First of all… yeah, it’s just as scary as you’re thinking it will be.
Do not be fooled into believing it might not be all that spooky because it’s written word and not Bill Skarsgard drooling and chomping arms. It is most definitely is frightening, just in a different sense than the jumpscares from the films.
As someone who watched the movies first and then read the book (boo! what a poser thing to do, I know!), I genuinely enjoyed the book every bit as much as I liked the films. And I really, really liked the films. Stephen King, hopped up on cocaine at the time, truly did create something marvelous and unlike any story I’ve read (or listened to) before. And while it had its flaws (quite disturbing, unnecessary-in-a-book-about-minors flaws, its sheer uniqueness and character-writing charmed its way right into my heart.
So allow me to highlight exactly what worked and why it worked, and exactly what gave me the ick. (You won’t need me to explain the icks. I sure hope they’re universal.)
Thing I liked #1:
The characters. I have never read/watched a story where I love every main character. There isn’t a single one I disliked for even a moment, and that is something that makes IT so special to me.
Beyond that, I was floored how each character, both child and adult, were translated so perfectly to the screen. Every single thing I liked about each person in the movies was reflected in the original telling, and that makes my heart so full. Each character also has their own personality and flaws, and their own way of thinking that identifies them so clearly throughout the book.
Thing I liked #2:
The multiple POVs. Not only were there multiple POVs for the kids and adults, but Pennywise too! That was absolutely wild and definitely something I was not expecting. Getting to hear what was going on in everybody’s head is something that a show or movie can never really handle, and it made the story so much richer and more emotionally charged.
Thing I liked #3:
Richie and Eddie. Need I say more?
(Yes, actually. They should have kissed.)
Thing I liked #4:
The tangents and the ambience they lent to the story. IT truly felt like a book that was going in fifteen directions at once, and I ate that form of storytelling up. Did I need to know the mundane details of everyone’s lives? Not really. But I did like hearing them anyway. I feel like, however long Stephen King would have made this book, I would have been happy to read it. I actually feel a bit empty now that it’s over.
Now that I’ve gotten the goodness out of my system, here are the couple problems I had.
Thing I disliked #1:
Patrick Hockstetter. Did we have to have that detailed of a description about him killing animals? As somebody who loves animals, I’m always going to be biased against placing unnecessary animal deaths into stories. And if King did deem it necessary, then I really would have enjoyed a much longer and more satisfying (spoiler alert, but it’s a pretty duh spoiler) death scene for him too.
Thing I disliked #2:
The tunnel sex. Apparently it is one of the most “famous” scenes from the whole book, and I knew nothing about it until it started. If anything in that book unreasonably terrified me, it was that. There is no reason to be writing that way about minors, Stephen King. None.
Maybe it was the cocaine, but that’s still a pretty bad reason. Somebody should have stopped him, or at least told him it didn’t make any logical sense or improve the story in any way.
BUT…that being said, I overall really enjoyed the book. It would’ve been a five starrer without those two disturbing bits. But I guess that’s what horror is all about: pushing just a little too far into the realm of ungodly, disturbing scenes.
For anybody who watched the movies and liked them, I would 100% recommend this book to you. I have full confidence you will like it. (And as an added bonus, there are enough changes from page to screen that you’ll still be surprised here and there!)
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