Stephen King’s best epic, though no longer my pick for his best book (September Top 10 list be damned). I read a 2017 Scribner edition with a movie tie-in cover. It’s a great pressing; sturdy and a good size and fairly priced (under $10 last I checked).
4 out of 5 stars.
Times Read: 3
A monstrous, immortal force living in Derry, Maine emerges in cycles, feeding on and fueling hate and fear.
It, more than The Dark Tower series, is the essence and culmination of Stephen King. It’s quite an undertaking for a reader; most editions come in at over 1,100 pages, and it’s best enjoyed in as few sittings as possible. Basically, don’t try this one unless you can get through at least 100 pages every time you open it. It doesn’t lend itself to short bursts; you’ll lose the thread and atmosphere if you let it sit at all.
The book is divided into five parts with Derry Interludes between. The main timeline moves back and forth between the late 1950s and late 1980s (and the Interludes go back to the 1800s), but King controls the characters and plot with a minimum of confusion. Still, it’s not a bad idea to watch at least one of the film versions before you read the book. Having a handle on the seven lead characters (the “Loser’s Club”) and a basic understanding of the structure puts you in a good place without spoiling all the fun.
King plays some neat tricks in the narrative; he alludes to future events as though the reader already knows the whole story, which adds an interesting interactive aspect to multiple readings – we have these same hazy memories of the same main points. When the characters vaguely remember the bullies, the house on Neibolt Street, the Standpipe, the Barrens, so do we.
Though, I think two readings is the sweet spot for It. This reading became a bit of a slog…