on 16 March 2007
Well considering that King thought this book wasnt worth publishing it has done surprisingly well, wouldnt you agree?
King has a knack of relating fiction to real-life and this is no exception. Teen bullying, a girls first entry into womanhood, it is all real and for most of us, scary. King in turn makes his stories scary to reflect this by using real problems.
Carrie is a teenager with 'normal' difficulties at school. She however does have an underlying power, a well hidden dark side that is waiting to burst out. And burst out it does in one hell of a blast, and a hell of a climax.
The characters are easy to relate to and you willl be forgiven if you think they are actually based on real people, such is Kings talent. This book is, for the most part, an 'easy' read. The plot is clear and simple to follow. However just because the plot is simple doesnt mean it is any less engrossing. And get engrossed into Carrie's world you will.
A super read that is quite linear with fewer twists and turns than in Kings larger books, but exciting none the less.
He is truly the epitome of modern horror.
As with virtually everything Stephen King has written, this is enjoyable reading. It is also a quick-read for anyone who is intimidated by the length of some of the author's later works. I think the basic premise of this story appeals to many people because Carrie is, in many ways, the ultimate underdog, a girl terrorized by an insanely religious mother, victimized and persecuted by her peers, and alienated from the world around her. Everyone in life has been a victim or a bully, and I think the story of Carrie White does impart an important lesson to the folks out there who are treating someone they know the way that Carrie's classmates treated her. For those of us more sympathetic to Carrie's plight--the high school "outcasts," the "poor," the unpopular, the nerds, etc.--the story really matters here. Many of us daydream about the revenge we will exact from those kids who made fun of us all those years ago, and Carrie White shows us that revenge is not all it is cracked up to be. Carrie's "triumph" costs many innocent people their lives, and it doesn't really do a whole lot of good for Carrie herself.
You don't need me to tell you why you should read or re-read this book. This is Stephen King. By this point in time, unless you are just coming of age, you have already read this book if you are one of King's legions of fans or even if you were ever curious about this man's phenomenal success. Even more of you have probably seen the movie. While the movie was pretty faithful to the book, not even the magic of cinema can convey the true weight and atmosphere of this (or any other) book. Carrie is also King's first published novel. This is very important to would-be writers--clearly, King was still learning his craft when he wrote this novel, and thus the process of reading it provides any potential writer with a great learning experience. The format here is significantly different from King's more mature work. The story is told through several "voices," including a third-person account from a "survivor," extracts from research articles and newspaper items based on the events, as well as a more traditional author's voice. Thus, we get several perspectives on the characters and events. The story is not as fluid as it might be because we switch from one viewpoint to another as the tale unfolds. While I much prefer the style of King's later works, especially in terms of getting inside a character, King still infuses Carrie's world with realism and believability, proving that he can create masterful atmosphere and mood with any number of literary tools.
on 28 June 2013
It was like love at first sight when I first picked up this novel at the age of thirteen, loving the front cover of a girl with blood dripping down her face. I was attracted to it immediately and it would be a love affair that has lasted fifteen years.
I had just lost my dad and was completely depressed. Within the first few lines of this debut novel by my all-time favourite write Stephen King, I immediately forgot all my troubles and concerns and was engrossed within the story of the "ugly duckling girl" that was tormented by her peers, tortured emotionally and physically by her religiously demented mother and had a rare gift - the gift of telekinesis - that allowed her to move objects with her mind. I felt sorry for Carrie and suddenly started wishing that I had a gift like this, but the genius of King is the way he is able to twist this wonderful rare talent into the ultimate nightmare.
Carrie is a simple story of how a girl who has no friends, suddenly discovers the idea of women growing up and discovering her first period, a trauma for her brought on by the fact that she believes she is dying, as well as the fact that her peers believe this is just a funny joke that they can use to abuse Carrie with. This is the catalyst that starts the whole horror of what the novel Carrie really is. Through the use of false interviews and made-up articles written by King himself, the reader learns the true horror of what this girl possesses and what she has to go through to get to the point of prom night where she will use her power to enact vengeance on those that have tortured her.
The real horror is more so for the reader who is drawn into the entire drama, waiting to see what happens, wondering just where the horror will end - the way in which Carrie is treated both by her peers and her mother, and what she is forced to endure is probably more horrific than the way in which she enforces her power on the towns-people.
