Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: "Carrie" by Stephen King

On April, 5th 1974 a novel titled "Carrie" by an unknown author named Stephen King hit the shelves. Mr. King (whoever he is) wrote the novel on a portable typewriter while living in a trailer as he was struggling to make ends meet. The author himself (and many critics) believed that his book was garbage as a few months earlier he threw the manuscript in the trash, only to be rescued by his wife Tabitha.

On April, 5th 1974 the world met with Carrie White, a high school student bullied by her peers. She was one of the most disturbing (and disturbed) characters in literature. She was living in an obsessive world between the punishing school and her semi-crazy religious mother (knee, pray and repent). Carrie had no life to live, she had no hope. But, she had an amazing gift.

On April, 5th 1974 a person anonymous to the world was the first one to pick up a book, a Doubleday edition. On the cover, a half picture of a girl and a yellow stylized title on a strange hemochromatic (blood, blood) background. This person was the first paying customer of a brand new publishing empire and the first involuntary witness of Carrie White's struggles in high school.

Carrie, First Edition (1974)

Carrie is Stephen King's first novel. It spawned at least two movies, the most famous by Brian De Palma starring Sissi Spacek, in the theaters two years after the novel was released.
Carrie is most definitely a well written book, although some readers might find King's narrative frustrating as it jumps to several places in just the turn of a page. Carrie is not the chronological narration of Carrie White's ordeal during her high school years, but rather a collection of documentation and first hand accounts mixed with some omniscient narration.

King's novel impresses since the first pages, where White's first menstrual period happens at her school's showers in front of the other girls. Of course, they bully her and she panics. Unfortunately, during the novel she is tortured more and more and she fails to get any kind comfort from her religious extremist mother (a character vaguely similar to The Mist's Mrs. Carmody). Since she is an outsider, no one knows her true gift: telekinesis. This gift will lead to serious trouble to the New England town of Chamberlain.

 One interesting thing to notice is that Stephen King reveals the ending very early in the book. There is almost no denouement. As in a Columbo episode, the reader will know soon what happened in Chamberlain and will have only to find out the events leading to the ending. In all actuality, the main event - the prom - happens halfway through the book! Kudos to King for being able to keep the reader interested with a superb, although risky, narration.
Overall, a pretty good book which is worth reading.

Next is Stephen King's Salem's Lot.

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