Monday, 5 August 2013


Stephen King
 "Carrie White is no ordinary girl....Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis."

Sissy Spacek in the famous film adaptation.
Carrie is a story that I’m (and I suspect many others are,) more familiar with in terms of the 1976 films of the same name starring Sissy Spacek. It’s a film I’ve never really enjoyed, while I thought the horror  scenes were handled well there were too many moments that felt out of place (the film suddenly speeding up while John Travolta and chums try on some shirts for example). For that reason I was slightly put off reading the book, though I’m glad to have done so now.

   The book is Stephen King’s debut so you might be forgiven for expecting a work of lesser quality than his later books, but you’d be wrong. Carrie is written in King’s very distinctive voice and while perhaps not entirely formed, it still has that powerful draw of his later work.
  The book is a great horror tale, Carrie, a young girl, raised by her brutally religious mother, develops physic powers and uses them to extract revenge on the classmates who bully her at school.
   It sounds schlocky and, in the hands of a lesser author perhaps it would be, but King’s writing is solid enough that it lends the story and air of credibility.

   The book jumps from the story as it unfolds to a collage of newspaper articles, books and interviews that are created in the aftermath of the events on prom night. I wasn’t expecting this technique and found it a little distracting initially but was very quickly hooked as the excerpts drip fed us information and teased the dramatic finale.
   As someone who’s seen the film adaptation, and therefore knows how the story ends, these snippets really helped to raise the tension I felt. I knew what was going to happen, but these hints made me want to read on regardless.

  The characters were great, though the male students did tend to fall a little into bad boy teen movie clichés at times, thinking of nothing but sex and hitting their girlfriends.
  Carrie is a very sympathetic character and, though she does horrible things towards the end, you can’t help but feel tremendous pity for her. Her god fearing Mother is a great pantomime villain but never goes too far into the realms of unbelievablity. 

   If you’re the kind of person who finds Stephen King’s massive body of work daunting, Carrie would be an excellent starting point. It’s an easy read but one which is guaranteed to drag you in. If you’re a King fan already, while the book doesn’t weigh up to the mammoth epics like The Stand or Under the Dome, this is still a great book and one that, if you haven’t already, you need to read. 

Stephen King

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