Carrie is Stephen King’s debut novel, so I was interested in seeing how his style has changed over his career. I’ve read Bag of Bones and The Shining, before, and I’m currently struggling through IT, so I’m no stranger to him, either.
What immediately struck me about this book was how strange it was set out. There are no chapters, only occasional interjections from metafictional accounts from the characters within the story, reporting on the events, however many years into the future. This gives it the feel of an ongoing report, much like an extended essay, rather than a novel.
It’s a strange read, in that respect, but I love the way that King writes. It more than made up for the odd layout. Carrie White is a schoolgirl, much like anyone else, except she has dormant telekinetic abilities and an overly religious mother.
I feel a bit odd giving much of the plot away, mostly because it’s such an odd story. But I did (somewhat grimly) enjoy the horror in it. It’s more subtle than, say, The Shining, but it’s also a lot more grisly. Imagine putting a group of high schoolers through a meat grinder. That’s the extent of what Carrie does.
We, as a reader, are meant to find some kind of pity towards Carrie, pity I myself definitely feel. But make your mind up for yourself. Read the book. The less you know about it before beginning, the better. I’ve seen most of the 2013 film, which spoilt my experience somewhat.
Out of all of King’s books that I’ve read, this was the easiest to understand and get into. If you want a good introduction to the horror genre, then you can’t really get better than this. It is pretty gory, overall, though, so maybe if you’re a bit squeamish then you’d be better off with a psychological horror from him (The Shining or Misery, perhaps).
Overall, I gave this a solid 5 star rating – I loved the style when it got into it, and the story was gripping enough to seize and hold my attention all the way through. Many people consider it to be a weaker example of King’s ability to write, but it’s definitely the most enjoyable book by him that I’ve finished so far.
What books should I read and review next? Leave a comment down below and I’ll reply as soon as I can!