Carrie (Book) Review

Carrie White is no ordinary girl

Carrie is one of those stories I’ve been aware of since the beginning of time because of the Brian De Palma adaptation. It was a terrifying movie as a teenager and is still eerily sad today. I’d never picked up the book but as mentioned here, I was inspired to do so by a podcast I really love.

I couldn’t put Carrie down and devoured it in two days. The story is so familiar but the book is more nuanced (who knew?). Carrie’s tale is inter-spliced with witness reports (from Prom Night), reports on the telekinetic phenomenon and news reports from earlier incidents in Carrie’s psychic past – which I really enjoyed. It was very satisfying to get more of an insight into her character and that of her mother, who is awful, frankly.

You can’t really read this story without feeling regret for the life Carrie should’ve had, though those feelings are naturally counterbalanced with disgust and impatience for her, exactly the emotions stirred in her classmates and especially, Susan Snell. The book also makes me wonder how I would have been at school around a girl like this, and think back to how I was around anybody notably different. I’m sure I wasn’t always nice as a kid and I think this story also makes you feel guilt for past actions, so from the off you’re already in Sue’s shoes. It’s an unsettling feeling.

We all know Carrie’s story by now so I don’t need to tell you how is all pans out. My favourite parts are often her inner monologue, those give you more insight in to how she feels during certain events. Prom night is so hopeful and heartbreaking, and as I read it I willed the ending to change, that Carrie would be fine and go on to live a fulfilling excellent life. Alas.

Carrie is a fat girl in the book (which I didn’t know until recently). In the film versions she has always been skinny and as has Mrs White, but in Stephen King’s novel they are both grotesque in part because they are fat. Carrie is repeatedly described as bovine and Mrs White was left on the shelf because she was large (and also a religious fanatic, if we’re being honest). King often writes characters as hideously fat as though that’s the worst thing they could be and of course I don’t like it.

Carrie is picked on because she’s weird and her looks make her an easy target for the bullies but apart from the odd slur, no more reference is made to her size, at least by her classmates. Although I see it as problematic, it could have been a lot worse. Again, I’m not crazy about the fatphobia in King’s books and I’m sure I have a lot more to uncover as I work my way through more of his novels.

I do love King and he’s on my mind lately. He’s not perfect but he’s one of the greatest storytellers I know and this so far is probably his best.

Book details:

Carrie
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (13 Oct. 2011)
ISBN-10: 1444720694
ISBN-13: 978-1444720693
Bought paperback (new)

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