Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers."
It is a standalone horror novel by Stephen King.
This is a chunky one, and I am kind of impressed with myself that I read all 1100+ pages of this. The fact that I picked up the audiobook is probably the only reason why I got through this though.
I thought that this, at best, was an okay book. The story by itself is intriguing and well-written, but the reason why I cannot give this any higher of a rating is because of the graphic content. Going into this I knew that this was going to be a bit of a hard read, but I wasn't expecting it to have such a long list of trigger warnings. I highly suggest that you look at what you are getting yourself into beforehand if you are worried about the content.
I thought that the narrator did a job narrating the story. I did think that his voice for Pennywise could have been better although he did nail the giggle.
As for the writing, I thought that like the movies, the plot would be divided into two timelines. While it did do that, instead of focusing on the character's younger selves and then moving onto their adult selves, it blended the two timelines together. This didn't entirely work for me as, at times, I did not know which timeline we were following.
Moving on to the vocabulary, I did have a hard time listening to this because of the number of derogatory terms used in this. From racist, to sexist, to homophobic, this book had it all and by listening to it, it made it a lot more jarring for me. One other thing that bothered me was the sheer number of times the word 'it' was used. Now, I get that it is the name of the book and it is used to refer to Pennywise, but it was used way too many times for it not to be annoying.
I think I was a bit mislead as to what this book is mainly about. I was expecting Pennywise to be front and center, but he didn't have a strong presence. In fact, he was barely in it at all really. Instead, this book focused more on the main characters suffering at the hands of Henry Bowers and his gang of bullies. It was a bit overwhelming having to listen to one egregious thing after another for over 40 hours.
I understand that this is supposed to make you uncomfortable, but I don't really see the sense in reading this for my own enjoyment. I did still read it though so...you got me there King. The number of times I still scrunched my face up because of something that was happening is alarming. It is a hard read and there were scenes in this that definitely were not needed no matter how much King defends its importance (if you know you know).
Horrible people doing horrible things aside, an aspect of the plot that I could have done without was the whole Beverly/Bill and Beverley/Ben dynamic. I just didn't need any romance in this even though it could have been a nice reprieve from everything else that was happening. I could have done with more of Pennywise though since his presence was barely there.
What this book does do a good job at is eliciting emotional responses out of you towards the characters. You feel a lot of sympathy for the main characters and you feel disgusted at what they have to go through at the hands of other characters.
Again though, I could have done with more Pennywise. It is a pretty big miss if your titular character is barely in the book especially when said book is over 1000 pages.
Read the trigger warnings. Even if you are someone who doesn't like spoilers, I highly suggest that you know what you are getting yourself into as this is a pretty loaded book. If you think that you're able to get through some of the more graphic content then I would say give it a shot but if not, maybe this isn't for you.