Saturday, May 21, 2011

IT by Stephen King….

stephen-king-it
What if you are called back to your hometown after more than 25 years, to battle something which was the worst nightmare of your childhood? And what if you remember absolutely nothing about that horrible creature or anything related to it, including most of your childhood and your childhood friends? Welcome to IT by Stephen King.

IT is about a group of 7 childhood friends gathering back together at their hometown Derry, trying to fight a creature which can’t be defined by mere words . At best IT could be described as a shape shifter, slayer of children and that which preys on fear. But what really is IT? Nobody knows. Acclaimed by many Stephen King fans as one of his best works ever written, is IT really worth all the hype?
Well, to go along with the fans on one note, IT is really a very good, imaginative and original story. It also has a good build-up of suspense and very good characterization. The seven lead characters have indeed been painted vividly. It contains some great moments of storytelling too. But does that make IT the epic that the fans claim it to be? Sadly, no.

Reading the book is like reading the life story of seven friends, but amazingly that is not what is boring, thanks to the great characterization and good writing. For all its detailed story and description, it contains some very cumbersome writing too. You can find out scenes, lines, paragraphs, descriptions and even whole pages which serve no greater purpose other than to make it bloated with unnecessary details. The story though good can be reduced to two thirds of what it is (a staggering 1100 pages). Too much description tends to mar down the flow of the story and it even takes about some 200 pages or so in the starting for you to get into the story. IT also suffers from occasional meandering from the plot which is barely noticeable  at times and distracting the flow at the rest. But having said that, the flow of the story is not that bad, even when the story swings from past to present continuously. The talent and skill of King still makes it a page turner, but what should have been a fast train is now a stone out of a severed sling shot.

For any horror story, the strength lies in the characterization of the villain and IT falls flat when King tends to explain what IT really is, as the story nears its climax. Suddenly the build up so far into the story feels absurd owing to the fact that for something that powerful and ancient, IT acts extremely stupid. Also, most of the scenes of IT are not horrifying at the least and the fact that King tends to revolt the reader not by masterful storytelling but often by forced vulgarity is detrimental too. 

Now getting to the point of the climax, the 100 or so pages describing the last battle with IT and of what IT really is, seems silly especially after having had such a great build-up. One wants a story of such a great potential and build up to end up with a shattering climax, but none comes. Rather, it ends with a whimper. And I could not fathom the reason for having that obscene and idiotic sex sequence in the story whatsoever. It just feels forced for the sake of its shock value.
King’s greatest talent is in writing believable characters and in playing with psychology. While the characterizations of the human villains, who haunt the lives of the lead characters, are fleshed out so well, the character of IT is rather hazy and silly. 

IT is a great example for why writers need editors. Sure, there is potential and talent and the skeleton of what could have been a truly horrifying story with a haunting villain, but that gets lost beneath the unnecessary details and the sheer length of this book. Had it been shorter and up to the point, it could have been the epic the fans claim it to be. The book rather reads like a vivid childhood drama with really good characters but for an ill defined villain who mostly fails to deliver the horror that the story promises.

Even with all its misgivings, IT is a wonderful read. If only you have the patience to wade through the slow parts, you can find some very good characters, memorable writing and a good story. But not as great as it could have turned out to be.

IT – Needs ed'it'ing. 

Rating: 3 / 5.

37 comments:

  1. Next post might be about The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. :)

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  2. மரணத்தை அறிந்தவன் அதை புன்னகையுடன் வரவேற்பான்

    இலுமி ரசிகர் மன்றம்.

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  3. சீனியர் நீர் சொன்னா சரியாத் தான் இருக்கும்.எவ்ளோ வருஷ experience. ;)

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  4. got a butt load of stephen king's book with me ... but i never studied it .., ur review makes me wanna study it !!
    thanks !!

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  5. After all this bashing? :)
    Just kidding. There are some old reviews of Stephen King books mate. Try to read it to get some idea on the books you might have. Read Misery, green mile or pet semetary. They are his best(of what I have read).

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  6. நண்பரே,

    ஒரு கதையின் நீளம் அதன் சுவையை பாதிக்கும், பாதிக்காது என்பது வாசகர்களின் ஆர்வத்தையும் எழுத்தாளனின் திறமையையும் பொறுத்தது. கிங்கின் இன்சோமேனியா போன்ற நாவல்களின் நீட்சிகளின் அனுபவம் எனக்கு அறியத்தந்தது ஒன்றுதான். கிங்கின் பருத்த நாவல்களில் சுவை ஒரு 400 பக்கத்தில் மட்டுமே காணக்கிடைக்கும். என்னவோ தெரியவில்லை அவர் எழுதிய சிறிய நாவல்களே என்னை அதிகம் கவர்ந்திருக்கின்றன. சிறப்பாக எழுதியிருக்கும் இப்பதிவில் நீங்கள் நாவலின் வலிமையையும், பலவீனத்தையும் எடுத்துக் காட்டியிருக்கிறீர்கள். முடிவில் படிக்ககூடியது என்றும் குறிப்பிட்டு இருக்கிறீர்கள். அதாவது தலையில் வைத்துக் கொண்டாட முடியாத ஆனால் படிக்க கூடிய புத்தகம் என்கிறீர்கள். தெளிவாக குழப்புவதில் நீங்கள் வெற்றி காண்கிறீர்கள்.

