Stephen King’s legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.
Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be a normal and go to her senior prom. But another act–of ferocious cruelty–turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.
Carrie is Stephen King’s first published book. At the heart of this dismal and terrifying epistolary novel, is a teenager named Carrietta White, who has had the odds stacked against her from day one. There are flashbacks as we read character interviews and statements about the infamous Carrie, her mother, fellow classmates and prom night.
What surprised me is that this book was so sad and heavy. I already knew the story line because of the film, but actually reading the novel left me feeling drained. King takes the reader to a dark place during the scenes with Carrie and her mother, a religious fanatic who both physically and mentally abuses her daughter. Carrie has the gift of telekinesis which really disturbs her already disturbed mother.
What Carrie White goes through is horrible, the bullying she endures in school is relentless. The interesting part is that her teachers and some of her fellow classmates almost resent Carrie for it, as if it is her fault that she is a victim. Her mother shelters her to an extreme point, not discussing normal life topics with her, like puberty, and this gives Carrie a kind of naivety and shyness that makes her a target at school. She is an outcast and when she goes to her mother for help or advice, it is useless as her mother believes most things are bad and sinful. I found the relationship between Carrie and her mother most disturbing of all, because Carrie needed her mom and would plea for her to help her, but her mother just was not capable of it.
This mix of dysfunction at home and at school finally throws her over the edge on prom night. In the novel, Carrie actually takes down most of the small town that she lives in. Once the night is over, the death count is over four hundred. Most of the senior class lose their lives, the town they live in is left in ruins. King has a fantastic way of getting you inside the minds of his characters, there is a kind of intimacy when he writes this way. Much of it was difficult to read, especially given the school violence that unfortunately we have seen in our world today.
The 1976 film Carrie, which came out the year I was born, is in my opinion one of the best films based on one of King’s novels. I like the 70’s vibe to the story as well, the outfits and the slang used.
King took me to prom night here, and I was on edge knowing what was coming next. Reading how happy Carrie was to finally be part of something was heartbreaking.
She knew with suddenness and ease that this moment would be with her always, within hand’s reach of memory.
p.171, Carrie, Stephen King
Apparently the author wrote Carrie in about two weeks, it sold sold over 1 million copies in its first year.
Carrie is a fast read, and although I already knew what was going to happen I was immersed in it. I still hoped things would turn out different for her, but King weaves a terrifying end to an already sad story. It was akin to watching a train wreck, it is sad and scary, yet you cannot look away.
True sorrow is as rare as true love.
-Carrie, Stephen King
About the author:
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of Carrie by Stephen King. Nothing in this post is available for download.