14 October 2012

For my intro post, click here, and for my midway post, click here. To read all participants' thoughts of the Italong, click here.

It's all finished. Done. Over. And I'm bummed out.

I'm sad, for many reasons, but mostly because I had the most fun tweeting away, commiserating, complaining, laughing, and more with the other participants. Thank you to our fabulous hosts, Jill and Christina, for leading the charge, giving out prizes and holding clown-nose picture-fests...you both were fantastic and I can't wait to join another weird read- or listen-along with you again!

I felt like I gave birth during this process. I listened to the audiobook and lemme tell ya, it's forty-four hours LONG. That's right, 44. I am extremely proud of myself, though. If you recall, I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to listen to a long audio at some point, but tended to shy away from it because of fearful time commitments. But when Audible held a sale for $4.95 for It, holy goodness, how could I pass that up? I couldn't. And folks, Steven Weber as the narrator was UNBELIEVABLE. He made this book, in my eyes, even better. His performance was standing-ovation-worthy, and yes, I would be there throwing roses onto the stage cheering his name hoarsely. He was THE BEST audiobook narrator I have ever listened to, and I am so thankful I chose to experience the entire story in this way. It's due to the super-duo team of King and Weber that I ran 6.2 miles for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago because I couldn't, or I didn't want to, stop the audio.

My Happy Thoughts (Spoiler free, read away, my friends)
  • It's not about the clown. I mean, it is. But it's really not. It's more about the fear that we have when we were children. When the bump in the night really could be much more than what the parents explain it away to be.
  • Did I forget to mention you should LISTEN and not read this one? I am not kidding when I tell you that Steven Weber was a master of this tale, equal in delivery to the creation of it from King's mind. Weber acted the moments out, the dialogue becoming much more intense, hilarious, or downright heart-wrenching. That scene with the refrigerator and Bill screaming "Help me!" to everyone, and then everyone hugging him? I bawled. Thank you, Mr. Weber, you delivered that magnificently. (Not to mention that Richie and Bill were much more delightful in audio. I can't imagine reading their dialogue. It just became so much more vivid, more genuine, in Mr. Weber's control.)
  • The Losers' Club from It or the Free Zone from The Stand? All day long, I'd choose to be a part of this group of seven children in The Losers' Club as they lead the charge to rid Derry, Maine of that...thing. I'd rather hang out with them than with anyone from the Free Zone. While I loved the story of The Stand, I hated most of the characters, with the exception of a few (Nick, Stu, and Tom Cullen, laws yes).
  • My Favorite Character from It. Richie. Wait, wait. Trust me on this. In audio, Steven Weber makes him absolutely hilarious and those much-needed moments of humor breaking the tension? Richie was wonderfully welcome in those moments. I loved him. He (Richie and Weber) made me laugh out loud on several occasions.
  • Don't be a hoity-toity snob. Stephen King once again proves he is a master at spinning a tale to keep you up at night. And I don't mean because it's scary, I mean because his writing is masterful, epic, literary... That's right, folks. This man can tell a story like no one else. Sure, it may not be "high-brow" literature, but I can assure you that any lover of a classic should experience one of King's novels at some point in their reading lives. I believe there is a likelier chance that they will close the book and feel stunned that they just read King, and that they...loved it.
  • The Black Spot and The Shining. For those who are planning to participate in the readalong/listenalong to The Shining in preparation for next year's release of the sequel, Dr. Sleep, don't forget about a small character from It, a Mr. Dick Halloran, who has a pivotal part of The Black Spot segments. Dick Halloran is the cook from the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, and he is awesome. It's another example of King weaving characters from old novels into new ones and making you feel like you're part of some inside story, or joke, or moment.
  • Speaking of The Shining. I'm sure the printed version is incredible, but I can absolutely attest to the mastery delivered by Campbell Scott in the audiobook version. It will not disappoint. Also, it's much shorter than The Stand or It.
  • I liked this better than The Stand. I think a lot of that is because I hated Frannie from The Stand. I mean, HATED her. She was so annoying. It really didn't have any annoying characters, and if there were, I didn't notice it because Steven Weber made them interesting in some way through his audio narration.
My Unhappy Thoughts (with spoilers)
  • Derry, Maine History...yawn. Yeah, I am of the same feeling with most of the #Italong participants that this part was just slightly one step above boring. I love when King meanders in his storytelling, but this part was just...not engaging. I also couldn't figure out what Mike's role in everything was when he was first introduced as an adult.
  • The angriest moment I've ever had with King. The thing at the end in the sewers that Bev does to "bring everyone together?" That was terrible. I hated it. It is the only event in any of King's writing that made me upset, made me angry. I was extremely disappointed and thought it was a miserable attempt at showing the bond between the group, and it was ridiculously upsetting. I am already working on trying to forget that part of the story. I never want to remember that ever again. EVER.
  • Who cares about the Turtle? Seriously, that was a let-down. I so wanted it to be representative of wisdom, and to some extent it was, but I felt a little of the air let out of the sails on that one.
Final Thoughts
It becomes yet another example of Stephen King's ability to master the epic tale, to deliver suspense, and edge-of-your-seat thrilling scenes, combined with the softer and emotional side of childhood. It becomes so much more than a story about a scary clown in a sewer and instead becomes a journey of seven children from the late 1950s to the mid 1980s as they grow into adults who have a job left unfinished. And please, please, take a chance and download the audiobook. You will not be disappointed.

