Carrie by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Outcast Carrie White has a secret. She's telekinetic. When a popular girl's boyfriend invites her to prom as atonement, she accepts, completely unaware of the horrors lurking on the horizon...
Carrie is Stephen King's first novel and has been part of our cultural landscape since it was made into a movie in the late 1970s. Somehow, I've escaped reading it or seeing the movie until now. I knew (or thought I knew) most of the wrinkles of the plot going in, due to sai King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and numerous cultural references over the years.
Carrie is told using an interesting structure, alternating passages from Carrie's timeline as it unfolds and excepts from accounts of what happened at the prom in the far future. The structure reminded me of Not Comin' Home to You at times. I think Block did it better.
The story itself is pretty good. It's a story of rejection, acceptance, betrayal, and bloody, horrible vengeance. It very much feels like a first novel, over written in places, but there's still a certain Kingliness to it.
While I wouldn't say I disliked the story, I wasn't in love with it. It feels like a novellette that was padded to bring up to novel length to me. Maybe it's because I already knew where the story was headed, both because of the structure and because it's been part of our pop culture for so long, I just wasn't hooked by it. The ending was much more horrific than I thought it would be, though. The rampage was by far the best part of the book.
Possible connection with another Stephen King story: Teddy DuChamp, owner of Teddy's Amoco, is mentioned as having died in 1968 but his son still locks up the gas pumps. The age doesn't seem right for Teddy DuChamp of The Body, though.
I'm glad Stephen King broke into the business with Carrie but it just wasn't my bucket of pigs' blood. Two out of five stars.
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