IT is Stephen King’s 22nd book. Though the novel was originally written in 1986, it has recently been thrown back into the limelight due to the hugely successful 2017 film adaptation. The novel itself is slightly different to the 2017 film, as that adaptation only focused upon one part of the novel, when the characters were children. The original novel, however, is set across two time periods: the 1950s and the 1980s. These two parts are not as you may think though, they do not split the book directly in half as you may assume, as I had. Rather they run alongside one another, and as a reader you are continuously swapping between the two periods.
The book focuses upon a small American town called Derry, which is haunted by an entity referred to as ‘IT’ which exploits the fears of the towns children. IT often appears as a clown to lure in its chosen victims, which is how King often describes this entity to his reader. The first time period follows a small group of children who become acutely aware of IT’s presence and decide to take it upon themselves to save the town from its influence. In the second time period though we are introduced to these same children, but as the adults they become.
I actually started reading IT in September, with the hope that I would read the novel in the lead up to Halloween. However, I didn’t actually finish reading King’s book until very recently, in January. I had an unusual approach for IT, and found myself watching the film adaptation before reading the book. – which I don’t usually do, in fear that i’ll be put off of the book, or just get bored because I know the outcome. However, because I knew the film did not cover the whole book, I thought I would be pretty safe. Unfortunately, although I did begin the novel really enjoying it, i slowly found myself dreading picking it up again. I found that King’s novel was just far too long for me. At over a thousand pages, it is the longest novel I have attempted to tackle – and probably the longest I will ever attempt.
I appreciate Stephen King as a writer, and realise when I am reading something that is well written, as IT is. It was a good concept, to combine the time periods and introduce the reader to the child and adult version of King’s characters. That was actually something that i did really enjoy. I liked seeing how the characters had progressed in life, after experiencing the trauma they did, and I liked how the bonds between the characters remained so strong over time. But again, I personally got bored. I felt I wasn’t being introduced to anything new as time went on. The story simply seemed to be repeating itself just with adults instead of children.
So, for me, I wouldn’t recommend Stephen King’s IT if you are not used to a longer read or if you like to be continuously engaged with new and interesting content. But definitely, if you are a Stephen King fan or even just a horror fan, give it a go, you may find that your attention span is far better than mine – which is very likely at the moment!
As I’ve mentioned IT has been recently adapted for the big screen. This was something I thoroughly enjoyed, and would highly recommend to everyone! Though it only focuses upon one part of King’s novel, I do believe there is going to be a second movie made in the future. So, fingers crossed!