If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now then you’ll know how much I love Stephen Kings writing. I’ve seen the film adaptation of Carrie multiple times but I really wanted to read it as well to cross it off my list + see any more details which didn’t make it into the film.
Carrie White is no ordinary girl.
Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.
To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie – the first step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.
But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she is forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her…
As I mentioned above, I was familiar with the story before I read this book but I still really enjoyed reading Carrie despite this. At roughly 240 pages, this is one of Kings shorter novels but still packs a punch. I read this in a few sittings, and it’s easy to get into. I’d really recommend this as an introductory story if you’ve not read any of Kings other books.
The story jumps back and forth in time from after the disastrous events of prom night to the lead up to the prom itself. The parts in the ‘present day’ are told through excerpts of reports, newspaper articles and interviews which gives a reader the benefit of reading a range of perspectives and also seeing the way events are twisted by sceptics who don’t believe in the supernatural. In contrast the events which are in the ‘past’, are told in different characters perspectives which is super effective in this novel.
My favourite sections were from the perspective of Carrie herself and Sue Snell. These girls are polar opposites but both offer such interesting insights into how the female experience in high school can be so different. While Carrie is ostracised and tormented, due to her hyper religious and sheltered upbringing, Sue is popular and the golden girl simply because she fits into the mould. I sort of liked Sue because she seemed conflicted about her popularity, it’s like she realises that it’s fleeting but she also clings on to it at times like a security blanket of sorts.
While there is no doubt that this story has many elements of horror and it’s definitely freaky – it’s also really tragic. So much of what happens in the novel is down to the cruelty of people. Wherever she turns, Carrie is bullied, at school with her peers who mock her and at home where her domineering mother oppresses her and stops her from living the way she wants to. She is trapped and incredibly lonely, which honestly made me feel so sympathetic towards her. There’s a poem Carrie writes which really illustrates this:
“Jesus watches from the wall,
But his face is cold as stone,
And if he loves me
As she tells me
Why do I feel so all alone?”
I think anyone who reads Carrie would find it hard not to feel sorry for her and realise she is the victim pretty much all the way. What happens on prom night is a result of the constant bullying becoming too much and it’s a sobering reminder of how actions and words can really affect people.
I always appreciate the way King manages to write a horror or thriller but there’s always a message or some meaning which can be taken from them (for the most part anyway!) While Carrie isn’t one of my favourite books from King, it’s still a memorable and worthwhile read.
★★★★ – 4 Star Rating
Have you read or seen any of the film adaptations of Carrie? If so, would love to hear what you thought! Or if you haven’t read or seen it, does it sound like a story for you?
Until next time,