Aug 2, 2011

A date with Carrie (S. King)

Source: Goodreads

Here's quite a shameful admission: I read only one King's novel, and that was in eight grade and I have no idea anymore which one it was. I started The Green Mile in summer before high school, but my English was too poor to make it through the first few pages (I received my first English lessons in high school). I borrowed Carrie from my über-turbo-wonderful boyfriend. This edition has a special introductory note by King in which he explains how he came to extend a short story that landed in the trash into his first and probably most widely recognized novel. His wife prompted him to finish it because they needed money. (I loved it how, when they run out of money, she would tell him to "come up with a monster".)

Carrie was scary, no doubt about that. Not gory-bloody-scary like the last book I reviewed and which had me squirming before all the blood that was oozing from the pages (that came later in Carrie). Nope, Carrie was scary on another level. A mother who is a religious fanatic and is about to pry her daughter's eyes out. Check. A bunch of girls molesting you when get your first period. Check. Electric cables frying people on the street. Need I say more?
(Side note. What is it about periods that freaks men out? I don't get it, really.) 

King lets the story and Carrie's rage grow gradually until it explodes. It's the very ending, when you realize what actually happened that scares the hell out of you. It's not the horror of Carrie's rage and ensuing rampage that I liked so much about this novel. It's the writing. One word-awesome. The story being told in present tense, the flow is very natural, and the detached paper clippings, medical and scientific reports contrast sharply with the flow (no pun intended). Like, we were trying to show you where this leads. And then after the final bang, the final report an the death toll screams into your face "Told you so, but it's too late now, ain't it?"

I loved Carrie, the Carrie who she is when she is not being bullied and the Carrie who doesn't throw people against walls. What about the rest of the characters? Sue? The goody-two-shoes who grows up in the course of the novel? (And again, what's the deal with her period? I mean, seriously, guys...) Was Sue a device to prove something? Not all high school teenager girls throw pig blood on fellow students, some share her perfect boyfriends for prom? More than one character in this novel is merely more than a type, and that is the exact reason why I cared for Carrie most. Good Carrie, bad Carrie, a real-life bullied Carrie, the pushed-to-the-edge Carrie who has limits when it comes to being smothered both by her mother and her peers, the Carrie who can't run away from who she is and is not even sure it's such a bad thing, the Carrie who just wants to be given a chance.

 A fast, intellectually satisfying read, one to re-read, definitely. More King ahead, as soon as darling gets back home and brings Misery.
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