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Review: Carrie by Stephen King

      Carrie is American author Stephen King's first published novel, released in 1974. It revolves around the titular character Carrie, a shy high-school girl, who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on those who tease her. King has commented that he finds the work to be "raw" and "with a surprising power to hurt and horrify." It is one of the most frequently banned books in United States schools. Much of the book is written in an epistolary structure, through newspaper clippings, magazine articles, letters, and excerpts from books.

***

I saw Carrie (1976) several years ago, and remember hiding behind my couch for a good part of the movie. The same thing happened with the 2002 made-for-tv movie about a year after that. Why, then, did I decide to read the original source material for my year of nightmares, you ask? I wanted to start reading Stephen King, and decided the beginning was the best place to start. 

To be honest, I started this book last October but only got around to finishing it now, lol. Anyway, the book, for the most part, was pretty slow. There was definitely a feel of anticipation to the flow, and you could always tell something was about to happen, but it didn't. Not until the end, or close to it, at least. 

I like the way King told the story: through letters, newspaper and magazine articles, books, and interviews. And then of course, the actual narrative structure, told mainly in Carrie's point of view, but also the other character's. It shifted back and forth between the two story structures very nicely and swiftly. 

My favorite character would probably be Sue Snell. She appeared to be just another one of the bitchy girls, much like Chris, but turned around to be a completely different character... she was actually dynamic, and had a different side she learned to show. A side filled with love, care, and honesty. Chris was a total bitca, as was her boyfriend, whose name escapes me (lol and I like JUST finished :P). They were definitely the villains of the book, alongside Margaret White, who I will get to later. 

The story was more of an depressing one than a scary one. Sure, there were creepy and eerie parts, but overall, the novel felt like an emotional metaphorical journey of a girl on the verge of adolescence, and who didn't know how to deal with it .The supernatural element was added by King, I assume, to fictionalize the story more and make it seem like something that it wasn't. 

The only character I found to be actually frightening was Margaret White, Carrie's mother. She tried to kill her daughter! No sane person does that. She's overtly religious and thought Carrie was the spawn of Satan. Um, okay. For one, you're the one that conceived her! Do not ridicule and abuse your daughter just because you can find no other way of escape. Bitch. Rot in hell.

So, the ending was also pretty creepy, but in the naive way... like, the letter the woman wrote to her sister was so full of innocence, that it was just sad and creepy knowing what might come and happen.

So, in the end, this novel was a great introduction into the mind of Stephen King, and I recommend it to everyone.


Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
thedamaged
Mar. 9th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
This was my first Stephen King book to read too, I actually just read it a couple months ago because I was interested in reading his books.

It was a little slow at first but I really enjoyed it.
luna_potterhead
Mar. 9th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Did you read any of his others?
thedamaged
Mar. 9th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
I recently finished The Shining and I really enjoyed it. I'd like to read IT but I'm afraid it'll bring back my child hood fear of clowns.
admnaismith
Mar. 9th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC)
The boyfriend was Bill Nolan. Seemed to me he was almost as terrifying as the mom in the book, while Travolta made him into just a dork in the movie.

Great review. I've read pretty much all of Stephen King, and this wasn't one of my top ten, but I liked it.
luna_potterhead
Mar. 9th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
Thanks.

And, just wondering, what are your favorite SK books?
admnaismith
Mar. 9th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
'Salem's Lot. The Stand. Needful Things. The Dead Zone. Bag of Bones.

Long stories: "The Mist". "The Body" (basis for the movie Stand By Me. "The Library Policeman, which to my mind is the scariest thing he's ever written. It would kick ass if the movie version starred someone normally known for comedy, like Steve Martin or Rick Moranis.
(Deleted comment)
luna_potterhead
Mar. 9th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Nope, Carrie was my first read by King. :)
gnomenapper
Mar. 9th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
This was also my first Stephen King book- but I was in like grade 3 I believe? It was in my Dad's bookshelf and had my name ALL over it so I snuck it into my room and read it. (I'm a Carrie) I didn't understand half of it, but I felt super cool telling people there was a book about a girl with psychic powers with my name on it.

I was a weird kid.
claireleo
Mar. 9th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm happy you've started reading Stephen King! :-)

I am a total wimp when it comes to horror, so I have only read his non-scary stuff so far.

I definitely recommend The Long Walk, which is my favourite.

red_hayate
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
SECONDED. Oh-so much! :3
luna_potterhead
Mar. 9th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
I'm actually reading that now!!
red_hayate
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
First Stephen King book I ever read and it made me a fan of the author and pretty much all his works (okay, so far just the ones I have read, but still that's a LOT of books, k? XDD)! Very excellent writer and Carrie is just one of those novels that you can read and read and read over and over and it is still just as powerful as the first time you read it~ :3

Currently reading The Stand which I started today and it's AMAZING too~
Gotta love Stephen King~ :DDD
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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