IT by Stephen King Review

I read this after I saw the film and I don’t often read horror books but decided to give this a shot. IT is a fairly long book which I wasn’t expecting and I started this when what I actually wanted to read was something light.. But I’m glad I chose this because it was exactly what I was looking for.

This is my first Stephen King book, though I’ve seen a number of adaptations based on his books (one of the most memorable being Misery) and had no idea what to expect from the book. It is worth noting that King goes into great detail in terms of the plot. For instance, if a character is narrating an incident, then King will go into great detail, writing about everything from the weather to the conversations and often a little bit of a backstory within the backstory. Which makes for a very vivid reading experience. He really allows the reader to visualise what’s happening. The atmosphere here was stifling more often than not and there was always an air of doom hanging about the characters.

I read a number of reviews that stated that the book was very scary and to be honest I wasn’t scared. It’s more creepy than scary and it was oppressive. The book is also non-linear which I wasn’t expecting. I thought it would be probably be broken into parts 1 and 2, instead it weaves back and forth between the past and the present. This works in the book’s favour because it allows the reader to see how the main characters have changed from when they were children. The main characters are remarkably well defined and Pennywise’s character is suitably creepy and unsettling and gives off a strong sense of malice.

There are a number of antagonists in the book besides Pennywise. People that inadvertently fall prey to IT’s malignant influence. Truthfully, it’s these people who are more scary than IT itself. Also, the adults in the book are such disappointments, from abusive to negligent.

My one big problem with the book however is the sexualization of Beverly, the lone girl in the group. It’s blatant and it’s there pretty much across the book. That was unnecessary. There is also a sex-scene which was also absolutely unnecessary and left a bad taste in the mouth. Her portrayal is extremely problematic and I am glad that the film-makers decided to change that.

It is not a perfect book and there are parts that are pretty problematic but it is a decent read.

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