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Old 09-24-2012, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Maine
18,691 posts, read 22,437,772 times
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Anyone else read this? Did you like it? Why?

It's often listed as one of King's best books. I'm 95% done with it, and I don't see what all the fanfare is about. It's honestly been a chore to make myself read.

There are parts of it that are quite good. But the whole isn't very good at all. Parts of it are horribly written (I get the impression this was written during the height of King's substance abuse). We get long background stories (page after page after page) on characters that don't matter to the story. Pivotal scenes are glossed over. The bad guy is horrid in a grotesque way but often so absurd that rather being scary, It just comes across as silly.

The kids are likeable, but when they grow up, not so much. Mike and Ben as adults are still likeable. But the others range from just annoying to downright unsympathetic.

So what is the appeal of this book?
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:29 PM
 
1,833 posts, read 2,926,102 times
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I attempted to read this about 20 years ago during my college years. I scared myself reading it and couldn't finish. The movie never scared me and I had no fear of clowns. I don't remember particuarly being impressed by it - just scared at the idea of a psycho dressed as a clown chasing after me.

Doesn't really help answer your question I know - except that it wasn't remarkable to me as far as being well written.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 11,544,327 times
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Quote:
Anyone else read this? Did you like it? Why?

It's often listed as one of King's best books. I'm 95% done with it, and I don't see what all the fanfare is about. It's honestly been a chore to make myself read.

There are parts of it that are quite good. But the whole isn't very good at all. Parts of it are horribly written (I get the impression this was written during the height of King's substance abuse). We get long background stories (page after page after page) on characters that don't matter to the story. Pivotal scenes are glossed over. The bad guy is horrid in a grotesque way but often so absurd that rather being scary, It just comes across as silly.
I read it a long time ago, and completely agree with you. It could have been a great story, but it was ruined by the execution. I feel exactly the same way about The Stand. The only Stephen King novels I feel are even worth reading are the very early ones like The Shining. I feel like It resonates with people because of the evil clown motif, probably helped by that scene from Poltergeist.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Texas
15,895 posts, read 16,045,960 times
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I think it is one of his best. I loved all the character development. I loved how it all tied up in the end and Pennywise was one scary critter. But, then, I've seen "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" and clowns just flat out scare me.

I did not find it to be written badly. I loved it. I've read it several times and still totally enjoy it. I have the movie because I think it is one of the few of his books that have been made into a movie that sticks with the book. I feel the same way about The Stand, which IMO is his masterpiece.

Mike and Ben were my favorite characters. Particularly Mike. He was stuck there all alone for all those years.

Because of this book I take extra care not to walk near gutters. "We all float down here."
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:28 PM
 
59 posts, read 40,240 times
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I remember reading the book when I moved in with my mom and grandma and didn't have a tv in my room while listening to Prodigy. I read most of it, but my favorite was the first Part, I do remember reading through the rest though and I thought there were some genuinely scary parts but as a whole I wasn't frightened than again by 10 or 11 I was already watching horror movies so yeah
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Maine
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I finished IT.

The Good

King's portrayal of childhood with all its wonder, heartache, hurt, and joy. The Loser's Club as kids is very well done. King is so good at this I suspect he's not even aware of how good he is, because he's done it (and done it better) in other books like "The Body," The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, 'Salem's Lot, and Dreamcatcher.

The ending was indeed very beautiful and moving.

Clowns are scary. 'Nuff said.


The Bad

The characters we like so much as kids become very unlikeable adults. Mike and Ben are the exceptions. But Eddie pathetic, Richie annoying in the extreme, and Ben and Beverly are still sympathetic but do some really horrible things that earned more than a little of my disdain.

The book is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY over-written. It's like King had diarrhea of the imagination, and no one with enough guts to tell him he needed changing. Early in the novel, we get a long background biography of Stan Uris's wife. It's well done, as King really makes us care about her over many, many, many, many pages. But as soon as that chapter is over, we never meet her again. Not once does she come up in the story. Same thing with Patrick (one of the bad guys) later in the book. We get a long detail of his childhood and slowly growing insanity. You think King is setting him up to be a big bad guy. Nope. He dies next chapter.

Yet other important bits are just sort of mentioned. Like how Tom, Ben, and Belch die. It's set up, but we never see it. The story just tells us in a sentence or two how they died.

The writing itself is just plain bad in places. The prose tells where it should show, show where it should tell, relies way too heavily on adverbs, and some of the metaphors and similes are giggle worthy. And the plotting. Oy! I don't mind flashbacks, but in IT there are flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks that suddenly flashforward then back again.

"Beep, beep, Richie!" This got old after about the first 10 times. After the 20th time, I really wanted to slap the person saying it.


The Silly

IT as Pennywise the clown was really terrifying. IT as a giant bird, a Paul Bunyan statue, Frankenstein's monster, and wow ... as Michael Landon the teenage werewolf ... just silly and not at all scary. Goofy in fact. I found myself thinking: What's next? IT as some evil Wrongway Feldman or Gilligan and the Skipper?



In short: There's a great story somewhere in IT, but it is unfortunately buried beneath a more than fair amount of bad writing and ponderous plotting. It really did strike me as if most of this book was written while finishing off the back half of a case of beer. IT is basically a practice run for a fantastic book that King later wrote: Dreamcatcher. Lots of the same themes and type of characters as found in IT, but Dreamcatcher succeeds where IT fails on all counts.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,870,154 times
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I read this years ago as summer entertainment. It wasn't one of my favorite of his but I did enjoy it as most of it I could identify (locations here in town) Bangor. The barrens etc. As I recall it was just over 1000 pages. I have had "Bag of Bones" sitting on the bookshelf for ages and maybe I'll get into that soon.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Maine
18,691 posts, read 22,437,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newdaawn View Post
I have had "Bag of Bones" sitting on the bookshelf for ages and maybe I'll get into that soon.
Bag of Bones is excellent.

The first time I read it, I found the first few chapters a bit of a slog, but once it got going, it really moved. I think I read the final 400 pages in one sitting.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:17 PM
 
Location: in the southwest
13,395 posts, read 41,953,834 times
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I have not read IT in many, many years.

But I remember being very very scared of Pennywise. More so after the book was made into a film. (Wasn't he played by Tim Curry?) "We all float down here" was scary in print, but even worse when declared by Curry.

Mark S, I agree with you about the flashbacks. I remember being frustrated and impatient with that stuff.

But I remember reading 'we lie best when we lie to ourselves' and that was not too shabby.

Anyway, I am not a huge Stephen King fan, but neither am I a hater. I think sometimes he really resonates, and nails it, and other times, not so much, perhaps because, as you mention, of his execution. I loved "The Body" long before "Stand By Me" was filmed.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:27 PM
 
Location: GIlbert, AZ
3,030 posts, read 4,739,970 times
Reputation: 2098
Thought it was awesome until the part where Bev Banged all the boys..please..why would she do this...have sex with a bunch of 12 year olds in a sewer? I read this when I was in the navy over 25 years ago, and this is the part of the book that stood out the most.
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