Guest Review by Jason Brant: IT by Stephen King

Posted June 30, 2014 by jasonbrant in Reviews / 1 Comment

Guest Review by Jason Brant: IT by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King
Narrator: Steven Weber
Published by Penguin Audio on 13 May 2010
Length: 44 hrs and 57 mins
Genres: Horror, Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Rating Report
Story (Plot)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Production Quality
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Attention Holding
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Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror of their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name.

©1987 Stephen King (P)2010 Penguin

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IT is the quintessential coming-of-age book by Stephen King. I first read it during my formative years while skipping out on football practice after school. King has always had a knack for writing coming-of-age books, but IT is a cut above the rest. This is to teenage boys what Twilight is to teenage girls. Except the writing is good. And the story makes sense. And…

I digress.

The story of IT revolves around Derry, Maine, where an evil presence, often taking the shape of an insane clown, is killing children. IT is able to take the appearance of the inner most nightmares of kids and then feeds off their fears before finally murdering them.

One of IT’s victims is George Denbrough, little brother of William “Stuttering Bill” Denbrough, who becomes the leader of the Loser’s Club, a group of middle school outcasts. The ragtag group has all of the typical, bullied children. They have the fat kid, the nerd, the stutterer, the perpetually sick, the minority, and on and on. It’s The Breakfast Club of horror novels.

Aware that something evil is lurking in the shadows of their town, the Loser’s Club bands together to fight against IT, otherwise known as Pennywise the Clown.

The strength of this novel is the incredible amount of character development and world building. King makes you truly believe these characters are real and you understand their fears and hang ups. The town of Derry feels palpable as he delves into its seedy past.

Of course, as with a lot of King’s work, the depth of his writing can also make him agonizingly long winded. Entire chapters and sections of this massive novel could have been cut out and nothing would have been missed. But, as this is my favorite book, and I’ve read it three times now, that obviously doesn’t bother me that much.

Steven Webber, famous for playing Brian Hackett in Wings, brings King’s prose to life. Having a famous actor breathing real emotion into these characters has to be heard to be believed. I swear, only King could have gotten someone of Webber’s stature to read such a long tome. Even the slow parts of the story are made riveting by the performance.

It’s crack for your ears.

Listening to the entire audiobook is an exercise in endurance as it weighs in at 45 hours long. That’s not a typo. I missed two presidential elections while listening to this book. Make sure to grab some PowerBars and cut a couple lines of cocaine before delving in.

About Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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