Carrie by Stephen King

In three words:

Telekenesis, bullying, atonement

What I thought:

I hadn’t been planning on reading this book; I was merely spending a lovely hour or so browsing the hundreds of titles on my Kindle (courtesy of a disc my brother-in-law gave me) and before I knew it I had read a quarter of the book. Another strange fact: despite being a HUGE crime/thriller fan this is only the second book I have ever read by Stephen King, the first being Firestarter when I was about thriteen (of which I have no memory whatsoever).

Carrie was one of King’s earlier books (in fact I think it may be his first writing under his own name rather than Richard Bachman) so perhaps it isn’t as polished as I hear his later works are but, let me tell you, this man can tell a story! Despite the fact that I know the story of Carrie (who doesn’t?) I found myself still as intrigued with the storyline and how Carrie ended up doing what she did. I loved the way that, between the main storyline, the book was made up of excerpts from other books, newspapers, AP Tickers and court transcripts.

 Imagine that this book has first come out (before the film and the noterioty) and you are reading the narrative of a teenage girl who is a school misfit, horribly bullied and humiliated and has a mother so religiously zealous that she locks her daughter in the closet over and over to punish her and pray. Right from the start, the book hints that something big and catastrophic is on its way and that it is imminent. The post-event transcripts and articles tell the reader that something is going to happen where people will end up dead and King drip-feeds us snippets of what is to come leading up to the moment itself. I know, you know, but imagine when it first came out….what a gripping read this must have been! Despite being familiar with the story, I found myself flipping those pages (or in this case, pressing that button) at an alarming rate.

Poor Carrie. She is unpopular, chunky, pimply and plain with no real understanding of the world around her (courtesy of her mother who calls her breasts dirtypillows and hasn’t forwarned her about menstruating because that is the devils work and she will need to be punished for it).  What better target for a group of hormone-crazy school girls who make her life a living misery (and that’s before she goes home). After a particularly nasty incident in the showers, Carrie first discovers (or re-discovers as it turns out) her powers of telekenesis which she proceeds to work on and hone in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Sue Snell – one of the surviving members of Carries year group after Prom Night – decides to try and atone for the humiliation they all put Carrie through by asking her boyfriend Tommy (popular and good-looking straight A student) to ask Carrie to the prom. As Carrie prepares for the night of her life, someone else is plotting her downfall. When the town of Chamberlain wakes up on 27th May 1979, all is well. By nighttime, over 400 of them are dead!

Verdict: I really enjoyed this book. Despite falling into the horror genre, scary it isn’t. What you get instead is an intriguing and well-written plot which looks as if it may be a great foray into his later, scarier works (of which I have every intention of reading now).

Has anyone else read this? Which one do you think I should read next? And which one is the absolute scariest?

 

(source: I read this book on my Kindle)