Review of Stephen King’s “It”

It’s too damn long. Part of the problem is seeing the movie before reading the book. I knew there was going to be a spider, so I wanted to get to that part. That probably diminished some of my enjoyment of the story. Not entirely, however. I like King’s horror and gruesomeness, but I didn’t like many of his similes and metaphors in this book. They made me cringe throughout.

You can tell Stephen King grew up in the ’60s. “Far out, man”, and whatnot. Didn’t really have a problem with it, per se. Just chuckled. It was fine. It always stood out to me like when I witnessed it.

There’s a lot of themes in the book. Friendship. The romantic situation was very interesting. Not clear-cut at all. Everyone thinks Bev is pretty but Ritchie never really makes any moves on her and Ben loves her but she’s more into Bill but Bill is more consumed by getting revenge for Georgie even though he likes Bev as well. At first, I didn’t like it. But, thinking it over, childhood (hell, even adulthood) is confusing like that, isn’t it? The complicated love triangle was a nice touch. Very funny to contrast that with all of the gruesomeness throughout.

Interesting how they all leave each other after the horror of their childhood and Bill ends up with a woman that looks like Bev. Then he cheats on her with Bev? Ok. Then, at the end, he ends back up with her, and they live happily ever after? Is he ever gonna tell Audra or not? Ok.

Why is Mike the one that stayed in Derry? Why didn’t “It” ever get him? What’s the significance of the fact that Mike stayed in Derry? Does it have to do with the fact that he’s black? Serious question. He’s used to seeing horror so he can stay? It bothered me that I couldn’t figure that out.

The tragedy in the book is terrific. I’m thinking of Bev’s father and Henry’s father in particular. So tragic. Children being raised horribly. I really enjoyed those parts of the book. Particularly Bev’s. Incredibly powerful.

I had a problem with the way King talked about their friendship, to paraphrase, “coming together”, “they felt the final cog click into place”. Please. You’re being way too obvious. Stop beating me over the head with it. Why did they need those “cogs” if one of them killed himself before the final confrontation? Was Stan really necessary? And what did I miss about the birds? What relevance did the birds have besides making an appearance? Stan’s character existed simply for one of them to commit suicide. I guess that’s fine. But that has to be the stated reason for his existence. Stop telling me that all seven of them are needed when they clearly aren’t. I did not feel as if he existed for any other reason than to create drama about their “unit” being weakened, and to really drive home the point that what they witnessed as children was so horrible that one of them killed himself because of it. I think I enjoyed the way I just explained it more than the way King explained it in the book. It was just annoying, because Stan just tagged along (he’s an introvert, I get it). But Stan really annoyed me. I guess his suicide was the best part.

I liked Ritchie as a character. Mike as a character. Ben, and Bev. Eddie was annoying. “He sucks on his inhaler. He sucks on his inhaler. He sucks on his inhaler.” I FUCKING GET IT. GIVE SOMEONE ELSE MORE PAGE TIME. Swap Stan and Eddie, or something. Sure, it’s great when you learn the inhaler was a placebo. But for fuck’s sake, I got tired of reading about Eddie’s goddamned asthma. Bill’s character was interesting. He grew on me. At first, I thought he was stale. But he grew on me. He kind of made me wonder why some of the other kids were really necessary. I know groups have “leaders”, but a lot of time was given to Bill. And I couldn’t figure him out as a character. Obviously, he was motivated by justice. But how much of his character would’ve been “serious” if Georgie hadn’t died? How much of it was his natural personality and how much of it was revenge for Georgie? It bothered me that I couldn’t figure that out. Not really a problem with King, I guess. Just something personal.

