. I’m afraid it will interfere with my awesome memories :)
    I was thisclose to giving it a 5, but it did have some flaws, the most important being that I couldn’t read anything else for almost 2 months as I made me way through this one. Totally worth it in the end though.
    I enjoyed the IT-along. I’ve already read The Shining and have no desire to read Belak House (but maybe your posts will convince me otherwise!).

  18. Ti

    King really has a handle on his characters. That is what has always impressed me from day one. His knack for creating living, breathing characters that stick.

  19. I finished! The audio was incredible and you were right, it was such an intense book! Like you, the end let me down a but, but I’m realizing King does that pretty frequently. He writes such great characters and stories, but he doesn’t quite know how to wrap things up. Such a good book though!