About the book:
Author: Stephen King
Publish date: August 30, 2011
Pages: 304 eBook pages can be different
Genres: Horror, Epistolary, Tragedy
I first read Carrie as a freshman in high school, and later I went on a Stephen King extravaganza; that’s how much I loved it. High school really is the perfect time to encounter this book for the 1st time. Carrie takes the typical high school experience of misery and solitude and ups the ante to near apocalyptic levels; after reading this, my high school experience felt like a deep and fuzzy trip to Disneyland.
Carrie White is a sad, lonely girl with an awful home life and no one to turn to. Her mother is a religious fanatic and certifiable madcap. The teens and teachers at school, with a very few exceptions, range from offensively harsh to blindly indifferent. The events of the opening scene alone would scar most people for life, and Carrie is even less prepared than most to face the horror of adolescence.
King takes an excellent approach with this book–which was his first published–and weaves the supernatural elements of horror with the even more distressing psychological fears of being a teenager. Carrie has a special gift and her abilities are vital to her development, and extremely horrifying once you see where the story is taking her. King tells the story with a highly effective mixture of methods, spreading the traditional storytelling with fictional primary source documents recording the “phenomenon” of Carrie White and the resultant tragedy. Carrie’s tale becomes the beginning of a much larger, untold story that shakes all of society both logically and mentally. Well, maybe not entirely untold, if you’ve read Firestarter.
As readers, we know from the very beginning that Carrie’s story will not end well; the story is mostly flashbacks and analysis of events with heavy forewarning of calamity. However, this knowledge doesn’t keep us from fearing the outcome and hoping that we might be mistaken. Carrie is so perceptibly the underdog, and so pitiably lovable, that it is just as upsetting as it is terrifying to watch the end events unfold.
As a horror novel, Carrie is a great read, both influential and entertaining. A considerable amount of story is packed into a limited 200+ pages, and the tension builds to a powerful upsurge. Though I don’t think the book was ever intended as an anti-bullying polemic, I do think those who go through at the hands of bullies could collect some amount of comfort from this book. However, it is the bullies that should be reading it; I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that more clearly describes the terrible consequences of bullying others. You can make all the after-school specials you want, but if you truly want to teach someone not to be a bully, give them a copy of this book.
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