It by Stephen King
So much rain has fallen on the town of Derry, Maine that everyone imagines that they just might float away, right into the ocean, but they don’t. It’s during a horrendous spell of rain in the 1950s that Bill loses his little brother in a very strange incident. George goes out to play in the rain with a paper boat in his yellow raincoat; that is the last time Bill ever sees his brother alive. George is found with his arm torn off near a storm drain. It must have been something in the sewers, but what?
Bill manages to make a few friends, which is an accomplishment since he has developed a severe stutter after the terrible tragedy that befell his family. The group is full of misfits and they end up calling themselves The Losers. They soon come to learn that something is not quite right with the town of Derry, Maine. Every twenty-seven years or so, people start disappearing, especially children. Where do they go?
The children meet the monster that lives beneath the town. It appears as a clown most of the time, calling itself Pennywise, but it can take other forms like werewolves, giant eyeballs, and strange birds. The children call it… well… IT. IT is not a thing of their comprehension. It’s almost as old as the universe and it came from who knows where. It preys upon life and fear; it’s not above eating the flesh of children. They all float down here.
The children part ways as time goes on, but things start up again when they’re adults. They made a promise that they would go back if IT showed up again. They threw their adult cares and worries to the wind and traveled back to Derry. Some of their lives turned out ok as adults, but each and every one of them was scarred in some way by their childhood experiences with IT. None of them ever became as great as they might have been. Stan even kills himself instead of facing IT again, or that’s what people say.
This time, they have to do it; they have to kill IT. What form will it take this time? Who will survive? What happens to everyone afterward?
What I liked
I first saw the movie of IT years ago. I’m not talking about the new version. I’m talking about the original with Tim Curry as the clown. I always thought it was strange how the movie ended. I have to say that the ending makes so much more sense now after reading this book. I just thought it was some random happenstance, like a really bad M. Night Shyamalan twist.
I have no idea how in the world Stephen is so prolific. This book is gigantic. It’s in-depth. It’s not just a surface-skimming story. There are tons of side-stories and character development coming out of the wazoo. Whose wazoo? I don’t know, probably Stephen’s.
I like the idea of something being cursed as a plot device, but also as an interesting concept. Aren’t there some places that just seem inherently bad and unlucky? Why is that so? Is it explainable by science or is there something supernatural going on? Did the Devil once do a jig there? Did somebody sell their soul for fame in this very spot? Do the little folk live nearby? Are there witches in the shadows? Why can’t a town be cursed by some paranormal creature that eats children and appears as a clown?
What I didn’t like
If you haven’t become acquainted with Stephen’s stories yet, let me tell you that Stephen is gritty. Sometimes, it’s gritty in a good way and, sometimes, it’s gritty in a horrifying, sickening, makes you want to cry way. I really have to hand it to any author who can write something that can evoke such a powerful reaction out of me. Some of the stuff in this book really got to me. There are several instances of cruelty to animals and even a baby that made me want to sit down and cry at the thought that anyone could ever even think of doing such horrible things. If Stephen’s papers/typewriter weren’t covered in tears when writing those scenes, he has to be some kind of lizard-person alien or Vulcan. Even trying to remember these scenes makes me sad. They’re just horrendous.
With that said, those scenes aren’t out of the realm of human possibility. They’re out of the realm of possibility for most of us, but there are those people out in the world who wouldn’t bat an eye doing some of the horrible things Stephen detailed in this book. That is terrifying.
IT isn’t scary; IT is made up. The scary part of this book is the human behavior that is so dark it almost ceases to be classified as human and instead creeps into the realm of monstrosity.
I’ll take a creepy, supernatural clown any day over a human capable of such things.
If the bad things that happen in your town could be blamed on a curse, what do you think would be the cause of the curse?
If you were faced with a serial killer and an actual ghost, which would you be more scared of and why?