CARRIE | Stephen King
12.31.2018 (first published 1974) | Anchor Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
Carrie White is an unpopular high school student growing up in Chamberlain, Maine. Her mother is a religious fanatic who constantly berates Carrie for her actions. She doesn’t want her to dress like the other kids, behave like the other kids, or have friends. She locks her in a closet whenever Carrie does something she does not think fits her religious standards.
Carrie’s mother has made her into an outcast and she has reached her breaking point after a recent bullying incident in the girl’s locker room. Things appear to be looking up when Carrie is asked to prom by one of her school’s most popular boys. Worried she is being set up for humiliation, Carrie hesitates, but eventually agrees to attend. Prom night will forever leave the town of Chamberlain changed as things go horribly wrong and Carrie is forced to unleash her hidden telekinetic powers.
Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not at the subconscious level where savage things grow.
CARRIE is Stephen King’s first novel and widely known for the film adaptation with Sissy Spacek. I grew up watching this adaptation and was very worried about how I would feel about reading the book. I’m one of those bookworms that firmly believes in reading the book before watching the movie or TV version, but that wasn’t an option this time around. The result? CARRIE surpassed all of my expectations and I absolutely enjoyed reading this book!
I love the way that King unfolded the character of Carrie White. We are introduced to her in the midst of a bullying incident and the reader instantly feels great sympathy towards her character. Everyone remembers high school and even if you were not personally bullied, you likely saw someone else falling victim. I was instantly placed back in that time and those feelings I felt as a teenager. Carrie is incredibly naive and doesn’t understand the things an average person may consider to be the basics of life. The students in high schools may change over the years, but the commonality of bullying people like Carrie has not.
And then the world exploded.
Margaret White, Carrie’s mother, is at the root of much of what Carrie is bullied for. She is a religious zealot who does not want Carrie to be overcome by the devil. She restricts her and punishes her, often in violent and demoralizing ways. This level of punishment goes so far that Margaret’s neighbors are scared of her after hearing her tirades through their walls. The fact that Carrie hitting puberty is seen has being linked to the devil shows how far Margaret is willing to twist reality to fit her views. She is a character that truly got under my skin and made it crawl.
While I wasn’t alive when Stephen King first released CARRIE and it’s not his first book I’ve read, I think it makes for a fantastic debut novel. CARRIE captures many of the things I enjoy about King’s writing together. King’s now classic mixture of science fiction with horror that will keep you entertained throughout the entire read!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.