Back when I first read IT, I could've sent a thank-you to the Author. Times have changed, and it's understandable why I can't. The note needed to be written, though, and it's copied below for all to see. Have any of you had an experience like this with a King novel? Please share if you have.
The only place I lived in as a kid that had wallpaper was a doublewide. The nasty pattern had few breaks, but thank God one of them was a stuffed built-in bookcase next to the sliding-glass doors to nowhere. My dad was reading what he later called Crap, mainly Koontz, Cussler and two worn cardboard boxes’ worth of 70’s Playboy conveniently stored in my bedroom closet next to my dead mother’s china.
At eleven I was living in my books, but the worlds created by works like Are You There God?, It’s Me, Margaret left me deeply dissatisfied. (That one was discarded based solely on the title - by then I’d already decided God wasn‘t.) One day I walked up to the shelf of Crap and surveyed my options, options that included a tall hardback stuffed into a row of soft-covers. My uncorrected distance vision was **** at the time, but I could see the blue-gray spine had two big red foil letters stamped at the top: IT. I pulled it down and stared, marveling at how big the damn thing was for something that wasn‘t an encyclopedia.
It took me the good part of a summer to rip through that book. Parts of the storyline raised a few very interesting questions for a girl my age, but I was hooked.
I stewed with the characters long after the book was read. After a while my rational mind suggested I should be afraid of clowns, courtesy of nightly encounters with Pennywise. I actually tried to be spooked when I next ran into one (this was a popular affliction at the time, although that was well before Spawn hit HBO - but now that I think about it, maybe IT was on the screen by then) but I couldn’t swallow my own bull****. Stupidity vaporized and left behind my real takeaway from IT: the idea that a good story has LEGS - it can move, and if you’re willing to ride your bike to the top of the hill, push off and drop your hands, you can follow it anywhere.
After IT I was off to the races, reading as much Crap as I could get my hands on. I braved Koontz, and his Laura Shane became my hero. She still is. On to Cussler, thin mysteries about people being locked in decaying buildings and they don‘t know it, grandma’s semi-dirty romance novels, A Wrinkle in Time, Leland Guant’s hands. IT and its companions carried me into adulthood in one piece, leaving me with a righteous imagination to boot.