    இலுமி ரசிகர் மன்றம் :)

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  7. //அதாவது தலையில் வைத்துக் கொண்டாட முடியாத ஆனால் படிக்க கூடிய புத்தகம் என்கிறீர்கள். //

    ஹாஹா...
    அது உண்மை தான்.கிங் எழுதும் சிறிய புத்தங்கள் தான் அருமையாக இருக்கும் என்பது மிக உண்மை.

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  8. ஆரம்ப கால கிங் என்பதால் எழுத்தில் அந்த திறமை இருக்கவே செய்கிறது. ஆனால் தேவை இல்லாத நீளம்.

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  9. தலைவனின் போஸ்டுகள் வாம்பையரின் பற்களை விட கொடூரமானவை!

    இவண்

    இலுமி பேரவை

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  10. மச்சி ரெட்ட,
    கொஞ்சம் வெயிட் பண்ணு.இன்னைக்கு பட்டு போஸ்ட் போடுறேன்னு சொன்னான்.அப்புறம் சொல்லு இதை. ;)

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  11. பட்டாபட்டியின் போஸ்டுகளோ ஒவ்வொன்றும் புலிட்சர் விருது பெறத் தகுதியானவை.

    இப்படிக்கு

    இலுமி பேரவை (கீழ்பாக்கம் சிறப்புப் பிரிவு)

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  12. ILLUMINATI said...
    Next post might be about The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. :)
    **********************************************************************

    ஏழரை சனியை தொடர்ந்து ஜென்மச் சனி....

    படித்து ரசித்து இன்புறுவீர்....

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  13. //இலுமி பேரவை (கீழ்பாக்கம் சிறப்புப் பிரிவு) //

    ரெட்டைவால்'ஸ் பிரிவின் உட்பிரிவு. ;)

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  14. ஆனா இலுமி.....நீ அசர மாட்ட...

    மகா ஜனங்களே ஸ்பீல்பெர்க் காமிக்ஸ் படம் எடுக்கறானாம்!

    இலுமி காட்டில் இனி அடை மழை....நமக்கெல்லாம் இனி பொற்காலம் தான்!

    இலுமி போஸ்டுகளை ஆராய்ச்சி செய்து பட்டம் பெறுவோர் சங்கம்

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  15. Even with all its misgivings, IT is a wonderful read. If only you have the patience to wade through the slow parts, you can find some very good characters, some very memorable writing and a good story. But not a great one as it might have turned out. IT – Needs editing

    **********************************************************************
    "தெரியாத்தனமா வாங்கி படிச்சுட்டேன்....நீயும் வாங்கிப் படிச்சு நொந்துக்க..."

    -இலுமியின் உள்மனதை ஆராய்ந்து உண்மையை அறிவோர் சங்கம்

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  16. @ ரெட்ட:

    அது அப்டி இல்ல மாமே.தங்கத் தமிழர்களே எவனாவது படிங்கடா பாரக்கலாம். :)

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  17. ஏதோ புக் review பார்த்துட்டு உடனே இவனுக வாங்கி படிச்சிடுற மாதிரி. :P

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  18. //அதாவது தலையில் வைத்துக் கொண்டாட முடியாத ஆனால் படிக்க கூடிய புத்தகம் என்கிறீர்கள். //

    அருமை

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  19. //ஆரம்ப கால கிங் என்பதால் எழுத்தில் அந்த திறமை இருக்கவே செய்கிறது. ஆனால் தேவை இல்லாத நீளம்//

    சரியாகச் சொன்னீர்கள்

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  20. புல் மீல்ஸ் எனக்குத்தான்

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  21. இதே ஸ்டீவன் கிங் தானே துலாபாரம் என்ற தமிழ்ப்படத்துக்கு கௌரவ கன்சல்டண்டாக பணியாற்றிய நபர்? டவுட்டு

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  22. அது full. Bull அல்ல என்பதனையும் தெளிவுபடுத்த ஆசைப்படுகிறேன்

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  23. Hey - I am really delighted to discover this. Good job!

