To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . . (Goodreads Description)
I’ve spent hours poring over Harry Potter, Dean Koontz and everything that Fredrik Backman has written. I’ve finished many series that comprised thousands of pages. None of that prepared me for the enormity of Stephen King’s IT.
The book, set in a fictional town called Derry Maine, is overwhelming at first with its fictional history and comprehensive back story for each character. However, as you delve deeper into the history of the small town and its monster, the length is justified. The story follows a group of kids that find out about IT and the havoc it reeks on their small town. The monster is the reason Derry’s history is pockmarked with death and destruction every 27 years. In the late 50’s, the friends, who call themselves the losers club, attack the beast, promising to return should the monster show itself again. After 27 years, the monster returns and the losers have to decide whether they’ll honor the pact they made or ignore it.
I embarked on IT after reading a few of King’s short stories from Four Past Midnight. I enjoyed the nature of his writing as well as the realness of his creepy characters. I read the first 350 pages or so before ordering the audiobook to get through some of the dense backstory while I was stuck in traffic. The audiobook, which I checked out through Overdrive, is read by the fabulous Steven Weber and immediately pulled me into the story. Weber also played Jack Torrance in the made-for-TV version of The Shinning as well as some other King adaptations. Slowly but surely I made my way through this monster, taking breaks to rest from the nightmares that sometimes plagued me while reading IT before bed. After a long stint away from the sewers of Derry, I picked IT back up in time to finish it before the premiere of Andy Muschietti’s remake. Having watched the 1990 miniseries and with the fresh pages of the novel in my head, I settled down in the hopes for a good old fashioned scare. IT was a fantastic rendition of the book and provided all the jump scares I was hoping for. I highly recommend IT by Stephen King, but be warned: it’s a large commitment. It’s a novel so dense it demands rereads. I’ll likely revisit this novel again in my lifetime, perhaps in 27 years?