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Book Review: IT by Stephen Hawking

By Isabel Barrett

Volume 3 Issue 2

December 23, 2022

Book Review: IT by Stephen Hawking

Image provided by Elaine Ching

Summer, 1958 – a group of children in the town of Derry, Maine, have just stumbled upon the horrific truth behind the disappearance of multiple kids in the past year: a demonic clown-creature known as Pennywise weaponizes fear and devastates their town every generation. Brought together by this discovery, these seven kids become The Losers and are what may be the only hope of stopping Pennywise and its rampage. Through a summer of growing up and learning to face their fears, The Losers can bring peace back to their bloodied town—but not forever. Twenty-eight years later, the only member of this group that remained in Derry sends out a call to every other member, who have all long-forgotten that summer. The message? Pennywise is back.   


I would say I enjoyed reading IT by Stephen King. I loved getting to know every member of The Losers, and the themes of growing up, facing fears, and friendship resonated with me. However, it is a very dragged-out novel. At over 1,100 pages, chapters seem to go on forever, and there are many slow moments. But when faster scenes occur, it’s something amazing—the action that occurs during encounters with Pennywise kept me on my toes. Even though I never thought I would be spooked by a horror novel, since they did not usually have the graphic imagery to match what is described, you could say I was a little scared in some parts. But even then, the action does not start for a good while in this novel (if you are not counting the prologue, which is still a creepy and promising way to start off this story, but it is lighter compared to later scenes and getting thrown into hundreds of pages of exposition right after may squash any enjoyment), and I am willing to bet that a more reluctant reader, and maybe even some considered more avid readers, might not stick around for that. As much as I did enjoy The Losers and empathized with them when learning about their issues when the chapters seem to go on forever, you just want these kids to get their personal problems solved so you can get back to the action. I feel like I blanked out during scenes that were not as major because there was too much information to keep my interest in them. Usually, I love stories with a lot of exposition—I want to learn about the characters and settings I am being introduced to, of course—but in this book, I feel like there was too much meat and not enough bread to keep the sandwich together.   


Despite my problems with how this book presented information, I still think readers up to the challenge will enjoy this story. The seven main characters, from Richie Tozier and his comedic relief to Ben Hanscom and his one-sided crush on another group member, are all charming in their own ways, and readers will love to root for them. The tale of Pennywise has been a staple in the horror genre for decades, and I can see why.    

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