So, there's this nasty thing living in the sewers of Derry, Maine. It can take on any shape (werewolf, leper, and giant spider, for instance), but its most recognizable form is Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Every twenty-seven years (wonder where they got that detail for Jeepers Creepers, right?) it awakens from its sleep to feed, usually on children. Seven kids join up to get rid of it, and make a promise to each other to return and finish the job if it ever comes back. Well, twenty-seven years later, guess what happens?
MY RATING: 3 STARS
My review as posted on GoodReads:
Let me start with the story here. I watched enough of the movie to get in a few good scares when I was ten, and Pennywise the clown has been nagging me ever since, the creep. Things shifted around, and I thought the time was right to pop those damn balloons, so to speak. And I'm left asking myself, "What the hell was I so scared of?!"
As a horror novel, this blows, to use the slang term. Bigger than Mount St. Helens. There was nothing remotely scary or even creepy about this thing! The worst I got was goosebumps at the very beginning when George Denbrough was killed, and THAT'S ALL. There were some good parts, some downright bizarre (as in what-the-heck-is-going-on) parts, and quite a big huge chunk of boring. Not to say that this didn't have its moments of being interesting and occasionally good, but this was over a thousand pages long, and I was expecting something terrible! Just goes to show, it's never as bad when you meet it head-on.
You know, I think I'm learning how to read Stephen King...expect a lot more depth than first anticipated, and a whole lot less scary stuff. Go figure.
I ended up giving this only three stars because, while it did have some good stuff in it, there wasn't enough of it for a book this long. Mr. King makes some valid points with his assertion that children, more vulnerable to danger than adults, are better equipped to face it because of their abilities to accept the strange and unknown, then move past it. The connection between communication and salvation especially hit home for me due to some struggles with selective mutism, and I really think finally getting the courage to read this might have finally helped me overcome some personal difficulties. Therefore, Mr. King, while I say you have still failed to knock my socks off with some good old-fashioned horror, you still ultimately have my respect and I take my hat off to you.
One more observation before leaving: it wasn't It itself that really creeped me out. Heck, I figured it was more like a boggart out of Harry Potter, and that was the end of it! It was what the people of Derry did to each other, even without Its influence, that got me. It was Richie Tozier who said monsters are cheap, and I'll see him and raise him. Monsters are cheap, but it's people that are scary!
So that's it at last. I've done away with an old fear, discovered what may be the Stephen King formula (dark, evil forces exploiting the darkness and evil in mankind and using it for nefarious purposes), and made note of the score. Gemma-2. King-0.
Think I'll give "Carrie" a shot next...third time's the charm, eh?
Join me and Snoopy in a victory dance! We made it!