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In Chapter 2: After the Festival (1984), the main thing that gets established is the homophobia of Derry and not much else. I mean, Pennywise makes an appearance, but it isn’t really about him.

The Murder of a Queer: Harold Gardener, Adrian Mellon, Don Hagarty, Steve Dubay, John “Webby” Garton, Christopher Unwin

Officer Gardener, 27 years ago, saw little George’s one armed body when he was just 5 years old. Now, he finds himself a cop handling a murder case. One which just doesn’t sit right with him. For while he, like many in the town, at most has a tolerance for homosexuality, now he finds himself having to put aside whatever prejudice he has to get one Adrian Mellon justice.

Long story short, during the celebration of the day the canal opened near Derry, one Adrian Mellon was killed thanks to a group of teens: Steve Dubay (17), John “Webby” Garton (18), Christopher Unwin (15). The main perpetrator being Garton whose pride was hurt by the flamboyantly gay Mellon showing pride in living in the same town.

Now, as for why someone like Don Hagarty, much less the deceased Adrian Mellon stayed in town? Well, it was strictly because of Mellon. As a freelance writer, to Hagarty being a draftsman for an engineering company, Mellon could work anywhere but for some reason only found the oppressive Derry, Maine a place that could spark his creativity. He started working on his novel again, squeezed out some articles to pay some bills, and seemingly would resettle to Derry if it wasn’t for the population. As or Hagarty, he came to Derry for the views and solely stayed because he had a long-term lease of three years. He was ready to go. For he, like Mellon, was not someone who could blend in with the likes of Officer Gardener.

But what about Pennywise you ask? Well, he was just waiting for the three boys to be done with Mellon so he, like a scavenger bird, could pick off what was left. Don saw him, Chris saw him, and Pennywise directly spoke to Don.

In the end, Mellon, by either Pennywise or the boys, was stabbed at least seven times and this includes his left lung and in his testicles. Also, four of his ribs were broken and he had bite marks. However, despite Chris and Don’s testimony, the whole clown thing was not allowed in court. Leading to Garton, Dubay, and Unwin going to prison but all three being under appeal. With, so it seems, Dubay and Garton free as Hagarty has left Derry as has Unwin.

Commentary

I feel like I’m expecting something sinister and shocking to happen, but instead, the book is mostly focused on world building. It focuses on establishing Pennywise in chapter one and then on Derry in chapter 2. Neither chapter really pushes the idea of this being the book that was the inspiration for the classic mini-series. Yet, it is still early on and, according to my kindle, we are only 49 pages into a 1400+ page book. We have barely scratched the surface.

Though I do wonder, when it comes to what this chapter presented, the homophobia and Adrian’s story, is that solely to establish part of Derry’s culture, the time period, or what? For it just seemed random to go to the murder of a kid, by Pennywise’s hand, to him finishing off a gay guy who others pretty much did the work for him. Much less, it is hard to say whether these are all names worth remembering down the line or not. Especially with a 27-year jump and memories of the mini-series, which I know shouldn’t be the basis of my expectations, splitting things rather evenly between the childhood and adulthood of Bill and his friends.

But overall, I gotta admit that reaching that 1400 page mark is going to be a challenge. If only because, as someone who mostly reads YA novels and memoirs, I feel like I have no one to grip onto and take an interest in at this point. I mean, yeah, Pennywise is seemingly going to be consistent, but it isn’t like we are hearing and following him about. But, again, it is too soon to really make a real judgment.


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