We All Float Down Here - A Review of Stephen King's "IT"

Stephen King.  Oh, Stephen King.  Only you would write a novel about a clown.  Actually, only you would write a 1,000+ page novel about a clown.  

Before I get into my review on this book, I want to back up and begin by explaining that I hate clowns.  I fear clowns.  There is nothing that makes me happy about a clown.  My fear of clowns started at a young age, when I decided to be rebellious and watch “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” by myself.  Ever since then, clowns have been the bane of my existence.  I’m sure you are wondering why I would want to read a book dedicated to a clown - well I figured it was time to face my fears.  

I’ve had a lot of luck with Stephen King - the majority of the books I’ve read of his I’ve loved:  Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Stand, The Mist, etc  I wanted to read a book that I knew would really scare me and I figured why not a book that deals with a clown that lives in a sewer… In case none of you have heard and/or know anything about what this book is, here is a quick synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

“The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey.  ’It’ primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children.  The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode.  It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a facade of traditional small-town values." 

I really wanted to love this book.  It’s a big book to sink your teeth in, it’s over 1,300 pages (at least on my iPad) and I was ready to conquer the shit out this book.  From the moment I started reading, this book made my skin crawl and the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  There were a few times when reading on my iPad (with all the lights off) that I actually scared myself enough to have to think about turning the lights on.  

**SPOILER ALERT - IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK AND WISH TO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENS THEN PLEASE STOP READING.  IF YOU CONTINUE TO READ AND GET ANGRY AT ME FOR SPOILING THE BOOK THEN EXPECT A CLOWN TO COME AND EAT YOU**

Then everything changed…. King had to go and fucking ruin the ending of the book.  

One of the strong points in the book was the relationship between these 7 children during this one summer together.  When all of them were together they possessed a power that could destroy “IT.”  While reading this book you begin to grow close to these fictional characters and you want nothing more than to see them conquer their fears and be able to move on with their lives.  You have invested 1,000 pages into this book and into these 12 year-olds destroying that which brings all their fears to life…  

And then King has to throw in a fucking gang bang sex scene and ruin, essentially, THE ENTIRE BOOK.  Let me set up this scenario for you… the 7 kids have destroyed (at least they think they have) “IT” in the sewers.  On their way out of the sewers they end up getting lost and are at a stand still.  They are gross and dirty and traumatized and now they are lost underground.  However, every other time they have been in a pickle (throwing in some old school slang) they would get themselves out of it by having faith in their group and growing closer as a unit.  

Well, what I learned in regards to getting lost in the sewer is this… have sex with everyone in your group and this will result in one of you remembering the way out.  Yes.. in the book.. that’s what happens.  The only girl in the group, who is 12 mind you, decides that if she were to have sex with all the boys, this will bring everyone closer together and allow them to find their way out.  This sex orgy occurs and voila!  One of the boys remembers his way out of the sewers and everything is well in the world.  

I really wanted to talk more about the horror and the clown and the fears and all that jazz but unfortunately this one act ruined the entire book for me.  Plus, IT ends up being some huge fucking spider thing from an intergalactic universe blah blah blah… I wanted to scream at King and IT simultaneously and say “You were so much more of a badass when you were just a clown and not some stupid alien spider thing!”

**SPOILER HAS ENDED - YOU CAN CONTINUE READING IF YOU LIKE UNLESS YOU HAVE IN FACT BEEN EATEN BY A CLOWN**

So my review on “IT”… Kickass beginning to a book, scary as all hell, draws you in and makes you feel for the characters, as well as brings about some of your worst fears and asks you to confront them. 90% of this book is absolutely great, unfortunately, the last 10% of the book ends on a weak and somewhat predictable note.  King should have made this book A LOT shorter and taken out a lot of meaningless and confusing tangents (aka the character Turtle - Dark Towers series anyone??).  

So how many skull do I give this book?  I would give this 3 out of 5 skulls.  Very disappointing ending to an otherwise phenomenal book.  If you want to really read a scary book about kids coming to age during a summer of supernatural shenanigans read “Summer of Night” by Dan Simmons.