I saw one reviewer describe It as a story of the ties that bind, and I think that’s a pretty much perfect description. In a nutshell, It’s about a group of friends, the self-named ‘loser’s club’, who face an unspeakable horror when they’re young. When It returns 27 years later, they each leave their new lives behind to come back and defeat it together.
Stephen King’s imagination is like no other, and his depiction of an unspeakable terror which will take on a different form dependent on the viewers’ own fears allows that imagination to run riot. It preys on children because they’re weak, but also vulnerable and susceptible to the powers of the imagination in a way that adults just aren’t. The children in this story believe easily and bond quickly, and the bond they forge at that age is almost unbreakable. That’s why, when decades later they receive the call, the bunch regroup without question.
This book has to be one of the greatest horror novels, but to just pigeonhole it as horror would be doing it an injustice. It is a true horror classic, because it transcends the genre – It might be creepy as hell, but this book also has love and friendship at its heart. For me personally, I found myself less interested in the horror scenes than those that explored the friendship between the group of seven, their childish dreams and adult realities and the history of the small town they grew up in. For me, this was a story of childhood and of friendship; a coming-of-age tale which captures both the strength and fragility of childhood, and explores the depths of the imagination.
I have to admit, near the end the story almost got a little too strange for me to stomach (yes, that scene), and there’s perhaps some slightly unnecessary scenes which could have been cut to make the book a little more accessible. But the character and narrative development that King builds gets under your skin. This book has stood the test of time for a reason, because, whether It dies or not at the end, the sentiments behind the story never do.