Tuesday, 15 January 2013

It - Stephen King

This was not at all what I expected. 

Much like this cat.


Stephen King's It is one of his more famous novels, and one that illustrates a perception/reality discrepancy that I think might happen with a lot of his work (for me, at least). It is not just, in fact, about a psycho clown, as pop culture and some variations of the book cover might suggest. Just like, as I recently learned (thanks, Red), Pet Sematary is not just about zombie kitties. Here, King takes the horror genre and uses it ruminate on what it means to be a child, what happens when you move from childhood to adulthood, how much your parentage and the way you're raised affects you as a child and as an adult.

And in the midst of this philosophizing, he give us everything we do expect from the genre. Blood, violence, sex, it's all there. And terror, that's there, too. It kept me up nights at my mother-in-law's place this Christmas, listening to the unfamiliar creaks with rising panic.

When the natural gas detector squealed
a false alarm at 2 am I was wrecked for days.

I loved this book. I cried, which was another thing I didn't expect. I cried when things were sad and I cried when things were beautiful. Sure, there were parts  though not too many  that were unnecessary (descriptive descriptions are descriptive) and parts I'm not sure how I feel about (some bits had an ickiness level in the danger-zone), but overall it blew my mind right up. If you don't go for horror, don't go for this one, but if you have any inclination or you've wanted to read King but didn't know where to start, definitely pick this one up. Thanks to Devouring Texts for recommending it! It's a rereader. 

Bonus ereader reaction*: This was the first book I read on an ereader, and it was great. I love love real books, but for the colossi out there (and It, my version clocking in at 1027 pages, certainly qualifies), I'm glad to have the option of downsizing to something that's easier to handle and travel with. If I didn't already own the Song of Ice and Fire books in paperback, I'll tell ya. Though I did miss the sensation of going from more pages in my right hand to more pages in my left. And my Sony Reader doesn't tell me how many pages are left in a chapter. Though I guess physical books don't really announce that either. Anyway, my basic stance on the thing is put a good story in front of me and I'll read it, whatever the format.


*I had written "review" here but then I read it back and thought HA NOT SO MUCH.

15 comments:

  1. 1027 PAGES?? WHY.

    Can't do horror. The Historian terrified me with its librarian vampire, so I'm pretty sure I can do that genre not at all. But I'm glad this was good. And not just about psychopathic clowns.

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    1. It's always a good thing when a book's not *just* about a psychopathic clown. Yeah, I don't think this one's for you. It's sceery.

      SO MANY PAGES. But not too many I'd cut.

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  2. First up, thanks for the link. King can pack so much more into his books than what you're expecting. I really need to re-read this cos I read it when I was like 13 and I don't remember most of it. I assume I blocked it from memory due to the horror-trauma.

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    1. Well, thank you for teaching me another side of a zombie kitty book!

      YOU READ THIS AT 13?! Are you OK? Do you need to talk about it?

      Delete
    2. I think, luckily, I didn't understand a LOT of it so I managed to get out mostly unscathed. Except for one scene. You know the one where there are balloons falling and then they start popping in people's faces and spray them with blood? I read that scene before going to bed and apparently had a nose bleed in the middle of night. I woke up and my face, arm, and pillow had blood smeared all over them. So yeah, when I woke up I did that Stewie thing for awhile

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    3. I can not EVEN with that story! WHAT IN THE WHAT. That is, I'm sorry that happened to you. I'm glad you didn't turn sociopath as a result.

      (Also you should totally read it again. I think it would read completely differently to you now.)

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  3. Eeeeeeee, I've been waiting for your reactions for SO long. And I'm so so so happy you liked it! (Actually, we have to make Alley read it again because she doesn't know how good it is and she should!)

    I've read it like... 6 or 7 times, I'd say, and I STILL don't know how I feel about parts of it. Especially that one part. You know what I mean.

    And yesssss to it not being all horrory horror because that's the best thing about it! UGH I just love it so much, I want to read it AGAIN!!

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    1. Man, I had probably 150 pages left in it and put it down for a WEEK. I think it's because everything was coming to a head and I didn't want to not be reading that book any more, you know? I could reread it right this very second.

      And yes, that is exactly the part. I mean, how do you, I don't know how to feel about it. But even it doesn't stop me from loving this book's face off.

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  4. I'm not so much with the horror... BUT I recently started reading The Stand by King, which people apparently love, so we'll see how that goes. This is the first King novel I've read in about... 12 years? If not longer. So if I like this, maaayyyybeee I'll think about reading It.

    But who knows, cause I'm a wuss.

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    1. IT was really good, but definitely horror, and definitely scary. More scary than The Shining, which is the only other King I've read. How are you liking The Stand so far?

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  5. I picked this up when I was 13 or 14, read the first page, screamed and threw it across the room. I'm better at reading horror now and love King so I really should give it a go but that memory has scarred me.

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    1. MAN, I can't imagine reading this book so young! Definitely do read it now that you're grown up and better at defending yourself against Book Monsters, because it is gooood.

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    2. I had been to a friend's birthday party where we watched the movie (tv mini-series? It was super long anyway)and saw it at the school library so decided to give it a go. And then decided not to give it a go. Because, terrifying.

      For extra funsies, at that friend's party we slept in the living room WHICH WAS FILLED WITH CLOWN DOLLS! Like literally 7-8 little porcelain clowns dotted atop shelves. Did not sleep.

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    3. That's terrifying. Even without the whole IT thing, sleeping in a room filled with clown dolls is nightmare fuel.

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    4. Yeah when did clowns stop being fun and just become terrifying. They're the worst.

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