Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Carrie - Review

Carrie by Stephen King

A quick summary stolen from back cover: The story of misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge, remains one of the most barrier-breaking and shocking novels of all time.

How I'd sum it up to another reader: Well, published in 1974, it's the book that launched King's career and made him a superstar in little time. Not his greatest work and certainly the least polished of anything I've read in a few years, but still a fun and straightforward thriller. It didn't feel scary at all, especially from being told in its epistolary structure, but I found the building suspense to be the most enjoyable aspect of Carrie, making the events of Prom Night so much more sweeter.

The book is about Carietta White, a closeted and emotionally abused soul, who begins to realize the telekinetic powers boiling inside her during her first period. She's teased and humiliated, and finds little comfort from fellow schoolmates and her own mother. Sue Snell, a girl who initially teased Carrie with chants of "PLUG IT UP," comes full circle and feels terrible about what she's done. To make up for it, Snell insists that her boyfriend take Carrie to the prom and to show her a good time. Carrie is wary, but gives in; but when two buckets of pigs' blood is dumped all over her at her most endearing moment, she snaps. And nothing can stop a girl with a cracked state of mind. For anyone who was ever bullied in high school, Carrie's retribution against her classmates is both horrifying and justifiable.

The cover sez and shows: Half a face of a snarling, teenage girl. Everything is coated in red, which I could either take as a play on the pigs' blood thing or a disturbing accident involving Carrie's period from the opening chapter. Let's go with the first idea there, for the sake of being sanitary, yes?

Number of dragons, wizards, and reluctant farmer boys: Well, Carietta White isn't exactly a wizard but maybe sort of close...

Hardest name to pronounce in my head: Henry Grayle. Otherwise, no toughies here.

Best part: I absolutely loved the story of the shower of rocks that little three-year-old Carrie caused one summer after spying her neighbor's exposed breasts. Er, dirtypillows.

Worst part: The writing, at times, leaves a lot to be desired. Clearly, it shines of King's stylistic and flaunting prose, but it occasionally dips into subpar territory. The snippets and excerpts from later published books or interviews were distracting and could have been chopped for more meaty details during the action scenes.

Random thoughts and theories: The ending left me a bit fuzzy. Just before Carrie White fades from existence, she uses her powers to have Sue Snell miscarry. Was this done for revenge? Or as an act of kindness? I believe the movie ending differs greatly from this one, but I've yet to see it. Can anyone recommend it?

If said book were a ride at a Disney theme park: It'd be a pretty disturbing ride.

If in school its grade would be: B

Come on, write us a haiku:
Pigs' blood for a pig
She'll flex her way through Prom Night
They reap what they sow

Overall, y'all: It's a decent read, but not the first Stephen King novel I'd tel anyone to check out. That would be Bag of Bones, which still freaks me out to this day.

Books I might or might not compare to: The Shining by Stephen King and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Some linkage: Buy the book at Amazon, and check out all the errors people found in the book.

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