Sunday, July 20, 2014

Carrie by Stephen King

This review was written by: B
Received: Library
Publishing Date of First Edition of this Book: April 1974
Pages: 290 
Stars: (4/5)

"But hardly anybody finds out that their actions really, actually, hurt other people!  People don't get better, they just get smarter.  When you get smarter you don't stop pulling the wings off flies, you just think of better reasons for doing it."
-Susan Snell

I have recently decided to try reading some of Stephen King's novels due to the consistent hype and excitement surrounding all of his books that fans can't seem to get enough of.  I figured that Carrie would be a good place to start as it's one of his classic horror novels as well as the first novel he ever wrote that was published. Natural intrigue has always surrounded this book with its ultimately fascinating telekinetic protagonist that is placed in the center of "Carrie".  Carrie is a high school girl going through the world in a daze full of religion, an overbearing mother, and cruel, unending pranks.  Ever since she was little, Carrie was branded as being "weird" due to her insanely religious mother who believed that practically everything was the work of the devil, including the physicality that surrounds growing up.  Her father had never been a part of her life due to his early death, leaving behind a black Bible that Carrie's mother always totes around.  
There appears to be two constants in her life that evolve around praying for forgiveness and being the brunt of everyone's cruelty.  She was "ruined" by her mother, as several accounts in the book tell.  She used to be such a beautiful little girl until an untimely incident that occurred at a young age.  It was at this time that Carrie fully used her telekinesis in a powerful way after her mother severely scolded her, so much so that it ended up lying dormant within her until yet another tragic incident that happened practically a decade later.  When Carrie freaked out at this incident, her female peers immediately scarred her with their taunting and brutal jeers full of scorn and laughter.  This situation called forth the telekinetic powers once again.  However, I believe that she didn't fully understand them and therefore didn't know how to own them and use them properly.  With only the gym teacher to console her, she went home early. 
Carrie's many horrible experiences not only consisted of her peer's torture, but they also include the dreaded closet located in her very own home.  This bleak closet was supposed to help her think about her sins while God looked upon her with righteous scorn with only her waste and tears to accompany her.  Her mother once put her in this nightmarish reality for over 24 hours.  The enduring psychological pain that Carrie felt undoubtedly seeped deeper than most would think.  
After the newest incident in which her telekinetic powers reawakened, as previously described above, only Sue Snell felt remorse for her detrimental bullying towards Carrie.  With her regretful feelings weighing her down, Sue told her boyfriend to take Carrie to the soon approaching prom.  Her boyfriend surprisingly accepted her request and wish for atonement, bringing Carrie to an experience that changed the lives of hundreds forever.  
The change in Carrie that took place after she found out that the most popular boy at school wanted to go to their final high school dance with her instead of Sue was shocking.  She practically turned into a different person from then on.  At the prom, Carrie was a much happier, lightened individual who looked beautiful, instead of awkward, with beautiful people also surrounding her.  However, this dance was not meant to be "beautiful".  One final prank on Carrie during her prom results in an unexpected backlash that no one ever expected.  Unbeknownst to many, Carrie had been practicing her special abilities, abilities that could end them all, along with their town.  
"Carrie" was written in various increments of sworn testimonies in court by the survivors of Carrie's final outburst, book excerpts written about what Carrie did, and newspaper clippings after Carrie's backlash.  These all were all accompanied by what Carrie was doing with her as the main perspective in the writing, as well as other characters (like Ms. Snell).  Surprisingly, it was a rather short novel.
I don't know what I really expected from this book, but I was pretty happy with Stephen King.  He managed to write an equally frightening novel as well as a testimony of the human tendency to hurt others without a second thought or final consequences.  While I enjoyed and was surprised by the different characteristics that Carrie took on throughout this book, I was also saddened by all of the loss that was depicted in the novel.  I felt as though Carrie went way too far, but of course, this added an element of loss that was essential to the novel.  I didn't think that I would be squirming while reading this novel, but there were parts that I was surprisingly grossed out by.  
My favorite parts of "Carrie" were when we got to see her past as well as her mother's past, a definite welcome among the prominent high school scene.  The world that King  created to surround Carrie with, meaning the devout religious mother, was the element that really piqued my interest.  I think that this was what truly drew me into the story.  The pace was just right, too.  The only thing that I disliked, or favored the least, was how the last increment of "Part 2: Prom Night" was written.  It went back and forth from various bystanders' accounts (who witnessed Carrie's actions) and prom goers and then to Carrie's exact same account in a slightly different way.  Don't let this discourage you, though.  "Carrie" was a great horror read that left me with many thoughts at the end.  It was full of intricate accounts that enriched the novel to the heart of the story.  The results of persecution will be looked at twice after reading this.  "Carrie," a compelling story, built up and ended with great big BANG! I'm starting to see why King is frequently described as the "master of storytelling".

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