IT

King's newest is a gargantuan summer sausage, at 1144 pages his largest yet, and is made of the same spiceless grindings as ever: banal characters spewing sawdust dialogue as they blunder about his dark butcher shop. The horror this time out is from beyond the universe, a kind of impossible-to-define malevolence that has holed up in the sewers under the New England town of Derry. The It sustains itself by feeding on fear-charged human meat—mainly children. To achieve the maximum saturation of adrenalin in its victims, It presents itself sometimes as an adorable, balloon-bearing clown which then turns into the most horrible personal vision that the victims can fear. The novel's most lovingly drawn settings are the endless, lightless, muck-filled sewage tunnels into which it draws its victims. Can an entire city—like Derry—be haunted? King asks. Say, by some supergigantic, extragalactic, pregnant spider that now lives in the sewers under the waterworks and sends its evil mind up through the bathtub drain, or any drain, for its victims? In 1741, everyone in Derry township just disappeared—no bones, no bodies—and every 27 years since then something catastrophic has happened in Derry. In 1930, 170 children disappeared. The Horror behind the horrors, though, was first discovered some 27 years ago (in 1958, when Derry was in the grip of a murder spree) by a band of seven fear-ridden children known as the Losers, who entered the drains in search of It. And It they found, behind a tiny door like the one into Alice's garden. But what they found was so horrible that they soon began forgetting it. Now, in 1985, these children are a horror novelist, an accountant, a disc jockey, an architect, a dress designer, the owner of a Manhattan limousine service, and the unofficial Derry town historian. During their reunion, the Losers again face the cyclical rebirth of the town's haunting, which again launches them into the drains. This time they meet It's many projections (as an enormous, tentacled, throbbing eyeball, as a kind of pterodactyl, etc.) before going through the small door one last time to meet. . .Mama Spider! The King of the Pulps smiles and shuffles as he punches out his vulgarian allegory, but he too often sounds bored, as if whipping himself on with his favorite Kirin beer for zip.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1986

ISBN: 0451169514

Page Count: 1110

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1986

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more