Carrie, the book, has often been criticised by a lot of readers as being very raw and only showing the tip of the ice berg towards King's talent. Yes, this is a debut novel and King is still finding his way through his talent, but the rawness and naivetés is what makes this one of King's most popular and enduring novels that bounds the reader under some sort of spell in which they cannot put the book down. I have read this numerous times and I never get tired of it. It shows King as a great story teller who really knows how to engage his audience and make them want to come back for more.
I first read Carrie fifteen years ago and I have never looked back since. Over the years I've discovered new books by King and discovered his talent doesn't dim but grows and he is one of those rare writers where if you were to read the same book again, it will become better for you rather than tedious. I do not consider Carrie to be the best of his novels - how could it be with all those other works of genius he has written, but it is one of my favourite and most treasured as it was the first of his novels that I read; I read it when I was going through the worst period of my life and it got me through some really bad times. It is a fantastic story with a great heart, a well written tale of sweet revenge and consequence. It is one of those books that a lot of people can identify with as it gives a clear understanding of what school is really like, both for the victim and the bully. I cannot rave about this novel enough. It is a truly wonderful book and if you haven't read Stephen King before, this is a good place to start. If you have read him before, you are in for a treat and will not be disappointed - if you have read this novel before, read it again. It's just as good, if not better, the second time. It's the debut of one of the most talented writers who has ever put pen to paper. It made me become a fan!
on 20 July 2014
Carrie is the story of how a young girl slowly develops powers of telekinesis leading to a crushing revenge on the contemporaries who have long ridiculed and abused her.
I am a great fan of Stephen King and have a large collection of his books yet - and it surprises me - this is the first tme that I have read Carrie. I found it rather tame. The plot takes too long to build up and the climax is too short. Hs later works are better.
on 24 July 2001
When I first read Carrie, I was blown away by the storyline and the style of writing, but the important thing was that we felt sympathy towards the protagonist,Carrie, so we weren't sure weather to condemn her actions at the end or root for her.
This is strange because King recently admitted that he never liked her, and felt that she was asking for the abuse she got. He based Carrie White on two people that he taught in his high school.
When I recently re-read the novel, it does not hit the same impact that it originally did and one factor constantly annoyed me: why did Chris go so far to humiliate her? Did she have a psycological problem or something.
But that was just an excuse for the action, so I'll let it go. If you want a good introduction to the Master of Terror, than you can't go wrong.
By the way, after you read this, compare it to the Brian De Palma/Sissy Spacek film and draw your conclusions on how faithfully it was adapted. The notorious ''shock-ending'' is not in the book.
on 4 June 2013
I'm probably one of the few people in the world who has never seen the 1976 film version of 'Carrie'. But I'm not naive enough that I'm not aware of the story. Everyone knows that the menstrual euphemism "taking Carrie to the Prom" is a reference to a blood-soaked Sissy Spacek. And yeah, I had a pretty good idea of how the plot ends. 'Carrie' is such a huge piece of pop-culture that it's hard to avoid it. So basically, I came to this novel with some prior knowledge and yet I was still floored by the book.
I think that's probably Stephen King's major talent. His novels are never simple, they always have some substance to them. I think what really surprised me when reading 'Carrie' is how much of Stephen King's voice and story-telling technique is present in his first published novel. I was expecting it to stand out a bit, to be a little less polished, a little less, well Stephen King-ish. The narrative was suitably dis-jointed, jumping from one Point of View to another, interspersed with articles from magazines and extracts from scholarly books. The way that King presents Carrie White's story, it's easy to believe that this girl really did exist, that the terrible events at the Prom and afterwards really did happen. And that's what I love about Stephen King and this novel especially, you never have cause to question the reality of his supernatural elements. They simply are.
Carrie White dreams of going to the Prom. She just wants to be your average teenager. But with a religion-obsessed mother and no friends, she is lonely, vulnerable and the perfect target for the school bullies. Her classmates, her teachers, even her Mother, all beat Carrie down. And those that don't are blind to the events, to the hatred and the acts of violence going on around them.
But quiet, mousy Carrie can't be your average teenager because she's no average girl. She hides a terrible secret. She has the power of telekinesis. She can make things happen with the power of her mind. And the more the bullies try to weaken Carrie's reserves, the more her power builds inside her. Until, as the bullying reaches a horrifying climax so does her inner strength and she unleashes her telekinetic power on those who caused her pain.
