Finest kind of dope. Book-Valium. – Stephen King, It
Valium is probably not the best description of this book, but it certainly is dope, it is addictive. After I finished it I needed few days to mentally leave Derry behind. I do not read many horror books and was convinced to read this one only because I’ve read King’s non-horror books and really enjoyed them. One thing I’m grateful for is the fact I didn’t have nightmares after reading it. I think I just learned to switch off my imagination when reading the especially scary bits. I also learned one thing: I am not going to watch the movie, neither the old one or the new one, there’s no switching off of the imagination in the movies, so it’s a no go for me, for the book certainly described things I have no wish to ever see. I am not going to summarize the plot, as this you can find in plenty of other places.
From the movie posters I assumed that the scenes with the clown Pennywise would be the scariest ones, that was not the case for me. The most terrifying scenes where those where regular people were becoming evil, somehow the supernatural scares me less than the human capability for cruelty for no reason. I did like the fact that all main characters were damaged in some way, but they were also ordinary, regular kids. It made the story a lot easier to relate to.
The book is 1400 pages long and King uses them to paint a sprawling panorama of childhood lost in the past and regained as the ultimate challenge approaches. It is a tender picture despite of all the evil things that go on, there are all the necessary artifacts of happy childhood: bruised knees, a gang, a clubhouse, bicycle that feels almost magical, sweets, summer, boredom. Just like Joyland was a praise of youth, It despite being a horror is also a praise of childhood, of a time when in a way we are the strongest, despite being weak. Strong with the strength of possibilities that lay ahead.
The worlds of children and and adults are disconnected in a similar way as in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, adults not being sensitive enough to fell the lurking power, to notice any of its manifestations, always ready to explain away the mysterious. Because of that our heroes are isolated, they have only themselves to rely on, that drives them closer together and this in turn gives them power. The power seems to be coming from love, friendship, but also from laughter, the kids are never stronger than when they laugh in the face of terror.
I was surprised at how sad I felt when the book draw to a close and the main characters started forgetting everything again, as if childhood could not be carried over into adult life. This actually was another motive that repeated in The Ocean…
The book is so long that I could go on and on and constantly feel like I left something out, but instead of raking my brain in search for it let me just finish my review here by saying: read it, it’s really great entertainment, I could only wish all horror books were this good.