Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie White is an outcast – bullied at school, and abused at home. Womanhood makes a very startling and traumatic introduction, and changes Carrie’s life forever. The only relief she finds is in her ability to move things with her mind; it’s her intimate secret, yet the breaking point isn’t far away. Her secret will get out, sooner or later, and perhaps even mete out revenge.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The first group read for the Ladies of Horror Fiction team in this shiny new year, and I was happy to search out the copy I’d purchased years ago. Everyone knows the story of Carrie, right? It’s been a monumental inspiration to many works of horror, and stands as King’s very first published novel. I’ve watched the film adaptations, and I was familiar with the premise and the explosive conclusion, so nothing came as a surprise. Despite that, I was instantly captivated by the unfolding story and interluding transcripts and accounts of newspapers, books, interviews, etc. The scenes of Carrie and her mother especially appealed to me; Margaret White took the stage with her zealous lunacy. Seriously, she was one unhinged lady, but it just made Carrie’s miserable life all the more interesting. In this case I’d say dismiss the movies altogether, they depict Carrie inaccurately – thin and beautiful – and so I don’t feel they properly represent her character.

I was sympathetic toward Carrie, I suppose this is the general consensus. I considered her more of a victim than a villain, and I think many can agree that being bullied can do terrible things to a person’s mind – I know I’m still not over the hate that was thrown my way as a child. King expertly touched upon the cruelty of humankind, and more importantly, the turmoil of an abused girl. When an author can make you feel empathy for, to put it bluntly, a mass murderer, then they really do excel at the craft. The controversy that surrounded this title only confirms the bravery and daring that went into its original publication. I can appreciate when writers step beyond what is deemed conventionally appropriate. Sexuality and religion run amok and were coupled so close together; it was an element that solidified my investment. Sure, there may have been exaggerations, but King portrayed an angle of religion that’s alive and well today.

Carrie wasn’t the only likeable character, there was one other that made an impression. Tommy – not Sue with her guilt – and so the intention was obvious. The reader is supposed to feel pity, what with the ignorance and rudeness defining the majority of personalities. Their flaws were magnified tenfold, so I definitely didn’t feel sorry about rooting for the repressed girl that just wanted to fit in and discover herself.

Unlike a lot of other King books, this one was less bloated and more to the point. It knew where it wanted to go and didn’t hesitate. From early on it outright stated that some disaster occurred, so it it was just a matter of going along for the ride. One thing I did nitpick at was the final portion, and how it dragged on after the tragedy of prom night. It was mostly fluff at that point and unnecessary; the story died with Carrie.

In conclusion: As stated by the man himself, Carrie was an emotionally “raw” burn. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and it was easy to get through because I felt that pleasant urge to keep reading. My prior knowledge of the plot didn’t at all ruin the experience. My only complaint is that it should have ended sooner – drawing it out didn’t do much of anything other than wasting paper with filler.

Notable Quote:

The mixture of image and emotion was staggering, indescribable. Blood. Sadness. Fear. The latest dirty trick in a long series of dirty tricks: they flashed by in a dizzying shuffle that made Sue’s mind reel helplessly, hopelessly.

© Red Lace 2019

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6 Comments on “Carrie by Stephen King

  1. It has been a long time, but I remember reading this book and watching the 70’s movie. I like your observation that this book is a lot more on point than other fluffier King reads. {I’m looking at you, ‘Dreamcatcher’} That is probably why I got tired of reading him after a while. I like the early King stuff. As to the 70’s movie, I love seeing a young, bad-guy John Travolta.

    Thanks for the throwback review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you and you’re welcome! It’s one thing that puts me off King, the thicker books, but Needful Things was quite long and I enjoyed that regardless. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: January in Review – Red Lace Reviews

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