I wanted to discuss Stephen King at some point. I went through a Stephen King phase starting in Junior High, and I eventually read all of his novels (though I haven’t read any since 2000). It is one of his best, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a review, though the pronoun name is a pain.
It occurs in two time periods, as a group of seven people in the small town of Derry, Maine, must twice combat a shapeshifting supernatural creature. Every generation, the monster emerged to eat the town’s children. In the late 1950s, it appears as a clown to lure children in before devouring them. A group of adolescents who play in the Barrens outside of town begin to investigate the disappearances and form a strong bond, calling themselves the Losers Club. In the mid-80s, the creature returns and the Losers must reunite to fight it. Basically, the novel is Stand by Me (based on a Stephen King novella called “The Body”) but with the epilogue expanded to a story of its own (oh yeah, and also with an evil spider/clown monster).
It’s about 1200 pages, but it moves at a fast pace. It digresses a lot from the main plot (it’s more digression than plot really), but the point here is really to enrich the characters to create seven very believable children and follow them into their (somewhat damaged) adulthoods. The children, and King’s depiction of the mysteries and tragedies of adolescence as a whole, really are the greatest strength of it.
I haven’t read it for a decade, but it holds up very strongly in my memory. I didn’t have much trouble remembering it for this review, and I think that’s a testimony to the its simplicity and power.