I was in seventh grade the first time my mom took me to the used bookstore that opened up in our small, farming town. It was owned and operated by one of the librarians in our city, who also happened to be a family friend. I struggle to remember the storefront now, but I’ll never forget the name of the store, because I thought it was freaking brilliant. The store was called Shabby Pages, and it was at Shabby Pages where 13-year-old me stumbled into the world of Stephen King.
I had to beg my mother for the entire time we were in there, but I walked out of that store with a used copy of Everything’s Eventual, a story collection King published in 2002. I devoured the book the following week while I was camping on vacation, and an implacable love for the works of the most renowned author of the last 50 years was born. Later in that same week, I purchased 13 more of his books at a flea market.
Among these 13 new treasures was a 1,000 page behemoth with a one-word title. IT. The book’s cover featured a bare skull with blue stars in the eye hollows, an instantly recognizable red clown nose, and red lines coming from the side of the skull that reminded me of an American flag on a breezy day. All of this was on a black background with King’s name plastered across the top along with the phrase “#1 Bestseller” which is synonymous with his work.
Here’s my actual copy of IT– old, wet book smell and all. I can’t bring myself to part with it because it holds so much sentimental value.
I had tons of books to choose from, but I picked IT because I remembered my older cousins telling me a story when I was younger about a movie where a clown kills people and only kids can see it happening. After a quick Google search, I was able to confirm that I had the exact same story in print form. I quickly found a quiet spot alone and began reading.
“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years–if it ever did end–began, so far as I know and can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.” – IT, Page 1
I didn’t know it then, but I was about to stumble upon my favorite book of all time. Continue reading