Stephen King's 'IT' holds a special place in my heart.
I can positively say that this novel was my undeniable gateway into personal reading. King was the catalyst, and this novel was the chemical reaction that detonated the desire to get my hands on books other than what I was having to read at school for classes.
When I was thirteen, IT was the first book I ever bought for myself with my own money. I took my allowance to a local church sale and found a dogeared copy in a pile of used paperbacks. Something about it called to me. Much to my surprise, my mother let me buy it. Looking back, I can see the book’s magnetism was an invitation to start down the path I’m on now as an author of thrillers. The novel was so adult, so scary, so beyond what I was used to reading. I’m a slow reader, and was even slower at that age. IT took me over six months to read, and all the while I felt like I was slipping into a long relationship with the characters and story. When it finally ended, I felt empty inside and was upset to see it all go. I quickly began filling the hollow with more books.
That was a long time ago, but I'll never forget this particular reading experience. I'm a lot older now and not a personal fan of King's style anymore. He has a large problem with overwriting and his prose is too tedious at times. I've never considered him a master "writer" per se, but there is little doubt that he is a true master storyteller. His work has the ability to genuinely scare you, and his ideas were often groundbreaking. His knack for getting inside the heads of kid characters is commendable, as is his gift for being able to tie your guts in knots and snake dread down your spine.
IT is an epic of a book, and one that will keep you turning its many, many pages. Of all King's big novels, this is the one I recommend the most. Pennywise The Clown is a high-ranking nightmare in the horror hall-of-fame, and for good reason. He's one of the most chilling supernatural monsters ever dreamed up. And we have Mr. King to thank for that.
This was one of the '10 Books That Stuck With Me' piece I wrote. Check out which others made the list.