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[564] Carrie – Stephen King

carrie

” Carrie had been the butt of every joke for so long, and we all felt that we were part of something special that night. It was as if we were watching a person rejoin the human race, and I for one thanked the Lord for it. And that happened. That horror. ” (200)

Carrie is very straight-forward: a high school girl, an outcast, a misfit, named Carrie White has been the target of taunts from classmates finally blows up and retaliates. But of course, under Stephen King’s hand this is no usual come-back victory. The titular character, repressed by a religious freak of a mother who believes her daughter is a Sin, is capable of telekinesis, the ability to move objects by the force of the mind. At the age of seventeen, during senior year, Carrie menstruates for the first time and, to the amusement of her classmates, Carrie has no clue and thinks she is bleeding to death.

It seems incredible that, as late as 1979, Carrie knew nothing of the mature women’s monthly cycle. It is nearly as incredible to believe that the girl’s mother would permit her daughter to reach the age of nearly seventeen without consulting a gynecologist concerning the daughter;s failure to menstruate. (11)

One of the girls who bombarded Carrie with sanitary napkins in the locker room felt remorse about the vicious taunt. She offers Carrie her boyfriend as a partner to the prom. This genuine act of kindness, as Sue Snell believes, would bring Carrie out of her nutshell and offer her a chance to shine—until an unexpected cruelty targeted at her in the ball changed everything, for worse.

She paused on the lower step, looking at the flocks of people streaming toward the center of town. Animals. Let them burn, then. Let the streets be filled with the smell of their sacrifice. Let this place be called racca, ichabod, wormwood. (238)

It’s no surprise that Carrie’s gift will play into the book’s resolution. But I’m still not ready for the horror and destruction that this gift, probably fueled by the pent-up rage against all her enemies, has wrecked the town like scenes of (literally) inferno. Power lines fell like tangle of pick-up-sticks, electrocuting people, with smell that was sweet like pork. The mayhem was of an unimaginable scale. That said, the book is not chilling, maybe the audio book would be more so. It’s narrated by Sissy Spacek from the 1976 film adaptation. Carrie is a good story—crazy, fearless, and insane, but not a classic by my standard. Read it all one a day and wrap up the month’s reading.

290 pp. Anchor. Pocket Paper. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]

2 Responses

  1. I just finished this on audio, and while Spacek was a wonderful narrator, it is not what I would describe as chilling either. It is subtle in the way it builds the tension. I just wrote up my review, and what I said was if I hadn’t known what was going to happen (say I read it when it first came out), I would have gone crazy waiting though all that post-catastrophe analysis. I thought it was an effective way to structure the story.

  2. I enjoyed the audio. Certain scenes were very intense on audio, probably even more so than the movie. The post catastrophe analysis that Sandy mentions was intriguing to me, only because I enjoy the procedural part of an investigation, but yeah, I already knew the outcome from my prior reading in print form.

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