Almost every Stephen King novel conjures up images of summer vacation, and youth, but none more so than It. I remember watching the TV miniseries with John Ritter, and Jonathan Brandis in it. I couldn’t have been much older than the child actors were at the time. And then it was summer vacation, just before my final year in high school, when I read the book for the first time. I suppose it helps that this whole story takes place during the summer, so conjuring up images of that time in my life is hardly surprising. It did not scare me off of clowns, but there was a time where a stray floating balloon did completely freak out my friend and I, to the point that she ran all the way home.
For all the horror, all the gore, It is really a tale about the resilience of children and the power of their imaginations, the importance of friendship, and burgeoning sexuality. It is the last hurrah of innocence. As King says at the end of the book: ” . . . [H]e thinks that it is good to be a child, but it is also good to be grownup and able to consider the mystery of childhood . . . its beliefs and desires. I will write about all of this one day . . .”
Faults: a little overlong. Too much backstory for one-off characters, and a general sort of squickiness when they all slept with Beverly. This last makes sense, I suppose, given the themes of growing up, but still . . .