Title/Author: Carrie by Stephen King.
Favorite character: Tommy and Sue.
All in all: Strong, classic horror novel.
Synopsis: Stephen King's legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.
Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be a normal and go to her senior prom. But another act--of ferocious cruelty--turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: The story of Carrie is an icon, an urban legend as well known as Bloody Mary and the Ghostly Hitchhiker. I don't think I even needed to include the synopsis. Perhaps this is why I had never read it until I co-hosted the Stephen King Read-A-Long with Midnight Book Girl. I knew the story, saw the movie(s), heard the tale from friends, but I didn't know the full story until I read it.
This was King's first published novel, rescued from the trash by his wife Tabatha. It's raw when compared with his later work, but a great story with complex characters that are relatable, a plot that moves and twists.
What surprised me is that it is the story of Sue as much as Carrie. The two mirror each other. Sue is popular and has it easy. Carrie is the misfit that everyone picks on. They both have revelations. Sue realizes she is on a trite path, "Suzy Creamcheese" she calls herself in a moment of self loathing, which leads her to pursue an altruistic act. Carrie comes into her power with her Telekinesis. She realizes that she can protect herself if she chooses. The reader realizes that there is more to both young women than meets the eye.
The book is filled with news reports, court testimony, published papers and journalist's analysis as well as an omniscient viewpoint of a few characters to tell about the events. However, instead of being confusing, this moves the story along at an incredible trajectory and creates tension, drama and insight. I thought it interesting how there are different camps to the story. Some feel that the Telekenesis a fabrication, that Sue and Tommy orchestrated Carrie's ultimate humilation, that Telekenesis must be studied further, that Telekenisis must be hidden.
I also remember that during the World Horror Convention one of the speakers stated that Carrie started in blood and ended in blood, and I was curious to discover the symbolism for myself. When Carrie starts menstruating, that is when her powers gain strength or perhaps they have bubbled over the surface. This is the beginning of the end for her soul, according to her evangelical, abusive, insane mother.
My only complaint and King does this frequently, is the asides, the "...the time whens..." While it adds to the dimension of the character and their actions, I don't always feel they are necessary and sometimes take me out of the story.
I think this book is terrific and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. However, what I enjoyed more were the discussions that ensued from it from the Read-A-Long I co-hosted with Kate from Midnight Book Girl. To discover more of what I thought (and others too), click on the discussion links below:
1. Carrie Read-A-Long Part One: Blood Sports.
2. Carrie Read-A-Long Part Two: Prom Night.
3. Carrie Read-A-Long Part Three: Wreckage.