Originally published April 1974
Carrie was Stephen King's first novel. Well, first published novel. He wrote three manuscripts prior to Carrie that were rejected (oh the horror!- pun intended). For those who don't delve into all the little bits of information on SK, he originally threw Carrie away thinking it crap. Stephen's wife, Tabitha, dug it out of the trash and told him to finish it. Thank you, Tabitha! Carrie then went on to become the book that put Stephen King on the map.
Most people will describe Carrie as a coming of age story about a high school girl named Carrie White, who realizes she has Telekinesis power and eventually goes batshit crazy on her classmates and town. The end. Sound good? Intriguing? Yes? Carrie is so much more! It is a horrific look into how fucking miserable high school can be! How hard it is to be the outcast of your high school class. How incredibly cruel and mean kids can be without realizing the repercussions. How, all it can take is, one person hellbent on tormenting another to make someones life just miserable.
You see touches of SK's amazing character development in Carrie (this will be interesting to watch as we continue through all the books). You feel for Carrie from the beginning as SK opens the book with quite a scene. Cue a women's locker room in high school. Girls showering and getting dressed after gym class. The quiet girl with no friends in the shower discovering she has blood running down her leg, and having no idea what it means. All the classmates laughing at her distress while throwing tampons and maxi pads at her yelling for her to "Plug it up!" Quite the set-up for a book. You'll quickly see Carrie's misery extends beyond school, as you meet her unstable and fanatically religious mother, Margaret White. Poor girl can't catch a break!
The book is told from a very interesting perspective. It bounces from present tense to future news and media clippings. These news clippings will talk of the horror that will be the climax of the book. This becomes an interesting writing tool for SK in future books. He likes to tell you of what is to come, most times revealing a death or even the most pivotal points of his books. As in Carrie, with the news clippings, you already know Carrie is going to be a mass murderer, but yet, you are compelled to feel sorry for her! Oh, SK you are a genius.
As a first novel, let's face it, this a great piece of work. Had I been reading this for the first time, I would be giving it ultra high marks. Now, here....here is where I see how hard this reviewing and offering opinions is going to be for me. Carrie is solid writing, strong characters, an incredibly unique plot and story. BUT (and see that's a big but) I know what is to come! So I can't give it 5 stars because there is no way Carrie trumps The Stand or IT or 11/22/63! Maybe for the sake of this blog, I won't give star reviews but will do an attachment listing the books in my order from best on down. Thoughts? I'll just update the list as I go? Bear with folks, this is a work in progress.
As we go through this journey together, I plan to touch on any movie adaptions of SK's books that have been made. Let's face it- some STINK! Carrie is not one of them. The movie is a great adaption of the book. It is hard to even read Carrie now, without thinking of Sissy Spacek as Carrie (even though she resembles nothing of SK's original description). Piper Laurie may have actually been in SK's head as he penned Margaret White. Wow, what a performance! I know I'll knock a few people off their seats when I pronounce "the book was way better than the movie". It still shocks me the amount of people out there who will watch a movie and then think "they know the book". Idiots. I prefer the ending of the book to the changes that were made for the movie. Better to fuck up a whole town than just a high school (well, in my opinion).
All in all, Carrie is a great place to start for any SK "newcomer". The movie is a great introduction into the cinematic world of SK movies (brace yourself for this journey folks. It will be a bumpy ride at best!). Next up, will be Salem's Lot! I should be starting soon for anyone who wishes to read along!!