8 December, 2021

LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Literary Crushes

Beverly Marsh from It It_cover

The first mammoth, monumental book I read was IT, the 1,100-page masterpiece by Stephen King. I read it in the eighth grade over the course of a weekend. I was grounded, as I often was during my teens, and when my parents grounded me, they didn’t play. No TV, no phone, no friends, no nothing.

Except books.

My mom was a huge fan of Stephen King and had several of his books around the house. I picked IT and she told me I wasn’t ready. It was too scary. It was too long. This was coming from the woman who introduced me to horror films at age nine. I took her warnings as a dare.

The book combined two phobias I still carry to this day–clowns and spiders. Seriously. I hate clowns. And spiders are just, well, spiders. I know a lot of people point to IT as a primary example of King’s excessive wordiness, but I don’t see it. It was brilliant and I still consider it one of my top five favorite reads ever. And it featured my first real literary crush: Beverly Marsh.

Beverly was the sole female member of The Losers’ Club, the gang of children who spent a memorable summer terrorized by Pennywise, the titular monster who took the form of creatures that inspired fear in the children of Derry, Maine, but preferred being a clown that, while inspiring a great punk band, set the clowns-aren’t-evil movement back decades. She was abused by her alcoholic father as a child and an even more by an abusive husband as an adult.

She was an odd dichotomy. On the one hand, she was strong. She and her friends faced an ancient evil–twice–and while scared, she didn’t let the fear overpower her. She would defy her father, knowing punishment would be swift and severe if caught. But at the same time, she was broken by the powerful men in her life, namely her father and husband. She was shown respect and treated as an equal by her male friends, but treated like garbage otherwise.

In the end, though, Beverly left her husband and provided an ass-kicking that would have Lara Croft taking notes. And she was pretty, later to become beautiful. I was never a lady’s man. In high school, I dated some and had a couple long-term relationships, but in junior high, I was awkward and weird. I tried to be popular and failed miserably, so I identified with The Losers’ Club and in Beverly, I saw the perfect girl. She was funny, she was strong, and she could hang with the boys. I would eventually meet someone similar to her in high school. Funny, strong, serious issues with her father. She broke my heart.

But Beverly never did.

-Kurt Bali

2 thoughts on “LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Literary Crushes

  1. I have a huge crush on Jericho Barrons from the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Not going to lie, I have a thing for the dark, ancient, mysterious man who owns a bookstore in Dublin!

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