Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Steven Weber
Audiobook Length: 44 hours, 57 minutes, 0 seconds
"They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror within their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name..."Thoughts: Remember when I said that It was not terribly scary? That I felt the story was creepy and intense but not horrifying? Forget all that. I take it back, every bit of it.
It is as if Mr. King himself is a master criminal, carefully structuring It to draw readers in and making them completely vested in the characters and the unresolved plot before he closes the trap and ensnares them, thereby preventing them from quitting the book when the plot really gets going. While the first half of the novel is definitely eerie with some distinct spine-tingling moments, Mr. King raises the ante in the second half of the book and solidifies his reputation as the king of fright. What was creepy becomes downright terrifying and what was intense becomes absolutely blood-curdling.
It is so much more than a novel about a killer clown who preys on children. It symbolizes the aging process and the loss of that sense of wonder and absolute faith in everything that makes childhood so spectacular and vivid. It is a reminder that adults need to regain that sense of magic if only to enjoy life for what it is and avoid concentrating on what it is not. It is not a bad message for a novel with a primary character of a clown who lives in the sewer.
For an author who is synonymous with fear, one would think that Mr. King would be the last person to include anything remotely religious in his novels. Yet, they are filled with very overt religious themes that never fail to surprise for their apparent unexpectedness. It is no different in this context with its overarching idea of total belief in the unbelievable, with its hints at the power of preordained fate and battles between the ultimate good versus the ultimate evil. Surprising and yet effective, these overtones help the story lose some of its cartoonishness and add an extra element of realism, as they help adults everywhere cope with very real theological ideas in a fantastical setting.
Thank goodness for Mr. Weber’s narration because without it, I seriously doubt whether I would have been able to continue the story. His energetic performance helped keep me involved, even when half of my brain was telling me to stop listening immediately. His excitement as scenes became their most tense not only added a sense of realism, it created a plethora of emotion and their corresponding bodily reactions. Raised heart rate, churning stomach, shivers running up and down the spine – Mr. Weber’s narration of Mr. King’s words created them all. It is actually quite addicting.
It is a superb horror story, filled with every type of monster – both human and inhuman – that one could hope to find in a novel. It simultaneously thrills and chills a reader to the core with its oh-so-vivid descriptions. The characters are anything but archetypes, each fully fleshed out and wonderfully average in their appearance, IQ, and abilities. Mr. King does not beat readers over the head with their perfection but rather makes them as flawed as anyone else, instantly making them sympathetic for all their un-herolike qualities. Of greater importance is that Mr. King does not resolve his story neatly and totally. Even while the story seems to over, there are enough unanswered questions to create tremendous room for doubt over the true finality of the story. If anything, this is more horrifying than anything else in the novel and creates a thoroughly creeptastic ending to one amazing story. It is the epitome of why Mr. King remains so wildly popular and should be read by everyone for its iconic images and phrases. Just be warned – it is gruesome and petrifying, but then again, would you expect anything else from Mr. King?
Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.