I seldom wear my headphones in the weight room at our local gym. When I do it usually means I am in the middle of one of my “can’t book down” audiobooks. Recently, as I was working out with the ear buds in I was interrupted by another gym patron who knows that I listen to audiobooks, with the question, “Which book is it this time?”
When I told her I was listening to Stephen King’s It she wrinkled her nose in disgust and told me that she doesn’t listen to that “horror trash.”
My first response was to think she was just being a snob. But on second thought I realized that I had had the same reaction not that many years ago.
I started reading Stephen King when I was a teenager. At the time, I found most of my books through our local bookmobile and the selection was small. But I enjoyed his books. I liked having the bejeebers scared out of me and I could get completely lost in these books, at least for a couple of days.
But at some point in college I became a book snob, reading only the classics and snubbing any new fiction, but especially horror books and prolific authors like Stephen King.
To tell the truth even as a teenager, I snubbed many of King’s books. I remember watching the first night of the It mini-series and thinking how silly it was that the bad guy was a clown, so I never went back.
But then, about three years ago, as I was devouring every book on writing I could get my hands on, I came across Stephen King On Writing and I loved it. His love of the craft hooked me and convinced me to go back to read books I had not read before, starting with the uncut version of The Stand. But still I avoided It.
Then just before Christmas I went to purchase 11/23/63 on Audible and found a review that suggested I first read It so that I could better understand this new novel. I took the suggestion and used one of my credits to download It to my iPod.
First I should say, I have listened to several books that Stephen Weber has narrated and without exception I have loved them all. He does a fantastic job with the voices but he also has a way of putting me on the edge of my seat in the most exciting parts of the book.
As far as the book goes, yes, it can be called a horror book. People are killed. There are monsters. It had me looking into every gutter and under every bridge on each of my runs while I was listening. But it is far more than a horror book. It is a book about friendship and love.
King is great at creating characters but what he is best at is creating relationships. The group of children in this book bond in a way that sucks you in. Whether the story is good or not, you would want to know more about these kids. You would want to sit and listen to their conversations and laugh with them and cry with them.
It is the friendship and love part of this book that stands out for me. Yes, I am still afraid of that stinking clown and I hate bullies even more now than I did before I read the book but it is the conversations between the children that stick with me. It is the unadulterated love that grows between these misfits that made me love the book. (Think Stand By Me with monsters).
I concede that It will never be considered a classic, but it isn’t horror trash. It is well written, well storied and in this case well read. Definitely worth spending a credit or a trip to the local library on.