Stephen King's 'It'

At nearly 1400 pages, this is easily the largest book I ever read. It took me so long to read it (especially because English is not my native language), that I might as well write a sort of review about it.

The book is centered a group of 7 friends, in a small American town called Derry (I think it's fictitious). Two parallel stories are told: one in which they are young boys (and girl), aged 10-12 IIRC, in 1958; the other one is about them 27 years later (1985).

In 1958, a series of mysterious murders of children have been occurring. While this happens, each one of our 7 protagonists, who do not know each other at first, have to struggle against a vicious group of bullies. Their struggle against these bullies is eventually what draws the 7 friends together. They will eventually call themselves the Losers Club. At the same time, each one of the 7 children has an encounter with a monster that assumes a physical form from each one's worst nightmares. They manage to survive this monster, which they refer to simply as It. The remainder of the book relates how they struggle to defend themselves against the bullies and It.

The highlevel story in this book is rather predictable, and not so complex. Then why 1400 pages? Well, the book has 7 main characters, each of them with many stories. Each character has a deep characterisation. We have Bill, a boy with a bad stuttering, who will become their leader. Ben, who is fat and geeky type of character, but very skilled at engineering even as a boy. Richie is a funny boy who likes to do voice immitations of famous people or ethnicities. Stan is a quiet boy who knows all about birds and likes to do bird watching and take pictures. Mike is a black and poor boy in a small town that is rather racist, with a knack to become historian or librarian. Beverly is a girl in a poor neighborhood who does not fit in with the other rich girls, and whose father frequently beats her up. Finally, Eddie is an asthmatic boy, whose mother is overprotective and so he hardly ever left the house or played with others before the events in the book. And of course we have many strands from each character: 1) 1958 stories, 2) 1985 stories, 3) how each one encounters It and survives, 4) how each one is being bullied. There are also background stories about dreadful events that took place in Derry going back to the 19th century.

I was deeply moved essencially by the story of how the seven friends, "Losers Club", get together, to overcome their fears and, as a group, become much stronger than they could ever be if they hadn't met.

This was a very good book, but very long, and very dark, definitely not for everyone.

My next reading will be back to SciFi. The thankfully short Isaac Asimov's "The God Themselves", considered by many to be one of his greatest masterpieces.

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