23 January 2013


Author: Stephen King
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
UK Release date:
Genre: Horror/thriller

Carrie White is no ordinary girl.
Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.
To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie - the first step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.
But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she is forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her . . . (Goodreads)

Despite having watched a number of films based on his books, I have never actually read any of Stephen King's books. Reading Carrie, I was not disappointed.

Sixteen year old Carrie is an unusual protagonist. Not because she has rare telekinetic powers. But because she is the girl that everyone picks on and nobody likes, and she passively accepts the abuse and taunts thrown at her. To start with I empathised with her, but didn't really sympathise with her or even like her that much. Perhaps because the start was written in third person perspective, it kept the bullying and Carrie at a distance. But as the narrative switched to Carrie's first person perspective and sometimes her mothers, I began to understand how tough her home life was and why she was the she was.

And I also started to hate her mother. A zealous, religious fanatic, she put Jesus, righteousness and atonement above all else, including Carrie. Her mother seemed completely oblivious to Carrie's needs or the psychological trauma she was suffering. Although Carrie started off as a passive character, accepting her mother's and peer's abuse, her developing telekinetic powers gave her the courage to stand up to her mother. It was great to see Carrie refuse to bow to her mother's ridiculous beliefs and demands, however Carrie went too far in the end. Really though, who could blame her. And despite the horrors of what happened, part of me was a little bit glad that Carrie was able to exact revenge of those mean people that had bullied her for so long.

The narrative changed quite regularly, quoting articles/papers one page and then quickly changing to a character's point of view. Sometimes these perspectives overlapped, and it could be a little confusing to keep track of. However you got to see each of the characters differing thoughts and feelings about a particular event and somehow still flowed and kept up a fast pace.

From the very outset, we knew something bad would happen at the end of the story, although I had no idea what exactly that would be. We do know Carrie is not only the instigator but also cause for national concern. Because of this my curiosity was instantly piqued, and there was a gradual build up of tension and suspense throughout the plot, with flashbacks and new experiences telling Carrie's story and giving the backstory to the final climatic events. Carrie's story, whilst deep troubled was also very gripping and sad. I sped through the pages with ease, and understand now why Stephen King's writing has captured the attention of so many.

Carrie is a twisted psychological thriller horror, and a brilliant read.

Rating: 5*

1 comment:

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