Carrie by Stephen King

Posted September 2, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Carrie

Carrie

by Stephen King

Publisher: Doubleday on April 5, 1974
Genre: Classics, Horror, Paranormal
Target Age Group: Adult
Rating: ★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed... But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction...

 

Insofar as Stephen King’s books go, I don’t think Carrie is his strongest.  Which makes sense, because it’s one of his earliest books and his earliest major publication, so it makes sense to see that his craft has evolved over the last few decades.

I think that the concept is interesting, particularly the idea that telekinesis is a trait that could be developed in any young woman with the appropriate triggers.  I had mixed feelings about the mixed media format of this book, particularly some of the more scientific pieces that were a bit dry.  I think King’s idea here was fantastic and in that way, it’s easy to see why Carrie remains a popular story.  There are some central themes that transcend, and that unfortunately includes extreme bullying.

The story is excellent.  The story stands up.

The book was a bit boring for me.  I honestly probably only finished it because it was so short – at seven hours for the audiobook, this is practically a novella for King whose novels are often three times that length.  The writing style, even bringing in additional POVs, lacks the compelling depth of King’s later work.  There’s a lot to dig into here as well.  I felt King did it better earlier in the story, particular in the scene where Carrie is lying in her room thinking about how much she hated her mother.  It’s almost as though Carrie’s mind unsettled him, and he only dared tiptoe so deep into her consciousness.

Or, more likely, writing from a female POV works less easily for King, as it does many male writers.  He has a few stories from a female POV, and while King does it much better than most, it’s still not quite there.  He’s not afraid to touch the uncomfortable stuff, but he doesn’t dwell too long with these characters, either.  Except maybe Susannah from his Dark Tower series, but that’s a different story.  There’s a whole conversation to be had here about staying in one’s lane, which could be a discussion post in itself, but in short I think King did it respectfully, ore successfully than most, but still fell short of being able to tell the story with the same depth as an #OwnVoices author.

But I don’t really think of Carrie as feminist fiction, so I’m inclined to be a bit forgiving on that point.

Read Carrie because it’s a horror classic.  I don’t think it should be help up as an example of King’s greatest work – it’s certainly not the “If you only read one Stephen King book, read this one!” book.  But it’s interesting enough to stay invested.  I will warn that my own cultural consciousness of the story – without having read the book or seen either film adaptation – filled in enough of the content that nothing surprised me.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★
Pacing: ★★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★ 1/2

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Code Orange Problematic Author History

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Which of King’s books do you think is his strongest?  I’m absolutely enamored by his Dark Tower series, which is less of a book than an opus.  Wizard and Glass, in my opinion, is the best from the series.  What about you – do you have a favorite?

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