Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stephen King's Carrie, Review

Stephen King

Stephen King is one of my favorite American authors. What makes him repellent to some is appealing to many like me. We enjoy a good horror/thriller story that gets our attention and keeps us reading. His characterization is very good, in every novel or short story he writes he spends time crafting his characters, bringing them to life. Anyway, Carrie, his first published novel, is no different. Its characters are passionately written, the plot keeps us glued to the book and it also has a very important theme on the background.

Carrie White's mother is a religious fanatic. She doesn't let her express herself, she doesn't let her have friends or meet boys, she didn't even tells her about puberty and what is menstruation. Even women's breasts she describes as "dirty pillows", and say that they grow only on bad girls. As a punishment for any kind of tresspass against the Lord, her mother will lock her inside a closet for hours, making her pray. But her torture doesn't end here, as in school is probably worst. She's the butt of every joke, has no friends and everybody believes she's weird or ugly or crazy or stupid or something along those lines. But Carrie carries the hidden talent of Telekinesis. As her prom approaches, her powers begin to develop, and when a final prank (much more crueller than most) is delivered, the whole town will have to pay for the kids' mistakes and cruelty.

Carrie comes close to what I believe is King's masterpiece, The Shining. While The Shining is still superior, Carrie comes near the top of the books I've read from the master of horror. In it, we can see the suffering Carrie has to endure, we can feel it ourselves. We see it both from her perspective and the other kids' perspectives, as well as outsider's perspective on the matter written as books, interviews, analyses, thesis, etc on the subject of telekinesis and Carrie White.

Carrie is plainly disturbing. First is the strong and cruel bullying she has to go through. Much like in Let the Right One In (read review here http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/690522/blogs/?id=675207), the main character faces bullying every day, and at the end this helps to create a very violent scenario throughout the novel. The novel carries the strong message of no discrimination or bullying, and the consequences it may bring. While it is clear that in real life a kid may not whipe a whole town because he was bullied, he still may commit serious acts that nobody really wants.
The other disturbing part comes from the mother. A strong and crazy religious fanatic, her beliefs helped in making Carrie weak and resentful. I think that most of what happened to her came from her moher's discipline. She probably would never have flipped if her mother wouldn't have been so much of a wackho.

The novel both entertains and disturbs at the same time. Its simple but intriguing plot makes the reader keep reading, and King's ingenious style helps it on this subject. His characters are all well thought out. Carrie and her mother are, of course, the one he dedicates more time to, and the end result is a terrific and terrifying combination of scared daughter and crazy mother. For the other players, he spends a good time developing the characters of Sue Snell and Chris Hargensen, Carrie's schoolmates, who spend much time making her pranks. These two characters also represent opposite sides: one feeling guilty, the other feeling she needs for Carrie to suffer even more; one mature, the other completely childish; one desiring redemption, the other desiring revenge.

Due to King's narrative, a thrilling and keep-reading plot, ingenius characterization and profound themes in its background, Carrie is a, slightly-underrated, gem. Many may criticize it, but at the end it is a very important piece of horror literature. A definite recommendation for horror fans, psychological-thrillers fans and, of course, Stephen King fans. His first novel is definitely one of his bests.


  1. Most interesting review

    I haven't read many of King's work and I didn't much like what I did read...but I might see the film adaptation of this book someday.

  2. Hope u like that one. Out of curiosity, which was the one you read?