The first novel by the master of the macabre himself. We’ve all heard the story of how Carrie almost never saw the light of day until his wife pulled it out of the trash and told her husband that it was good and that he should finish it. Low and behold, a star is born. Carrie is told through a somewhat different kind of format that has been used with varying degrees of success by other authors. King actually lets us know what happens in the end long before the last few pages through “interviews” and “testimonials published from the Carrie White hearing papers”. Many times this format of storytelling can be chunky and plodding, slowing the story down. This isn’t the case in Carrie.
Carrrie White is the awkward odd ball character that all of us knew back in high school. Although Carrie takes place long before I was in high school, some things never change. No matter what generation, there is always a hidden rule that many high schoolers follow and that is “Eat or Be Eaten”. You either follow what the group you hang out with does or they’ll turn on you. This is what happens one day while Carrie White is taking a shower in gym class. Due to her crazy mother’s strict religious raising, Carrie is caught unaware when her first period starts while in the middle of the shower. Not knowing what is happening to her, she begins to freak out. Thats when the other girls, led by the classic bitch of all bitches, Chris Hargensen, begin teasing and taunting her in a most vicious way. To say this comes back to bite the girls is an understatement. Another girl that was involved, Sue Snell, feels guilty about the way she blindly followed her group in their prank and decides that the way she can make ammends and feel better about herself is to get her wildly popular boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom. When Chris gets suspended over the little incident, she begins plotting her revenge on Carrie. The problem is Carrie isn’t like that awkward lump of flesh we all knew in high school. Carrie has an ace up her sleeve that has been held dormant for many years and now that she’s entered womanhood, it won’t stay dormant any longer.
Carrie has many great things going for it and you can’t ask for a much better freshman effort. King’s description of the over the top prank in the shower scene will evoke memories of being bullied in high school by virtually all the readers. Religion gone wrong in her mother will also leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. With so many school shootings in the past handful of years, the ending scene makes you cringe. Even though Carrie doesn’t have an AK-47, it still leaves you feeling hollow watching innocent high schoolers bite the dust for being at the wrong place and the wrong time.
King rides many emotions that drag you kicking and screaming back to your high school days and makes you ask yourself “what if?” and thats where Carrie shines. You’ll also see a pattern King uses in his later writings where he compares reading someone’s mind to taking books off the shelves of a large library and reading them.
4 out of 5 stars
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