Book Title: It
Author: Stephen King
About the Author: Well known horror writer with several of his scary books having been adapted into scary MOVIES which were also good. King is from Maine, and many of his stories seem to take place in New England. He has won awards, you can Google him just as easily as I can… lol. I’ve been reading Stephen King novels since I was a preteen at summer camp.
Main Characters: Sooo many characters. Here are the main ones. WARNING: SPOILERS BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS OLD AND THERE ARE ALREADY TWO MOVIES OUT FOR THIS BOOK SO JUST DEAL WITH IT!! lol
Bill: The leader of the “Losers Club” whose younger brother was murdered by It. He has a st-st-stutter but he’s brave and determined. His family basically started ignoring him after his brother died, so he’s a very sympathetic character as well. Interestingly, his character turns into a horror novelist when he gets older… is this character secretly based on King himself?? (No idea. lol)
Ben: Old Haystack is the fat guy in the “Losers Club” but he’s also the brains of the operation. He turns into some famous engineer or architect when he grows up, and also loses all the weight. He is usually the main target for the mean bullies in their childhood. He has a huge crush on the only girl in the group…
Beverly: A redheaded misfit whose outward appearance is described in much more detail than any of the characters, which I thought was kind of lame. More than once, the hardness of her nipples was described in unnecessary detail. Aren’t these kids supposed to be like 12? That made me uncomfortable… Anyway, she comes from a broken home with an abusive father and ends up marrying an equally abusive asshole. But she is strong, spunky and can aim a slingshot like nobody’s business!
Richie: The funny-guy of the “Losers Club” who talks in a million different voices, most of them racist. Let’s say that’s because of the time period when (some) of the book takes place, late 1950’s. He smokes cigarettes and is mostly ‘normal’ aside from that. He turns into a famous radio DJ in his adult life, that’s kinda cool.
Eddie: The hypochondriac of the “Losers Club” (is there always one of those in a group of kids??) who is convinced he has asthma, but he really just has high anxiety because of his overbearing mother. Even after the creepy pharmacist explains that his aspirator is a placebo, he kept using it throughout his adult life. (Why? Did he end up getting a real prescription from a doctor?)
Mike: Hate to say it, but the token black kid of the “Losers Club.” He’s a real historian type, with the local perspective and has compiled information about It throughout the years. He is the only one of the group that never moved away from Derry, ME. His family owned a farm next to the town bully, which led to all kinds of mean stuff happening to him specifically. Then as an adult he worked at the library. Why didn’t he get haunted by It all the time…?
Stan: While we’re at it, the token Jew of the “Losers Club,” Stan has a thing about birds. He is an avid bird-watcher and carries a book about birds in his pocket at all times. However, apparently he was the weakest of the group in terms of mentally stability. His childhood self has a very different impact on the story than his adult self.
Henry: The bully. This guy is an asshole. His dad is crazy. It uses it’s powers of evil through this kid sometimes. He runs a gang of big oafish jerk dudes that antagonize the “Losers Club” all summer. He is literally trying to kill them.
It: Evil manifested into an alien monster that can morph into your greatest fears.
Plot Summary: When Bill’s brother Georgie was killed in 1957, it started a chain of murders with similar horror and gory details. Adults don’t want to acknowledge the details that kids keep noticing – a suspicious clown at the scene. Seeing a strange balloon. Inanimate objects moving. Even blood splatters that grown-ups just don’t see. This is the world of horror that the Losers Club lived in during the summer of 1958 when they joined together to put an end to “It.” The Losers Club was a band of friends who all shared experiences of almost getting caught by It and vowed to put an end to the terror. After their childhood attempt rendered It dormant but ultimately not dead, more kids ended up getting murdered in the 1980’s, and Mike reminded the group of their promise. Some of them made it back… and they had to regain their memory before they could take on the monster again. As adults, they had new horrors to face but they put an end to It in a much more final way. That’s as basic of a plot summary as I can muster without giving away everything.
Lessons Learned: Life in the 1950’s seemed pretty bad for kids. Parents didn’t listen and ditched you at the movie theater for hours, you had to ride back home on the back of your friend’s unsafe bike… Yeesh.
Personal Opinions: I would like to comment on the story-telling of this novel. I’ve read plenty of other Stephen King books and this one is extremely non-linear. Painfully. You jump between different time periods and at the end of the book this becomes exceedingly confusing. The story is 80% flashback, told via memories, police reports and diary entries. There is a TON of descriptive back story about the town and some of the characters, but at what point does it become information overload? I also take issue with a lot of unresolved details at the end of the book. If you are going to spend an entire chapter describing the backstory of one side character, and then kill him off with half of a sentence and nobody bats an eye or asks any questions about it…? That just seems like bad writing. I felt the novel was overly long and drawn out. It was laborious to read and get through… and when I finally made it to the end, I was so appalled by the lack of resolution in certain areas. Important things were not explained enough. This was not the best Stephen King book.
For the record, I would recommend The Shining.