Friday, April 25, 2008

"Carrie" By Stephen King


Title: Carrie
Author: Stephen King

Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages

ISBN-10: 0671039725

A lot of water has run since the 70s and the release of “Carrie”, a lot of novels appeared on the market and for that matter Stephen King didn’t do badly at all, conquering the literary scene and all. I am definitely sure that just about anyone has read reviews about the book or the book itself, the adults anyways, but to think of the teens these days, who are not so acquainted with the classics like I was awhile back and still am, I am posting one anyways.

After reading “On Writing” by Stephen King, where he mentioned so many times Carrie and what the book was actually about I knew I had to read. I mean, which violence-anime-comic-book-crazed teen wouldn’t die to read a novel about a repressed high school outcast becoming a murderous monster relying only on the power of the mind. I am not so sure, if “Carrie” is the initial spark about the craze over telekinesis, but I definitely bet on it. I have not read many books having a take on this particular super power and I found it most satisfying.

First of all I have compliment Mr. King on the ingenious idea to construct the novel as a scrap book of notes, bulletins, excerpts from fictional books, interrogations and actual story telling. This is some great strategy to avoid the additional information like character background, events and setting, which would be usually introduced via dialog, story arcs and all the rest. So clap, clap, clap to all that.

So the story is actually very simple. We have Carrie White, who has the bad luck to be born into a family of zealous fanatics; her mother being presented as a tyrant with predisposition of constant yelling and a lot of her screws loose. The influence of her mother’s upbringing and the constant demeaning pranks, jokes and taunts from all her peers because of Carrie’s background, turn Carrie into an outcast. Thus while experiencing her first period in the gym shower (side not is that she doesn’t know menstruation is), all the girls make fun of her. This is the first time she manifests her telekinetic power by blowing out a light bulb. This event however sets the scene to the apocalyptic ending as Sue Snell decides to make her boyfriend Tommy Ross take Carrie to the senior prom in order to make amends with her own guilty conscience about taunting Carrie. Here come the main villains Chris Hargenson and her boyfriend Billy Nolan, who plan to make the prom night a living hell for Carrie. While she and Tommy Ross get crowned as Kind and Queen of the prom they dump a bucket of pigs blood on Carrie, which triggers the homicidal persona in her. Apocalypse is unavoidable.

Carrie is a very believably created character and the hell she goes through aka her life is built in incredible detail. Most interesting is how she seems to host this immense power and the maniac flame in her whole persona, which seems to go hand in hand I guess and then there come her meek, shy and frightened to death mousy personality. It’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide situation and all she needed was a trigger to cause annihilation.

The last pages of the novel put accent on the telekinesis and those were the pages I liked best for obvious reasons. First I enjoyed how Stephen King described it as flexing of the brain and then through regular training in minimal time, Carrie developed control and strength. She can also do multiple tasks at the same time and has latent telepathy. If I have to go in my analysis mode I would have to say that Carrie is a metaphor of a human being broken down to an emotional wreck with pain and chaos gathering like a storm. This turmoil is just expressed on the outside.

Of course the book had several areas that didn’t exactly work for me. Sue Snell is too much of a Samaritan to offer Carrie the night of her life and the perfect date. I know that this book was written back in the 70s, but teen girls back then had valued their prom night as much as girls do now. Her sudden decision is a bit illogical, no matter how guilty she feels. Then come Tommy Ross and his decision to play along without much though. I understand that he is a jock and suffers in the brain department, but it’s like saying to a person that instead of a sandwich he had to eat a cookie. The fact that Carrie was accepted so well during the prom night without the whole gossip droning around is also a bit suspicious. For me it was a bit surreal and mister King could have added some extra 5K into the mix to strengthen that. After that came the matter with all these adverbs that were quite obvious in the dialogue tags, but considering it was his first published book and way back in the 70s, who am I to criticize.

In conclusion I must say that this was a cool read. It reads fast, I personally finished it in four days and I read it on a Word file, since I couldn’t find a paper version, even on the used books stands. The situation with books in Bulgaria is rueful.
My Grade: 6/10


Dark Wolf said...

Very nice review. The situation with the books in Romania improves day by day. There are several publishers that try to bring the top modern authors in my country now. But things go pretty slow.

daydream said...

I think that the same is attempting to happen in Bulgaria as well, but it's as slow as a 300 year old 3 ton turtle. Right now only the Chic lit is developing fast and that is about it.

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