It by Stephen King

27 Jan 2015

I listened to the Penguin Audiobooks version of this book.

You get a call one night from someone named Mike. “Mike who?” “Mike–from Derry.” Just the name of the town tightens your heart. You remember Mike now, how could you have forgotten him? You loved him, he was one of your best friends. He says, “Do you remember our promise?” Then you look at your hand as it throbs and there’s a scar you didn’t have before, across the palm of your hand. “Yes, I remember,” you say, not really knowing what he is talking about. But as the dread suffocates you, you know you must go to Derry, go back home, to again face something out of your childhood and out of your nightmares.

I actually haven’t experienced any of Stephen King’s work by physically reading a book. All of it has been through audiobooks. I mention this first because something that struck me was the length of the work. Not that I didn’t enjoy every part of it–there were no lulls or parts that I immediately considered extraneous. While The Stand was just as long, it had a different, more epic feel about it, that disguised the length for me.

I loved the arrangement of the novel, and the constant shifts between the 50s and 80s Derry. Although this device is most clearly used to emphasize the mirrored acts of the past and present, that history repeats, and that fate has a hand in things, as a narrative device, this style is commonly used with respect to keep the reader’s attention, and switch between different characters’ story arcs. It works here to, because while the adults regress into their childhood roles and mannerisms, they are yet different people, shaped by their lives after their encounter with It in the 50s. How strange must our adult selves seem to the children we once were!

There weren’t any parts I didn’t enjoy in the novel. I know some people don’t like what Bev does to reunite the group after their encounter with It in the 50s. I saw this as more symbolic and representative of the sacred feminine, and I didn’t think it was wholly out of place in a story about the power of faith and symbols.

My favorite part of the novel were the parts in the other place and encounters with the Turtle. I plan to read/listen to the Dark Tower series which I’ve read explains more about the other places. I also thought the parts that describe Bill’s relationship with his parents after George’s death were really good in a depressing way.

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