Is Stephen King’s It still worth reading?

Emma Nolan, Editor-in-Chief

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Walking out of the McMinnville theater after the 2017 remake of Stephen King’s It, I realized that I was more excited to reread the novel then scared. I craved the psychological terror and atmosphere that Stephen King captures in his stories.

I wanted the omnipresent weight of Pennywise instead of a middle aged clown with Gene Simon makeup and a receding hairline. However, at 1180 pages long and more than 30 years old is the book still worth reading?

Our story starts in small town Derry, Michigan as we follow both the childhood and adult lives of 7 outcasts who call themselves the loser club. Because of the length, the book has enough time to flesh out both the characters and their settings.

As a result, the residents of Derry almost give Pennywise a run for his money and add to the laundry list of disturbing imagery throughout. I found myself in no real hurry for the conclusion and in short found the book entertaining right up to the end.

The excruciating details may be off putting to a lot of people but I recommend any horror buffs to at least give the book a try. Because of the build up, the horror hits deeper than any jumpscare and the careful imagery gives the reader’s imagination growing room, while still retaining terror at face value..

Don’t get me wrong, these parts are still entertaining and give you a break from the pure horror but aren’t written like King is self aware how ridiculous they are. There is so much care and detail involved in making these stories feel real, that these scenes just feel awkward and out of place.”

— Emma

It has been a year since I read the book but I still remember Patrick’s fridge of horrors, the endearing losers club and of course the iconic, Pennywise appearing in the storm drain.

However the book isn’t perfect and as a fan of Stephen King I’ve noticed he has a strange way of disturbing you in one chapter and then deciding in the next (as was the case with his novel The Shining) that things like hedge animals are scary.

Don’t get me wrong, these parts are still entertaining and give you a break from the pure horror but aren’t written like King is self aware how ridiculous they are. There is so much care and detail involved in making these stories feel real, that these scenes just feel awkward and out of place.

Near the end (spoilers), though a Ritual of Chüd our main character Bill discovers that the universe was created by an ancient turtle who had a stomach ache. Still dedicated, despite being confused and disappointed by the ending, I hit the last 100 pages, fingers wrapped tight around paper cover that bowed under the weight of the novel.

Nose almost touching the margin of the page. I was excited but also a little sad to part with the book I had been carrying with me for the last month and half. And, then it happened.

Bev, a middle schooler, takes off her panties in the middle of the sewer and proceeds to loose her virginity with the rest of the loser club, six in total. I understand that King intended a deeper meaning behind the scene, but combined with the disappointing ending it felt like a big middle finger to readers who had stuck with the story this long.

Looking back, the ending was definitely worth how much fun I had with the rest of the novel. It is a terrifying, sometimes weird and quirky book that I recommend for anyone who likes horror and/or reading.