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  24. Hi - I am certainly happy to find this. cool job!

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  25. I like it very much!

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  26. ராசப்பன்August 1, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    பெரிய தொரை!!இன்குலீசுலதான் பதிவு போடுவாரு!!யோவ தமிழ்ல போடு!!இன்குலீசு புக்கெல்லாம் எவன படிப்பாம்?தூக்கம்தான் வரும்!!

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  27. @ ராசப்பன்: தொங்கிரு மச்சி. :)

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  28. this is a poor review for many reasons. first of all, you go on and on about the book's length, but you have to put those 1100 pages in context. Its not THAT long to begin with, and it's written in plain, modern english, so as a 1000+ book it is still easier and faster to read than a much shorter work written in a convoluted or hermetic style. You also say that fans call it an epic, but its really a fairly self-contained story. The Dark Tower is an epic, not It. The value of It as a longer King novel is that most of his books are more reasonable in length, and the handful that are longer stand as a more layered, and yes, more detailed offering of his writing style. Variety and complexity are nice sometimes. The sex scene in the sewer is also not obscene. it is about about this group of young adults who do in fact love each other, and they are faced with what seems to be almost certain doom, and merely want to experience lovemaking at least once in their lives. it is not an obscenity, it is a humanist comment, and that you fail to see that surely indicates that you understand little of this novel.

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  29. //The sex scene in the sewer is also not obscene. it is about about this group of young adults who do in fact love each other, and they are faced with what seems to be almost certain doom, and merely want to experience lovemaking at least once in their lives.//

    Yeah, Of course. A group of 11 year old children are LOST in a sewer for a couple of hours and all they think of to get out is having a gang bang. Makes perfect sense.
    And, not obscene? It would not have been obscene if it was implied instead of being described for about 6 pages.

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  30. I've read most of King's works, and am reading IT for the first time now. I read ahead to the infamous scene and don't see what the fuss is all about. Makes sense to me in the context of the rest of the book. Also, I think a lot of you forgot what puberty was like.

    Anyways, thought some of you might be interested in what Sai King said on the matter:

    http://www.stephenking.com/forums/showthread.php/18567-Steve-s-explanation-for-Losers-sex-scene

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  31. My man, your own writing could use some work. While I agree with most of your critique, I think it's pretty ballsey to call out cumbersome writing while it's clear YOUR editor was either drunk or, more than likely, nonexistent.

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    1. You are right on one thing. I am not a professional writer (if you haven't noticed yet, English is not my first language either) and I don't have an editor. But King is a professional writer and he doesn't seem to have one either. While you have all the right to complain that my writing is not so elegant after having read it, I have the same right to do so too.

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  32. it may be way too late for me to bother writing this, i dont know if youll even see it. but i wanted to add my two cents. first off, it takes a lot to write complete reviews and i do appreciate what you do. now to the meat and potato's though. i think you give far too little credit to the story and just harp on what you didnt like. the reason i and many other king fans love this book is the story itself. its got great horror, total chilling, scare you late at night type horror. when ben sees the mummy? or Ed sees the leper (just for examples.) it also is an amazing story of friendship and bonding. all of which you didnt bother to mention. i full on agree there were full segments that bored me and couldve been left out. but those parts were far outshadowed by the good of the book.Also anyone who has read a few of Kings books knows he does that and its part of his writing style for better or worse. hes allways going off on some subject or detail that for some of us doesnt make sense. anyhow, i just think theres so much good in this book that your review really wasnt a fair one of the book. and not cause you didnt love it. i just feel you didnt really cover it.
    typo's and all, andy

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    1. //The seven lead characters have indeed been painted vividly. It contains some great moments of storytelling too. Reading the book is like reading the life story of seven friends, but amazingly that is not what is boring, thanks to the great characterization and good writing.//

      I did give credit for the great characterization and the good writing. I have read a lot of Stephen King books and I rate Misery, Green Mile, Shawsank Redemption and Pet Sematary far above this. Especially, Pet Sematary. I know that King is not very good when it comes to climaxes (this one is a shining example), but Pet Sematary could not have had a better climax in my opinion. IT indeed has good writing and especially the segment about the shootout was King at his best.
      With that being said, I stand by my opinion that if this book had had proper editing, it could have been a great book. But sadly, that isn't what happened. IT is a good novel but not as good as it is being claimed to be.
      I have read that some of his stories are ruined by overt description (especially Stand which I have both versions of and will be reading hopefully sooner) and I agree. I know that King rambles a lot at times, which, I think, is all the more reason for editing.

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  33. I having the book 'The Lost Symbol'... I will read it...

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    1. It isn't as good a book as Angels and demons or Da vinci code. You can skip it.

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