IT – Book Review

ITA thriller novel by Stephen King, rated 4.5/5 in Amazon.

Synopsis

On one stormy day in Derry, a boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes goes out of his house to sail his newly made paper boat in the rain. Not long after, he lost his beloved boat to the pouring rain. While searching for his boat, an eerie voice inside a storm drain calls his name. He peeks into the storm drain and he sees a clown with silver eyes holding his boat. It invites him to come to the sewer to get his boat. The next thing happens is the kid discovered lifeless by the storm drain with one of his arm ripped off.

Georgie is not the only victim. Kids are mysteriously disappearing in Derry. There are children who witness a ghostly clown claiming those kids’ lives, but no adult believes in ghosts.

But Bill, Georgie’s big brother, believes in It. He knows that It kills his brother and other kids in Derry. It senses kids’ fears, and devours scared children. Only fearless Bill and his loser friends are willing to challenge It. They believe in It, they chase It and they fight It.

Comments:

SPOILER ALERT!

Huge fan of the story.

First, I think the idea of Pennywise (the clown) taking different shapes depending on kids’ fears and phobias is genius. It shows that the war they’re fighting is in fact an imagination war. This makes perfect sense because we are talking about kids here. Kids are innocent and imagining is what they master at. All confrontations happen in reality as Pennywise actually kills the kids yet all of them happen in thoughts keeping the adults out of the picture. (Because of course adults are not capable of imagination) Children’s naive boldness makes the battle they’re exclusively fighting without adults intensely dangerous.

Suspense-wise, I think killing kids is never NOT scary. Kids and blood are just two perfect elements of great suspense. OMG, I can’t believe I said that. And as if slaughtering children is not scary enough, the bullies in the story do some real gory stuff like they are not only 11 year olds. Henry actually carves a letter using a knife on Ben’s belly. And he initially plans to carve not just A letter but letterS! I even needed to pause at the moment Henry poisons Mike’s dog.

About the ending, I can’t say I am stunned by the idea of a transcendent gigantic spider villain, perchance because I am not a fan of spiders. But, considering how unreasonable my partial judgment is, the ending is otherwise impeccable. At the beginning of the story Pennywise appears as a clown, but going towards the end of the story, it is gradually revealed that Pennywise is in fact not a human being. Pennywise’s real form turning out to be a divine entity is the perfect culmination of the supernatural events that have been happening like when Bev’s crazy dad not seeing all the blood splattered in their bathroom or when the kids’ scars coming back after Mike’s call.

Fan of the characters.

Stuttering Bill is truly one exceptional character. For starter, he stutters and you supposedly can’t be a cool kid that way yet he is the coolest one to his gang. And also King portrays him as a precociously mature kid. You can see he is indeed a grown up when he decides not to show his fear because he’s afraid it will shake his already scared friends. (Referring to when they get lost on their way home from It’s nest) He is the same age with the others yet he is distinctly and specially different. He leads his friends and he decides on matters, he is essentially the losers’ foundation.

Other than Bill’s rare personality, the team’s chemistry is also worth pointing out. The admirable trust among them is specifically shown in every situation they get themselves in. I especially adore how they constantly amuse and consistently love one another. My most memorable love moment is when Bev and Ben hiding from the three idiotic bullies in the clubhouse. There, I can feel Bev loves Ben deeply, acknowledging yet ignoring Ben’s love for her. I find the love between them is quite indescribable yet fascinating. Though, I do feel strange that King picks sex as a way to picture the supposedly unbreakable bond among them. I hope I read it wrong, but in case I got the right idea, near the end of the book Bev has sex with literally everyone in the team. And isn’t that quite extreme for 11-year-olds? But again, I am probably a prude.

There is this one small hitch though. Several characters felt a little bit unnecessary to me. I am specifically talking about Audra and Tom, and probably Patrick Hockstetter. Audra and Tom appear like in one chapter, do almost nothing and straight away get killed. And Patrick’s lunacy can perhaps be bestowed to one of the other three idiots. I just can’t imagine the story being different without them.

Not a fan of the length.

The book contains 1600ish pages on Scribd, the longest novel I’ve ever read to this day. Not that it’s a bad thing, but the thing is I don’t feel like it’s needed.

Maybe you’d tell me that I should not be the one talking considering this lengthy review. But well, this is my turn to judge, so I am going to judge AWAAYY ..

King spent some first chapters to narrate a couple of murder cases, such as Adrian Mellon’s case and Black Club case. I was a bit disappointed that many pages are written about people who are not going to show for the second time for the rest of the story. And all of those pages only to make a point that a massacre happens every 27 years in Derry. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely get it that you need some pages to build a strong base to the story, but I am just saying maybe fewer pages will make do.

Generally I love this book. King is a remarkable thriller writer. Both the story and the characters are meticulously detailed written and King patiently builds the suspense ensuring readers engagement. If the novel didn’t scare me enough, I would totally blame my age. Other than that, I will definitely read King’s other pieces and I obviously will recommend IT to others.

