Carrie White just got her period for the first time. This wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary, but what makes it more so is that Carrie didn’t even know what a period was. In the shower after gym class, Carrie got her first period and thought she was dying. The other girls in the class didn’t help. Carrie was an outcast, so instead, head mean girl Chris, took advantage of the situation to mock Carrie, getting everyone else to join in. This incident releases something inside Carrie that she comes to realize is telekinetic powers. What happens when Carrie gets asked to the prom? Is it just another cruel joke? How did it ever get so far as 400 dead and a town set aflame?
Carrie by Stephen King
Release Date: April 1974
Source: Thrift Books – Bought
On My Shelf: Yes
This book was surprisingly underwhelming for me.
I think it’s because this story is one of King’s most-hyped, most-famous, most-alotofthings. I’d seen this movie a few times before finally getting around to reading the book.
What I’ve done recently is decide to be a constant reader of King, and I’m undertaking the personal challenge to read all his books in order. This is going to take me a long time as I’m still going to read other books alongside his works. But, I’m excited to read more King and hopefully get through everything, maybe within the next 2 years even? We’ll see.
Anyway, naturally Carrie had to be the first one I read. My hopes turned out to be a bit high. I should have known better, as King himself has reflected on Carrie and called it something he just threw together without much thought.
However, I will say that he did, in fact, put a lot of thought into this book, even if he didn’t realize it. King has this awesome way of connecting things in his books and picking a theme and sticking to it throughout. I, personally, found the theme of this book to be blood. There are a lot of references and allusions to the color red, which then makes the opening of this book even more intense and thought-provoking as the book goes on.
There is also tons of contrast between the colors red to the color white. This becomes more significant as the story goes on and especially as we learn more about Carrie’s Mother and how her intense religious thoughts have caused an abusive web of controversies in Carrie’s mind. I like how this book tries so hard to divide things into white and red, devil and god type thinking, and continuously fails to be able to do so, because as most of us already know, life is not good people and death eaters.
There is a great complexity to this book that will give your mind so much to think about as the events unfold. Even though King tells us within the first few pages, that something happened to Carrie and it caused many deaths of people in town, that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of peeling back the layers of this book and finding out exactly what led to the final outcome. (Which honestly could have all been avoided if someone had called child services right in the beginning to be honest.)
That being said, I do think that this book is not one of King’s best works of suspense. I didn’t find myself craving to pick up this book up (like I am right now per say with ‘Salem’s Lot or how I’ve been with other books I’ve read by him). There was a little something lacking, but I’m not getting on King’s case for it. His beautiful and intricate writing easily makes up for the lack of interest and even boredom in some parts. Plus, this was his first novel. And, the drastic change I’ve noticed from his first to second novel has been incredible.
What else makes up for the lack of suspense and action in some parts is King’s extraordinary ability to write characters and develop them throughout his books. This story has so much character development and description that I was pleasantly drowning in it. King has this striking ability to make both his “good” characters (although I believe that none of them–or us for that matter, are all entirely good) and his villains incredibly human. That’s one of my favorite things about King’s books and why he’s a favorite author. He has this ability to make his villains almost too real, making the story about 10x more terrifying than it already is.
Carrie is an unstable young girl with a, quite frankly, psychopathic mother who is pushed over the edge by a case of extensive bullying, and she could have been any girl I went to high school with. I could have died at prom because a girl lost control and killed most of her classmates.
This is what King does, and it’s magnificent.
If that still wasn’t enough, King always comes off as well-read and smart. My god, this man is so smart. And I don’t mean smart in a I’m-a-writer-who-likes-to-show-off-my-vocabulary-and-make-other-people-feel-inadequate smart. I’m just talking down-to-earth, damn smart. He’s so good at connecting his stories and making everything come together so well. Everything always connects. You won’t find any plot holes in his writing.
Then, on top of the just-damn-smart thing, he also writes descriptions that take you away to other worlds. It’s so easy to forget where you are when reading a King book and to get fully sucked in and immersed into his writing. People who call King mediocre have never read some of the beautiful words he’s streamed together on paper to create stories. Those who classify him as crude have never read the way he writes about love or hurt or pain. King’s words have this ability to touch you, to pull at your heartstrings, and to make you feel. He will make you feel so much, he will build up characters, he will show you what love is, and then he will rip it all away.
This book is no different. This book will make you feel and will cause you to care–sometimes even for the so-called villains.
If you haven’t already figured out, I highly recommend this book. Maybe don’t have your hopes set unreachably high, but still know that you are going to get a good story. This book will take you for a ride, and your bones will be a little achy after it’s all done and over.
Book Depository – $7.18
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