Rave: Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie By Stephen King

Carrie by Stephen King. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1974. Review copy provided by my local library.

The first thing to say about Stephen King’s Carrie is that most of the time, you’re already diving into the book with the knowledge that it doesn’t end well. Carrie does not have a happy ending, believe me. If you’ve heard anything about the young girl Carrie with mysterious powers, an overbearing (and extremely religious) mother and bullies to boot, you know that this book goes under the “Most Deaths Ever in the History of..Ever,” section.

But just because it doesn’t have a happy ending doesn’t mean it isn’t a compelling, heartbreaking and masterfully woven story with twists and turns and personality traits that fall perfectly with the characters, antagonists and protagonists alike. You see the characters either become sick and twisted, or have revelations about how Carrie is, in fact, human.

It’s not written like any other novel either. It’s a mix of narration on the actual story, mixed with news reports and interviews from eyewitnesses (who were also characters in the book) that were unfortunate enough to partake in what became known as, “The Black Prom.” The following quotes are two from the book, and I would like to point out that the book does not just focus on what’s happening with Carrie. It switches viewpoints, as well as various reports about the events, such as Q&As, event reports and a narrative from Susan Snell (who was one of the characters).

 From The Shadow Exploded (p.151)

By 12:45 on the morning of May 28, the situation in Chamberlain was critical. The school had burned itself out on a fairly isolated piece of ground, but the entire downtown area was ablaze. Almost all the city water in that area had been tapped, but not enough was available (at low pressure) from Deighan Street water mains to save business buildings below the intersection of Main and Oak streets.

From My Name Is Susan Snell (p.45)

But I am sorry for Carrie. They’ve forgotten her, you know. They’ve made her into some kind of symbol and forgotten that she was a human being, as real as you reading this, with hopes and dreams and blah, blah, blah. Useless to tell you that, I suppose. Nothing can change her back now from something made out of newsprint into a person. But she was, and she hurt. More than any of us probably know, she hurt.

When your protagonist is finally gone, the book does not end. You see what became of the setting; A depressed, gray town that’s forever scarred. The seniors cannot enjoy graduation, they can barely even get through their speeches without becoming tearful and dismissed. I personally, find the aftermath of The Black Prom the most emotionally affecting part of the story. When you think about how it’d feel to lose that many loved ones. It’s hard to describe the kind of hollow longing the book leaves you with, highlighted with one of the protagonists losing the one they loved. I know I literally drew a line and wrote DO NOT CONTINUE READING underneath the one part of the book where Carrie is finally happy. The turnout is emotionally catastrophic. Even more so when you know that the train wreck is coming, and that her happiness cannot last forever.

The thing is, when you’re reading this, the events continue but there’s the added report which is like a look into the future. And the closer they get to the big scene, the more frequent (and informative) the clips are. It’s like you hear a heartbeat the entire book, and as they narrow down to the key factor of what happened at prom, the heartbeat gets louder. And then it happens and you hear a big crash, and all that’s left is the destruction, and then the harrowing aftermath.

I highly recommend this book if you want to be completely immersed, and personally affected. It’s not a book you’ll soon forget. And as they say, you will know her name.

Reviewed by: teen volunteer Kat

Recommended for: Lovers of emotional, shocking and otherwise horrific stories.

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