This is a liberating novel. For anybody who has been bullied, Carrie's explosion on Prom night is kind of like the daydreams you'd hold close to your heart as the taunts rained down on you. Who hasn't wanted to destroy those who try to destroy them? And that's one of the most endearing things about this novel. We've all been in Carrie White's shoes. We've all experienced the horror of repression, of people trying to hold us back. Deep down we all just want to be accepted, to fit in, to be loved. We all have our own version of Prom Night, that thing we're yearning for and feel we'll never get to experience. Carrie gives substance to our own teenage experiences. She embodies our own morbid fears.
And that is probably what I love most about Stephen King - his ability to write characters that get under your skin and stay there. I wish I'd been exposed to this novel as a meek, vulnerable teenager who needed validation, who needed somebody to identify. I think I would have seen something of poor Carrie in myself. And it would have let me dream.
Carrie is Stephen King's first published novel - and it shows. As interesting a story as it is, it's let down by some tremendously amateurish writing both stylistically and in terms of the characters. It lacks his usual wit, sophistication, and beautifully picked language. It's the book of an author that is still struggling to find his voice.
The clunkiness is apparent in a number of areas... instead of hinting or fencing with a revelation, King just comes out and says it. 'What none of them knew was that Carrie was telekinetic' is so far from his usual poetic foreshadowing that it's extremely jarring. The extracts from the fictional academic journals show an almost comical lack of understanding of how such documents are written. If it was lampooning academia, as House of Leaves does so elegantly, it would be fine. Instead it comes across as careless and lazy, and since these extracts are a considerable cornerstone of the book it makes the whole thing come across as careless and lazy.
None of this is to say that it's bad, because it isn't - it's just very far from the confidence and competence that he would so clearly demonstrate a mere year later with Salem's Lot. The story of Carrie has a lot of resonance - after all, who can't identify with the trials and travails of a bullied schoolchild? Who hasn't entertained bloody revenge fantasies where a position of powerlessness transforms into a position of unquenchable power? Who can't feel desperately sorry for Carrie when her outsider status was so constantly and consistently reiterated that her fondest dream was to just be left alone? There is much in the book to draw you in. It's a good story - maybe even a great story. It's just not a great execution.
on 12 April 2016
Man , am I glad I read ' Carrie ' ! I want to write these comments because some three days after finishing the book I still have a vividly dark image in my head of the unlucky , broken Carrie , trudging home from the prom , her wreck of a life in pieces around her. Stephen King's writing is so vivid I could not fail to be affected by her wretched destiny - I walked through the town with her during the finale , I felt everything she felt , even the famous blood sodden dress felt real and took on a new humiliation , independent of any film .
Before reading Carrie I had been mesmerised by the poetry Stephen Kings' 'Different Seasons ' and the depth of ' The Shining ' , so I bought the novel ' IT' as this appeared to be a favourite amongst his fans , but this was a terrible book in my opinion , so I abandoned the absurd story on page 812 ( nowhere near the end ) and I was nervy of reading anymore . But as you know , I did , and I feel richer for reading Carrie . Living in her shoes for two days was surreal indeed . Famously ' Carrie ' was Stephen Kings first novel , and although he must have been clued up about writing ,with him being an English teacher , I still think he must have a lot of natural skill to put this together in such a clever way - it has a distinct form which must have taken him patience and perseverance to pull off . Thank you Mr. King , I might read ' Christine' soon .
on 21 March 2016
Carrie is incredible, a must read for any horror or Stephen King fan. Despite Stephen not thinking it was worth publishing it is one of his best works. It's not very long, especially compared to some of his other works. However it's small size does not mean it isn't powerful.
on 3 January 2013
First released on April 5th 1974, it is a book that has seen many a strong hearted person quiver with fear.
I myself preferred the film, and being a self confessed bookworm, thats really hard for me to say.
I love all of Stephen Kings books, but this is the first time I found a film that beat the book.
Carrie is one of the most banned books in The United States school library.
It is a brilliant book what else can I say.
Carrie, is a teenage girl who like any other has her fair share of school bullying. The only difference is, Carrie has a power, a power stronger than her hate for the girls at school and stronger than her hate for her mother. With this power she will show them all who's boss.
This book, I feel will stick with me forever, after seeing the film especially!
The book is emotionally straining and un-put-downable!
Although I believe that Stephen King researched quite a bit for this story I feel the story of her and her mother should have been longer, as I felt that everything seemed to kick off suddenly without much background information.
In Conclusion, a brilliant book and I would definately recommend reading the book before watching the film.
However, I felt let down slightly by the lack of background information.