Oh, wow. I have just finished listening to the entire 44 hour, 53 minute long audiobook of It by Stephen King and loved nearly every second. Would I recommend listening to this as an audiobook rather than reading it? YES! With incredible narration and long chapters, this is the perfect listen for a long plane journey, while you’re inputting data at work, or to accompany you when you’re doing mundane every day tasks by yourself. The story is just brilliant, with excellent setting, plotting and characterisation. Obviously no book is perfect, but this is an epic horror novel worth reading/listening to!
For those who don’t know, It by Stephen King follows the lives of Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, and Stanley Uris as adults and children growing up in the haunted town of Derry. However, Derry is only haunted for children, by ‘It’, which appears in many different forms depending on your fears. The most popular form It takes is that of Pennywise the dancing clown, which was capitalised on in the popular movie adaptations. It begins by introducing the characters as adults being told that they need to return to Derry because It has returned, and they promised that they would come back if things ‘started up again’. Seamlessly weaving between their lives as children and lives as adults, King tells the story of the children who It has killed and the children who tried to stop It and their efforts to stop It completely as adults.
What I loved about this book…
First off, the audio is just perfect. Steven Weber gives every character their own unique voice and once you get past his version of stuttering Bill, which can be a bit annoying, you start to appreciate his acting skills vastly. I especially liked how It had more than one voice depending on the circumstance, and how he managed to do all of Richie’s ‘voices’ just right so that they sounded like they were coming from him. I could genuinely picture the characters in my head from Weber’s telling of the story.
The story of It by Stephen King is very clever. It is a unique story and I don’t think that any horror novel based around kids in a small town will ever measure up, and will always be compared. From the characters returning to the town that tortured them as adults, showing the parallels and just how easily It can return them to their childlike personas; Bill’s stuttering, Richie’s glasses, etc., this is a very in-depth novel which has been plotted carefully and the characters drafted with care. Seeing how King paralleled the battle scenes with the children and It, I do wonder how they plan on re-creating it in It part 2, out next September, as I now see it as one story, not two.
As I read in a post by The Bee-witched Reader, I have to agree that King’s use of racial slurs and Beverly as the only female in the friendship group is at times questionable. While I understand that, even as adults, the characters were returning to their childish natures in order to battle It once more, I agree that little character development is shown in way of the treatment of Mike and Stan, especially by Richie. He does note when things might be offensive through use of ‘beep beep, Richie’, but this is more of a friendly joke.
Furthermore, what the hell is with that orgy scene?! I am not sure how high King was when he wrote that in there, but it literally makes no sense, exploits child erotica, all while suggesting that Beverly’s only use is that all of them can be connected through her vagina. WTH? Everything else about Beverly is great, and many tomboys with male friends would relate to her, except from this incident!
Overall, It by Stephen King is a brilliant story and an even better audiobook, thanks to the talented Steven Weber. I would recommend to fans of the film, King fans who haven’t yet read it and anybody who loved The Chalk Man or Stranger Things. I once again applaud one of my favourite authors of all-time for this smashing read.