What you should be reading: IT

By Justin McKinney, Staff Writer

21 years ago Stephen King published IT, which proved to be one of his most iconic novels as well as one of the most frightening novels in American history. In September of 2017 the book is being brought to life on the big screen as one of the most anticipated horror movies in recent memory. Which is exactly why you should read it!

It is no secret to anyone that movies based on books are never as good as the original work. While I have a ton of faith in the IT film, I think it would be a very big mistake to see this film and not read the book first. There really isn’t an excuse not to read this other than the 1,138 page count. Not only is it possibly one of the greatest pieces of American fiction, but King himself is probably the greatest horror author since H.P. Lovecraft.

He’s written countless classics and IT may be his best work aside from The Shining. IT weaves a tale that is centered around a small-town in Maine where an evil force has taken to preying on the town’s populace, namely children. If anyone has seen the trailer or followed any of the buzz around the film, they know that said evil force spends most of its time dressed as a menacing clown called Pennywise.

In the year 1958 a group of seven children band together to battle Pennywise and in the year 1986, the group realizes they must do it again. The book finely details each of the characters struggles in dealing with Pennywise as he is essentially pure evil. King constructs a deadly combination in the book as his characters come to life on the pages and the story is elegantly written.

While it measures over 1,000 pages in length it reads as if it is quick-read due to the fact that it is so well written. At no point is this book boring. It is constantly pushing forward and crafting a masterful tale through weaving in suspense into every page.

In a very enjoyable way I had anxiety while reading because it was constant page-turning suspense, in an essence I didn’t want to turn the page, I had to. This book is simply perfect for the summer. It is long, however in no way is it boring or drawn out, in fact I was hooked from the first page.

While there is a lot going on as King has essentially seven main characters as well as another slew of minor characters, he synthesizes the events around each character in a very coherent and easy to follow manner. At no point was this book tough to follow, however its villain, Pennywise, was always shrouded in mystery.

Fair warning to all though, this book is terrifying. IT happens to be one of the most frightening books ever written. King sets a mood throughout the book that will keep you looking over your shoulder while you read and checking for clowns under your bed before you go to sleep at night.

Not to mention as you venture deeper into the book you’ll uncover themes that are brought to life in a way that will bring you to tears out of fear. I realize that King has had many classics, most of which I have read, however I truly believe this is his crowning achievement. IT is a riveting piece of fiction that is clearly time tested as there is still buzz around the book and it is two decades old.

Don’t miss the boat: IT is hitting theaters in September and this book could take a whole summer to read depending on your pace. Don’t be the one person in the theater that hasn’t read IT.

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