Review. Stephen King, Carrie

Happy Halloween dearest readers! Normally, you get a post on Friday and not on Saturday, but I switched it up because of this creepy day. In honour of everything that goes bump in the night, I’ll review a horror cult-classic, whose movie adaptation has delivered images that are part of the collective memory by now. Stay clear of blood, fire and electric wire, cause Carrie’s home!
It’s almost unbelievable that I, as an addict of the Fantasy-genre and all that revolves around it, had not read any Stephen King up till I was 23. Well, technically that is untrue, cause I read Firestarter for school once, in 2006, and I liked it. However, I was in the middle of reading other books and series, and my main focus was on urban fantasy at the time, so I didn’t read his other works thinking I’ll keep them for later. As it goes, I totally forgot about Stephen King as the years passed, until I came across someone who sold a lot of his books on some sort of fair. I didn’t buy one back then, because they were in Dutch and way more expensive than their English counterparts, but I made a mental note and that evening I added all of his books to my to-buy-list. I still don’t have them all, by far, but I do own those who are known best and I’ve actually managed to read some smaller ones. Including Carrie

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed…
But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction… Carrietta N. “Carrie” White, a misfit and bullied high school girl who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on those who torment her, while in the process causing one of the worst local disasters in American history.

I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t know what this book is about, right? Well, I know for a fact that there are people who don’t know Carrie, cause someone asked me what the book was about when I was reading it, and when I was like ‘Well, Carrie, obviously’, I got a blank face. It seems that culture is like cheese, full of holes..
culture is like cheese, full of holes..
Despite its status as a cult-classic, I had some troubled with this book. Whereas I like the plot, albeit very simple, I just couldn’t like the way it was executed. From the very start, you know how it will all turn out because throughout the book, there are fragments from textbooks and journals discussing the case “Carrie White”. The idea of mixing it up and telling the story in different ways is clever and refreshing, but don’t spoil it all with those little fancies. Sure, I knew how it would end way before I picked up the book because I knew the story, but I still didn’t like the spoiling. At least not at the very start. It would have been better is those articles were gradually revealing the events instead of dumping it all on the reader from the get go. As a consequence, I didn’t read all of those articles and skimmed them for the most part, because I wanted to avoid further spoiling.
Apart from this issue, I did like the story and the way it depicts the gradual and appalling tormenting of a breakable girl. The climax, though spoiled, is great.
when the shit starts hitting the fan, blood rains down good
As for the characters, I had a hard time feeling for them. Most are just a bunch of unlikeable teens and Carrie’s mum is such a religious nutjob, so no sympathy lost there. I figure we need to dislike these characters, but my dislike also stems from an alienation with them. There was no common ground whatsoever, which made it an empty dislike. There was nothing fueling this emotion. But even with Carrie I had a hard time connecting with her. Just like with the rest, I didn’t find her particularly interesting and she came across as one-dimensional. Near the end, I started to like her better, but it still was more of an effort than genuinely liking her from my part. I think I would have liked her better if she turned wickedly evil, or something like that, but now she was just ‘meh’. Imagine though, if she went on an even bigger rampage after she snapped!

In the end, I didn’t dislike this book, it’s just that I didn’t particularly liked it either. There were just some major issues that took away a lot of joy from this reading experience. Still, I appreciate it for what it is, a cult-classic.
The movie is a classic as well. Though dated, it still has its charms and while not terrifying, when the shit starts hitting the fan, blood rains down good! The image if Sissy Spacek covered in blood is just timeless and no matter the remakes, that’s the image I conjure up when I think about Carrie. Talking about remakes, while I have an overall dislike of them, the 2013 remake with Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore is quite good. It’s a very modern update which doesn’t butcher the original and is thus worthy of the title Carrie.
I have yet to see the 2002 remake and the sequel Carrie 2: The Rage, but I’m scared for the latter, cause it looks like a real hot mess…

★ ★ ★


Get Carried away!

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