Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Great Reread Project Mark III - The Letter K

I actually find it rather impressive ghat I've made it to my 3rd reread and this is the first time I've read a Stephen King novel for the letter K.

This is going to be a rather contradictory review. On the one hand It is not an easy book to read: there's the length (at over 1130 pages it is the second longest novel King has written, it may have actually been the longest before he added additional pages to The Stand), it has some truly horrifying scenes (I found the solipsistic psychopath Patrick Hockstedter more frightening than the titular monster, because people like him really do exist in our world), there's a rather problematic scene at the end involving prepubescent sex, and it doesn't have the strongest of ends, that ending is also one of King's bleakest as well.

However on the other hand it was an easy book to read for me. Despite the length I read it in just under 2 weeks. King's no prose artist, but what he does is write remarkably readable stories that make the reader continue to turn the pages until they get to the final one, look at the clock and it's 3 in the morning (that didn't actually happen with It this time, although it was a near run thing when I read The Stand for the first time last year). Then there was the story of the town of Derry and It's regular murderous rampages, some people don't appreciate interludes like this, they find them annoying and unnecessary. I love them. I find that they give the setting more depth and a sense of reality. The characters themselves and their stories, especially when they're kids, are genuinely interesting and multilayered.

There's a sense of nostalgia about It. Again this is something that really comes home in the scenes set in 1958. I was a little disappointed when the story took the reader out of the '50's and back into the '80's with the adult versions of the Losers Club.

I could clearly remember bits of the story (for all that I last read it about 20 years ago), however other parts of it, even certain key characters, escaped my mind completely, and I enjoyed remeeting those people and situations.

The book does still have problems. It is too long and there are some unnecessary scenes. I think King must have been on one of his infamous benders when he dreamt up the Turtle. It's one of the failings of his refusal to use an outline when he writes that he sometimes has concepts and scenes that simply don't go anywhere. The Turtle is a bit like that, it's an idea the promises a lot and delivers very little.

Overall though, the experience was one of my favourite rereads this time around, that means L has a lot to live up to.