This is another selection for Carl's RIP event. To read other RIP participants' reviews, click here. Additionally, it satisfies the project I co-host at The Stephen King Project.


  1. Okay, you've convinced me to give this a try - even though I know it will probably give me nightmares! Derry, Maine showed up in 11/22/63, and that town was wicked scary in that book.

  2. I tend to be a book snob (not a horrible one), and I had in my mind what a Stephen King book would be like. I'm glad I gave him a shot. I totally agree with you. Everyone should at least give him a try. He tells a story like the best of them. His characters are so memorable and well-drawn (even if unlikable).

    The Bev scene with the boys really upset me too. I wish I could unread that.

    Funny that you loved Richie. It must be the audio because I read it and Richie bugged the crap out of me with his voices. Not just the voices, but came across as kind of mean in my interpretation.

  3. This was so much fun! And yes, I'm gonna do The Shining on audio. 11/22/63 was freakin' amazing on audio, even though it was a different narrator. I'm also considering Under the Dome...I'm afraid I've gotten a bit hooked on King.

    So glad you joined us for this one!

  4. I read this years and years and years ago, and I remember going into a mourning period when I finished. Such a journey! Such intrigue! Such storytelling! But this is what King does so well. I would agree that the orgy thing was awful, and the history was boring, but King always does have a period of yammering, and I guess it is something you get used to. I remember in Rose Madder, a hundred page DREAM SEQUENCE!!! Good Lord! Anyway, King is a major audio junkie, and I believe he has something to say about who is chosen to do his audios. So I trust that none of them will suck. Under the Dome did not suck. And neither did 11/22/63. In fact, they were some of the best audios I've heard. I'm totally in for The Shining.

  5. Fabulous review! I loved the audio and am so glad I went that route and I am committing to the Shining entirely based on Campbell Scott narrating. OH YEA.

  6. I am definitely the odd man out, because I enjoyed the Derry history segments. If you think of Mike as filling the archetypal role of Storyteller, it makes perfect sense.

    I've never been a fan of audiobooks, because so much of my enjoyment of reading comes from the actual physical act of reading: holding the book, turning the pages, closing the covers with a satisfying thunk at the end. That said, I listened to The Colorado Kid while on a road trip last year, and it was excellent. Given that my new job (which will involve commute time on a train) starts very soon, I may become a convert. Either that, or I'll buy a Kindle.

  7. This post makes me really sorry I missed out on the It-a-long! I think I will do The Shining on audio. I didn't know there was a sequel coming out! But you've kind of talked me into listening to It on audio, too, even though it's so long! Lisey's Story and Duma Key were both excellent on audio. Also, Cell.

  8. Congrats on finishing this one. I bombed out about half way - wasn't in the IT-mood.

  9. I kind of bombed on this readalong. I read the first few chapters, and wasn't in the groove. Clowns scare the stuffing out of me, and I haven't been in a horror novel kind of mood these past few weeks. I do have the book though, and will be reading it at some point. Congratulations for getting all the way through on audio! That is quite an accomplishment!

  10. I was a wuss on It...but I'm all the way in on The Shining. It will be my 2nd read so audio, let's do it! :)

  11. After reading two King books this year I'm really annoyed at the hoity-toity-ness regarding his writing. I think it's fantastic. LONG WINDED YES but otherwise I love it.

    And so glad you liked Richie because everyone else seems to dislike him! Yes, he was a little over the top but he totally worked for me. Stan I totally could have done without.

    And The audio. YES YES YES!!!

    Can't wait for the Shine-On next year. It's been so much fun doing these readalongs with y'all.

  12. If I ever finish this book, it will have to be on audio. It's been a long long time since I've read a super-long King book, and it's just too much for my brain right now. lol

  13. So glad you posted this review! I've had IT on my bookshelf for several years now. When Audible had that sale, I purchased IT. I've been listening to this book for the past two weeks, and am almost halfway through. The reader does a really great job, and I'm looking forward to finishing IT within the next few weeks! Thanks again for the review! :)

  14. I really liked this one too. I'm trying to convince my husband to listen to this one on audio since everyone is raving about it, but the 44 hours is giving him pause. I listened to The Shining a few years ago and enjoyed it. Seems like King gets the best people to narrate his books!

  15. I hated the Bev thing too. I didn't mind it so much when I read it in my 20's but as a mom to a young girl, I shivered this time around. I literally talked to my iPod and said.. No. Don't go there.