Most helpful positive review
75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
A world in itself
on 19 September 2000
First of all, I would like to point out that I am neither an avid Stephen King nor a horror fan. I've read some of his books, and found them all fairly enjoyable. "It" is the only one of his books that enthralled, captivated, and mesmerized me. It is his absolute masterpiece and stands by itself. The story has already been abundantly described by other reviewers, so I won't go into it anymore. What most reviews (particularly the unfavorable ones) seem to miss, though, is that this is so much more than just a horror story. Sure, there is an evil monster killing children, but that is only one aspect. This aspect of the story could indeed have been told with 200 to 500 pages less, as many reviews state. But King does so much more. Not only does he present us with seven incredibly detailed and believable main characters, he also elaborates on the secondary characters, such as Henry Bowers, Tom Rogan, and even Patty Uris. Knowing their history and motivation makes these characters come to life in our minds, even though it might not be essential for the main plot. The same is true for the Derry Interludes. They give the city a face, a character, and a 200-year history. What would Derry be without the fire at the Black Spot, the explosion of the Kitchener Ironworks, or the lynching of the Bradley Gang, but just another bland exchangeable Maine town? After 700 pages you can see Derry and its inhabitants before you. They live and thrive, both in 1958 and in 1985, in images few other books can conjure up. At the end of the book you inevitably cry, not because of what happened, but simply because there is no more to read. An entire world has just winked out of existence for the reader. Those who are disappointed by the final showdown between the monster and the Losers fail to understand that this is beside the point. It doesn't really matter what the shape of the monster is or how it is beaten. What matters is how this confrontation affects and changes the main characters. Here King is utterly believable, imaginative and truly innovative. The last 35 pages or so are among the most emotionally tragic things I have ever read. It combines triumph, sadness, nostalgia, and an unbelievable loss. Another thing I really don't understand is that so many reviewers give the book bad ratings because they are morally appalled by the sex scene between the children. Throughout the book, children are getting beaten, drowned, decapitated, partially eaten, their limbs torn off, their eyeballs sucked out, and their heads bashed in with hammers. It is, after all, a horror book you are reading. If pleasurable sex is more offensive to you than gruesome violence, you should check your sense of morality. To sum it up, if you are the type of person who likes quick, down-to-the-point horror, then you should really skip this book. If you are looking for an incredible story that touches you to the point of tears and stays with you for years, than "It" will be one of your most memorable literary experiences.