Stephen King was my preferred literary horror dealer when I was a kid, but It always seemed so daunting. Over a thousand pages dedicated to a homicidal clown dripped with, “No, thank you.” From the first pages, I was unsettled and afraid – of and by and everything respectively: Sewers, sinks, dark rooms, old women, Paul Bunyan. The smell of popcorn now evokes uncomfortable feelings and I’m proud to say that at the ripe old age of 39, I’m now afraid of clowns. King is scary and weird. He handles horror masterfully. Frightening your audience with the mundane is the mark of true talent and It gives us that in spades.
King also uses It to give us something else.
“[Children] are not necessarily the best part of you, but they were once the repository of all you could become.”
A heartfelt love letter to childhood and its raw power runs through the entirety of it. It also highlights the magic that ensues when you truly find your clan. King writes with a relentless sentimentality that makes the horror that much more tragic. I was overwhelmed with emotion more than once. You connect with these characters. Whether you identify with them personally or they remind you of someone from your past, you know these children and the adults they become.
Just like It is so much more than just Pennywise the clown, It is so much more than a scary book. When you strip away the surreal elements, It lays out the human experiences. The world is dark and terrifying, but here we are reminded that love makes us conquerors.
It gets a five “YASSSSSSS!” rating.