Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book #18

It by Stephen King is a monumental horror opus that rightfully deserves its handle as a classic of the genre. This is one deep rabbit hole to get lost in and once you plunge downward the book grips you and refuses to let go. The plot seems deceptively simple - seven children fight a shape-shifting, child-deviouring monster both when they are middle age and when they are twelve years old. Okay, maybe it is not as deceptively simple as advertised.
King wanted to write a book about a troll that lived under a bridge, yet in the author's universe a bridge is too small, so it quickly evolves into a town - his infamous haunted city of Derry, Maine (the setting of many of his best novels). The plot follows a monster which hunts and eats children for a period of two years out of every twenty-seven. A group of seven kids (Six boys and one girl) dubbed the "Losers", decide to make a stand against the evil destroying their town. King juxtaposes their decision to return to do battle as adults with the choices they made as children. This is a big book full of rich characters and details which pull you so deeply into the story you fell as if you have become one of the characters.
It is one of King's most ambitious novels and several cross-cutting themes weave through the twisty narrative. King is letting go of our deepest childhood fears and showing how we must face up to what is hiding in the darkness before it (metaphorically and literally) devours us.
Many scenes in the book are gut wrenching and emotionally charged, while others are blood chilling sequences best not read before bedtime. From the compelling open scene in which a child is sucked into the sewer by one of It's many guises - the clown Pennywise (why all children should be slightly terrified of clowns), to the thunderous climax which leaves the reader astounded and mind-blown, this book is a near perfect story.
The book is long, well over a thousand pages, and demands an insightful reading. In fact, it will take a stronger person than I not to open the first pages as soon as you have turned the last, as the deep contemplation truly begins. This is definitely not your stock horror story and showcases King at his thematic, metaphorical, metaphysical and philosophical best.

No comments: