Unpopular Opinion: Stephen King’s “It” is Overrated

I want to write more to improve, but unfortunately I do not have deep, philosophical epiphanies every week which I can discuss.  So I decided to write about things actually going on in my life.  Problem: nothing really happens in my life.  I wake up at 6am, go to school, go to swim team, finish homework, and then sleep.  Pretty mundane.  I do, however, read quite a bit, and I have noticed myself frequently discussing Stephen King’s book It.  Prepare your minds for a bit of a rant (Yes, there will be spoilers. Please avert your eyes if you plan on reading this book).

Over this past summer, I made quite a few trips to the local library.  On one of them, I observed the long shelf of Stephen King books and thought, “If I really want to consider myself a good reader/writer, I should read some of the leaders of the writing industry.”  So I started out with a little book of his, Joyland, a concise 200-300 page murder mystery.  Honestly, I was underwhelmed. It was…okay.  The one sex scene in the book made me incredibly uncomfortable since it is between a college student and a 40-something year old woman, whose son the student had a close friendship with.  Overall, I liked the setting; I really felt like I was a part of the tight community the main characters were in.  However, it is pretty apparent who the murderer is, and it felt as if there is no real theme to the book.

I figured that this is what I get for reading one of his less popular books.  Logically, I went for his mammoth of a novel It, the 1000+ page famous horror story.  The plot was definitely well-written, and the suspense was very well integrated through the story.  Unfortunately, King deemed it necessary to include sexual encounters in this book  which is mostly about 11 year olds.  I fell in love with these characters, but I hated what King did to them.  For example, I did not need to know that Ben has a sexual awakening when he sees Beverley’s ankle bracelet.  This particular instance was more of a minor nuisance that I thought I could ignore, but it only got worse.

Later in the book, when the characters are in their late 30s, the only main female character, Beverley (Of course she is a tall hot redhead with big boobs! How else can we depict a main female character? Especially when the 6 male characters are all balding and pudgy by this part of the book) and the leader of the gang Bill, have an affair.  Beverley is in an abusive relationship, which earlier is described in great detail from the viewpoint of the abuser (this was more disturbing to me than the actual horror part of the book), so her actions are more condonable.  Bill, however, is in a healthy, amazing marriage with an actress, who, by the way, looks like a less-hot Beverley.  While King romanticizes this act of cheating, Beverley remembers something from their childhood as she orgasms…

Turns out, after all the 11-year-old children defeat a monster, the best thing they can think of to do is have an orgy.  They are in the sewers, covered in crap (literally), and want to have sex.  Beverley actually suggests it and, despite the protests, pretty much forces all the boys to hook up with her, one after another, down in the sewers.  Only a few of them actually seem willing.  Okay, what?! King explains this by claiming that it was not a sexual act, but it was only a way to connect childhood and adulthood.  I am sorry, but in my mind that still does not excuse child pornography. I don’t think I even knew I had a vagina until I was almost 12! These children know nothing about sex! In the book, when Beverley suggests the act she never even says the word “sex” because I don’t think she even knows what it is.  She just takes off her pants and tells the first boy to put his “thing” in her.

I sat there after reading this feeling incredibly uncomfortable and violated.  Scenes like this and other abusive/sexual assault scenarios in the book (there are many more) make me wonder what kind of things King thinks about and what his wife has to put up with.  I am shocked to know that this is such a popular and critically acclaimed novel.

Through all this I did learn a few things.  One, I do not like Stephen King novels.  Two, I can read suspense and horror much more easily than I can read scenes involving gross and/or abusive sexuality.  Three, I think someday I could possibly write better than him in It. Actually, Stephen King himself said that an essential moment as a writer is when you realize you can write better than a published author.  Now I’m not saying I’m going to write a 1000+ page novel, but I believe that if I did end up writing one, I could successfully get my message across without using such disgusting tactics.

If I am being sincere, I am a bit scared about the feedback I will get for this.  Stephen King is an incredibly popular author while I am a blogger with maybe 50 readers.  But what is a writer without honesty? Not someone I want to be.

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