Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

**This review is thanks to Stephen King blogathon over at Movie Reviews 101 and Movie Rob for October where I did a comparison of this book and the 1976 adaptation and 2013 remake**

My first Stephen King novel ever! How about that? You can take those judgy eyes off of me now. I know I know, its overdue and silly.  Keep in mind that I rarely read horror so I’m working on it, okay? Much to my luck, it also happens to be his first published novel.  How about that for coincidence? It does make me wonder whether I should do a challenge of reading through Stephen King’s novels and see how he’s has changed. It sure sounds like an extremely long-term project or maybe it’ll be a annual feature project just for Halloween month. What do you think about that?

Without further ado, let’s check it out!

by: Stephen King


Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction… – Goodreads

I’m definitely beating myself up for being late to the Stephen King party.  Carrie is a great book and pulled me right in.  I have a general idea of what Carrie is capable of doing even though I haven’t watched any of the movies before but its popular enough that I’ve heard bits and pieces here and there. There’s a few aspects that I truly love of this first entry into Stephen King’s career in the horror novel business.

First of all, the setup of the book is fantastic.  I love that he chose to do this with survivors and their interviews, interrogations, excerpts of “books” that were published based on the incident and also the reports from the day on what happened.  Intertwined in all that, we had the account of the true details flowing flawlessly from Carrie, her mom Margaret, Billy Nolan and Chris Hargensen and Sue Snell as the events that built and then fell apart into the disaster it became.

Second, Carrie may seem like the only person here that is amplified as crazy because she is kind of out of control and then she has this unknown thing called TK (aka Telekinesis/Telekinetic powers).  Except Carrie’s character is built from everything around her.  She literally has a breakdown and she wants revenge for everything that has happened.  But, can you blame her? Carrie’s been humiliated in the most excruciating way and she’s never been able to show her emotions because her mother is a little addicted to religion and makes her do all sorts of stuff and follow all kinds of rules to make sure she doesn’t sin.  Imagine living under those circumstances.  Anger and sorrow (if not other emotions) just buried inside and then the trigger hits and everything just becomes hell. And that is what happens. Carrie does get really far gone and out there but somehow, I didn’t know how to blame her. I’m not saying what she did is right because that just hits all sorts of ethical debates but I’m complimenting on how skillful Stephen King created the character of Carrie.

Except on that same line of thought, Carrie isn’t really the only person that is crazy.  Her mom has her issues, showing that having faith is good but sometimes when its overboard it becomes slightly illogical to say the least. Then there’s Billy Nolan who has some problems as well.  We never know quite why he is like that.  Everyone has their underlying motives and maybe its a stab at just how imperfect society is.  Just sometimes we just all hide or show what we think is suitable.  And its making us think about how much and how far you can push someone before they break. I guess the message behind this (if there really is one or maybe I’m overthinking it) is the third point I’m trying to make about what I liked.

Carrie is a great start to Stephen King’s career.  While this is supposed to be horror, its made me feel bad for Carrie more than I felt like it was a horror.  Sure, telekinetic powers, bullying and just people are scary and the impact of the surrounding forces in what becomes us is scary.  Even having someone’s lash out literally destroy an entire town is also very traumatizing.  But what happened to Carrie makes me sad more than I was scared.  I was really scared about what she would end up doing as her options for her future became less and less.  In the end, I might question whether this is a horror novel.  But I really liked it a lot. It was a pageturner with a great story setup and builds the characters really well especially Carrie.  Its definitely worth a read.

I’m looking forward to checking out more Stephen King novels in the future.

Did you read Carrie? What are your favorite Stephen King novels? Any recommendations?

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

  1. The book and the film really resonated with me. It was a perfect match–in high school the time he wrote it, graduating high school when the film came out. It made perfect sense and scared the crap out of me while simultaneously wishing I had her powers to zap a few beauty queens at school. Nice review, Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review as always, Kim! I think that is a great idea – to work your way through his novels. Personally I find The Green Mile a firm favorite where King is concerned, but I really enjoyed Carrie too. It is a quick and compelling read and it is astounding that this is King’s debut novel. I really find the man a brilliant author but I haven’t read much of his work – I think I’ll check what you liked and only read those 😀 (kidding)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow! Your first Stephen King book?! And one of the VERY few I haven’t actually read myself! I need to fix that!!! 🙂 Hmm… I’m a huge fan but not sure what to recommend as you’re new to him. One of my very favorites was The Dead Zone. The Shining was of course great as well. And I actually LOVE his short story compilations. And… I’ll shut up – we could be here all day. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stephen King brings the characters that populate his books to life so vividly. I have read a great many of his novels and short stories. Because he is so prolific, I can’t claim to have read everything he has written – but that’s okay, because it gives me more of his books and short stories to look forward to in the future.

    Salem’s Lot is my favorite Stephen King novel, and one that I highly recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ITshould be your next book by him. That one is my favorite of all of his. Salem’s Lot, The Stand, The Shining and its sequel Doctor Sleep to name a few. Might be hard to binge read his work. IT alone is over a thousand pages in paperback. Good luck. Glad you enjoyed Carrie. I still can’t believe it was in the trash and his wife was the one who told him it was too good to throw away.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read any Steven King books yet either; I started to read a bit of Pet Sematary in middle school, but only got a few chapters in before it had to go back to the library and then I just forgot about it.

    I watched the original movie adaptation of this a couple years ago, and my thoughts on it parallel yours on the book in a lot of ways. It really doesn’t feel like a horror story for the most part, so much as it feels like a tragedy unfolding.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 2015 Reading Challenge! | Tranquil Dreams

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