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Muhammad: The Prophet for Our Time

Muhammad_ Prophet for Our Time cover

A book by Karen Armstrong

 

In 2018, many people perceive Islam as a fearsome and provoking religion, which its believers are alleged of incorporating terror and atrocity into their creed. With this kind of worrisome yet prevailing accusation it’s only natural that Muhammad as the chief figure of Islam to be perceived as a man of war. Although Muhammad’s life story tells a different tale.

 

Muhammad: The Prophet for Our Time is a remarkable book. For what its worth, this book immediately made to my lifetime must read list (without question!).

 

Writing my opinion about this book I realize that it’s only right for me to confer both my personal conviction and creed of my environs first. I reside in Indonesia, a country which Islam is a major religion (above 90% of citizens are Muslims). Yet I was raised as a Christian (10% of citizens). These two facts have essentially shaped my faith by inducing myself to contemplate the one right belief to follow. And as of today, I am by all means agnostic.

 

Karen Amstrong wrote her book addressing Western world which is deeply affected by thus skeptic of Islam. Indonesia is not a Western country yet the context Karen brought in fits perfectly in this nation. Our politicians exploit religion based chasm among citizens to manipulate poll results all the time. As I write this article, people are ubiquitously insulting each other by offensively defending each religion on and offline.

 

Recently, a governor won his position by convincing otherwise neutral Muslims that it’s a reprehensible sin for a Muslim to vote for a Christian. This record belies the fact that one’s religion is totally irrelevant with his integrity. This event naturally spread insecurity among Christians in the nation hence the hatred in the air. This hostile situation is evidently tough to straighten out.

 

If you have ever read any of Karen Amstrong’s books, you would have known that Karen constantly asserts that Muhammad himself is not a man of war. Muhammad is in fact (she argues), a man of peace. I imagine that if people tried to understand Muhammad as hard as Karen did, we would have been able to avoid this debacle. It’s greatly ironic to think that Muhammad had strived for peace which many people who profess to be his believers had made it hard to achieve.

 

I suppose this book would be perfect for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Reading this book would help to emphatize with the Prophet, to rectify erroneous allegation, and eventually to establish harmony. Harmony which until today, has been nothing but utopic.

-Sky-

 

The Kite Runner Review

 

 

The Kite Runner coverA historical drama novel by Khaled Hosseini.

 

The Kite Runner tells a heart throbbing story of unusual friendship of Amir and his servant Hassan. They were two teenagers from Kabul, Afghanistan who grew up, and spent all their childhood and adolescence together. Yet there were so many differences between them. Amir was a rich scholar while Hassan was an uneducated poor boy. Amir was a soft kid while Hassan was always the courageous one. And most importantly, Amir was a Pashtun while Hassan was a Hazara. Hazara was a peripheral ethnic minority in Afghanistan which later would be genocidal massacred by Taliban. Amir delighted Hassan’s company yet it was painfully shameful for a Pashtun like him to admit that the Hazara was like a brother to him. On one fateful day, Amir consciously left his brother to be persecuted by another Pashtun, an unjustifiable decision which soon would change their relationship forever.

Later on, when Russia invaded Afghanistan and plundered its freedom and peace, fate decided the two boys to be separated. Amir moved to the great United States while Hassan stayed behind. Notwithstanding the detachment from his sinful and gratuitous past, Amir could never find closure of what he did in Afghanistan.

 

Besides the great story the novel narrates, it also recounts historical moments that took place in Afghanistan. It describes the peaceful Afghanistan before all the invasions and the uninhabitable dilapidated Afghanistan after all the bombings. I very much believe it includes the actual depiction of Afghans current dreary condition. The Kite Runner will not just put you in a roller coaster of feelings but it will also arouse deep condolences towards the wretched Afghans. As a matter of fact, the novel is a product of an appalling trip to Afghanistan which eventually turned the author an activist himself. Khaled established a foundation which aims to help building schools and hospitals for people in Afghanistan.

 

Commentary:

 

Story-wise, I was completely engrossed in the plot. Khaled has this exquisitely captivating writing style, it almost convinced me that his tale is intertwined with poems. As to the main character, Amir, Khaled precisely made him a human. Amir is not a wicked person indeed, but he is a human who makes foul and revolting decisions now and then. To me personally, a human chief character gives the story a realistic notion which I prefer to one dimensional narrative where a good character equals to a no flaw personality. Khaled has managed to convey a fictitious story as if it’s a true one.

 

Totally unrelated, I am an Indonesian. And I am astounded by how much I can relate to Afghans’ customs. I recognize several Farsi words albeit I barely know anything about Farsi language. We also practice some of their traditions here in Indonesia. Even we also make similar jokes to theirs. Thus I think The Kite Runner would perhaps offer more fulfilment to Indonesians.

 

– Sky –