I get that Henry was the antagonist that needed the most page time. It makes sense. He’s a loudmouth. I didn’t have any problem with Henry Bowers. I liked his storylines. But man, was I disappointed when Patrick Hottstetter’s story was over as quickly as it was. That was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. Patrick’s killing animals and has them in a refrigerator? Holy fuck! That’s great! Slugs that jab into your eyes? Awesome! I’m not saying that Patrick should’ve been the main villain over “It”, nor did I have a problem with how much time Henry was given. But I was disappointed that his beautiful depravity was over with so soon. Henry being the leader of this fucked up kid, who was probably entirely capable of killing Henry. What an interesting character, Patrick Hottstetter was. Shame I didn’t get to see more of him. I’m glad he died, though. In the sewers. Apropos.

And everyone ends up fucking Bev in the sewer? Really? I mean, ALL of them? Stan, Mike, Ritchie, everyone? That part was hilarious. I loved it. I guess, looking back, it’s really tragic. What was Bev thinking? Did she become a whore because of an abusive father? Or was there truly something deeper that she did, in fact, share with all of them? I’m leaning more towards whore because of her father, personally. Women don’t just go around fucking all of their friends. That’s the only way she really knew how to show her love, because that’s how her father showed her love. Sweet, because she loves them. Heartbreaking, because she’s fucking them because of her own sexual abuse (I’m sure), and hilarious and disgusting because they are all down in a sewer when they fuck. King can’t be preaching about ANYTHING “in real life”, political, because of that. Well, it depends. King virtue-signalling about Trump is pathetic. But I’m not going to get into that here.

But the main themes of the book, about childhood and growing up, were terrific. The final couple of pages made me tear up. I loved it. Fascinating how the kids fought “It” by accepting that “It” was an illusion. Kids conquering their fear of the dark. That was very nice. But why did any kid ever die then? How can kids die from giving in to an “illusion”? At what point does the illusion become real? I really like all of the parts were King drives home that horrible things in one’s childhood fucks one up for life. All of them repressing what happened to them in the sewer as kids. Stan killing himself, Henry and Bev that I already mentioned, etc. What happened with the Hottstetter kid that made him how he was? Who knows. Enjoyable. The town ignoring the problems of the kids? Also nice. But I’m confused: why did only some kids die, and not all of the kids? Why was anyone allowed to grow up to become an adult? Why did “It” choose who it chose? That also bothered me. Maybe I’m a bad reader and all of this just flew over my head.

And what’s the deal with Pennywise? There’s something old. It manifests itself to what children fear. It’s an illusion. What is its “final” form? I guess I missed that, too. I wish that Pennywise wasn’t just some prop or tool, the “bait” form of It, I guess. I’m fine with a clown turning into a spider. But I was disappointed that the clown just goes around talking in people’s heads. I guess he doesn’t have to kill anyone. But it’s kind of a let down to me when Pennywise is around for the whole story but he’s (or that form of “It”) is kind of meaningless in the end.

And why Derry? Why nowhere else? What was it about Derry which made “It” reside in the sewers for so long? No big city at all? I thought “It” was going to be a metaphor for evil as a whole. But it only resides in Derry? News crews from major cities come to Derry afterwards? Why did “It” choose Derry? I get it. That’s the “mystery”, I guess. But it annoys me. I liked the parts that talked about Derry. The small town life, the people around. It was funny to read about people going down to fix the sewers when they overflowed. Interesting. But why does “It” live in a sewer in a small town? Sewer, fine. But why Derry? “That’s the whole point, that’s the mystery”, blah blah blah. It annoys me, personally. I like shit to make sense. I get that entertainment doesn’t have to make sense, but in times like these, it is going to bother me, and I am going to say so, because that is how I am. Lol (And I’m not just saying that it has to be in “bigger” towns and not “smaller” towns, but why only one small town? Why no other “small town” but Derry, Maine?)

And I’m fucking glad I’m probably never going to see the word “Kenduskeag” ever-a-fucking-gain.

I’d definitely recommend “It”. But, in my opinion, it is overrated. People love it for the gruesomeness. Which I agree with. But I have a lot of problems with this story. There’s way too many problems and not enough good gruesomeness in this one for my taste.

And I think I would enjoy it more if it was cut in about half.

Review of 2017’s “It”.

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