1986 ***** 1090 pages
Stephen King's It has always been a major part of my life. I remember growing up watching the classic television miniseries, starring Tim Curry, and gazing longingly at the old hardcover copy my mother owned (which I am now using as a monitor stand for my computer at work!). It's mammoth size always intrigued me. I was a strange kid. I was intrigued by thick books and movies that were so long they took two whole VHS tapes! I first read It when I was in middle school. I absorbed it over the course of one month, during one summer. The next summer, I read it again. Then, for many, many years, I longed to read it again. I started it a few times, getting only through the first two or three chapters before putting it down. Finally, in August of 2017, just before the new film adaptation hit theatres, I spent another month with my childhood best friends, Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier (about whom I won first place in school report in third grade! We had to give a presentation, in character, about a literary character we wanted as our best friend!), Eddie Kaspbrack, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, and Stanley Uris. Although I read the 2003 paperback edition this time (the first time I read it, I read the 1990's Signet paperback edition, and the second time I read that old hardcover I gazed at so lovingly that is now with me every day in my office), I also bought the new 2017 hardcover edition. The old hardcover I have was just so worn over time and having been read by mother and myself, that I wanted a new hardcover to have as my nice, display copy; keep your hands off, so to speak.
At this point, we all know the story. Seven kids in a small Maine town named Derry, in 1958, come together and battle an ages-old evil that has been terrorizing the town every 27 years for as far back as anyone can remember. It targets mainly children, taking on the form of Pennywise the Clown. However, It can take the form of whatever its target is most afraid of. In 1985, they battle It again as adults. Over the years, their memory of what happened seemed to have been erased. Slowly, they begin to remember everything, and the book is written in a wonderful back-and-forth style, bouncing between the two time periods, that makes for an exciting, inimitable experience.
It is Stephen King's crowning achievement, in my opinion. For many, many years, I couldn't decide whether or not It or The Stand was my favorite Stephen King book. Of course, The Stand is another mammoth, 1100 page book! After reading It for the third time, finally coming to the realization that reading this book, for me, is like spending time with an old friend. Seven of them, in fact. Eight, if you count its amazing author. It's not so much that I read this book as much as it is that I spend time with this book. It's truly a literary experience. King creates such vivid characters and a vivid world, that you honestly feel like you are there. It is, undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite books, and I look forward to the lifetime I get to spend with It in my life.