Carrie was the first published work by author extraordinaire Stephen King. Most of his standard cliches and tropes began here, and as such I had felt like I’d read it long before I had. I’d seen it mocked on Tiny Toon Adventures. I’d seen the Sissy Spacek movie, and the TV movie, and the remake. I’d heard of — and avoided — “The Rage: Carrie 2.” I knew the plot and characters and setting, and I even read “On Writing” and can tearfully recount how the publishing of Carrie changed the lives of King’s poor family. You can know absolutely everything about this story and never know how absolutely amazing it is until you actually pick it up and read it for yourself.
Told through a variety of views, including memoir, police report, and medical journal, Carrie tells the story of Carrie White, a put-upon young woman who gets her first period at the age of 16.
As many ‘late-bloomers’ are, she is on the outside of the social order and is all but assaulted by her classmates when her menstrual cycle begins in the now-infamous shower scene. This trauma — combined with Carrie’s mother’s ascertain that menstruation only comes to those who have sinned — triggers latent telekinetic powers. The sci-fi aspect is almost an afterthought though — a grim warning that those put-upon victims might someday lash-out — as has since been proven the case many times. It’s a first period story, a story about bullies, and a warning to the repercussions of the sort of staunched religious upbringing that Carrie is born into. Sexual repression, violence, and vengeance are all prevalent themes.
If you’ve only read other books by King or only seen the adaptations of Carrie, you might wonder why King is considered the master of his generation. Anyone who has actually read this book doesn’t have to wonder.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“If you’ve only read other books by King or only seen the adaptations of Carrie, you might wonder why King is considered the master of his generation. Anyone who has actually read this book doesn’t have to wonder.”