Flannery's Reviews > Rage

Rage by Richard Bachman
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's review
Mar 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011, reviewed-2011
Read from March 11 to 12, 2011

Holy hell, I had no clue what I was getting into with this one. I am a SK lover and King’s earlier Richard Bachman books are some of my favorites. (read The Long Walk and The Running Man if you haven’t) I happened upon this one rather randomly and couldn’t stop reading it. It is out of print, for reasons that will be absolutely clear by the time you are done reading the next paragraph. (SK and his publisher both agreed that it was for the better)

Written in 1977, Rage starts of with a bang (pun intended), when Charlie Decker gets called to the office, mouths off, lights his locker on fire, then shoots two teachers. He holds his entire class hostage and the rest of the book is basically a psychotherapy session wherein he and his classmates tell stories of times when they “got it on.” (no sexual connotation) Are we all a little bit crazy? I have no clue.

The shared experience of the hostage situation was weird…but not unrealistic. It is amazing to see how people react in stressful situations. I mean, there is a body lying in the room and everyone is basically shooting the shit, but I could buy it and that is what is kind of scary. It’s that moment when everything is so serious and you’ve gone beyond the seriousness to some sort of relaxation. King writes, “When you’re five and you hurt, you make a big noise unto the world. At ten you whimper. But by the time you make fifteen you begin to eat the poisoned apples that grow on your own inner tree of pain…You bleed on the inside.” God, how sad is it that ?

When I saw the movie Se7en, I remember thinking it was crazy to imagine a government keeping tabs on what people are checking out at the library. This is the type of book that would be on those hypothetical lists. (hypothetical? :-)) There are at least two instances of teenagers taking guns to school and holding their classmates hostage after reading this book. Do I think it is dangerous? No, not any moreso than all the other crap we are bombarded with daily. Impressionable teenagers will find their inspiration from somewhere else. And this book is more of a commentary on how parents affect their children for better or worse. The takeaway should be not to exhibit violence in school but to keep lines of communication open, not be a shitty parent, and to treat your classmates like human beings. (is this even possible in high school?)

Stephen King is the ultimate storyteller. I swear, on nearly every page, I’m either chuckling, underlining, or completely aghast. He is like that friend that we all have who can tell a story about something completely benign and have you rolling on the floor with laughter or make you cry just by recounting the plot of a sad movie. I’m sad that more people won’t get the chance to read this book. If you can stomach it, definitely find a copy.

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Comments (showing 1-32 of 32) (32 new)

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Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Great review, Flann. My favorite SK novel is Dolores Claiborne. There's something about it that just gets to me.

message 2: by Tatiana (last edited Mar 12, 2011 06:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana This novel, Dolores Claiborne and Misery are probably my favorite King novels. I prefer his psychological thriller stuff to paranormal.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I do, too. I loved Misery, it's one of my favorites also. But Dolores Claiborne touched me when I was in my late teens and I keep re-reading it every couple of years.

Becky Excellent review, Flannery! :)

FYI - This book is contained in The Bachman Books, which is a LOT easier to find than a copy of Rage alone. (I've found 3 so far... LOL)

message 5: by Flannery (last edited Mar 12, 2011 09:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Flannery Thanks, Maja and Becky! A friend of mine just read Misery and I was wondering if seeing the movie makes the book less suspensful...any thoughts?

Becky No, I don't think so... there are some major changes between the book and the movie. Well, at least from what I've seen of the movie. I haven't ever been able to watch the whole thing... *shudder*

Bridget Where did you end up finding a copy of Rage? I am so intrigued now by your review. I love Bachman books.

Flannery I'm emailing you as I type. Er, directly after I type.

Bridget emailing me? how exciting!!

message 10: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather Fascinating!

Flannery Heather--I think you'd really be interested in this one because of the psychology.

message 12: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather Sometimes stuff like that does interest me, but sometimes it's annoying (like if I disagree w/it or find it unrealistic) and/or I feel like I'm doing work! I did just tell bridget tho that I want to read more SK.

Tammy Moreau I scored a first edition copy of this book for .75!! So happy

Flannery Wow! That is a seriously sweet find. Take good care of it:)

Jeremy A I still have my old copy of this one that came with the other Bachman books. It's a powerful story, but it really shouldn't be reprinted.

message 16: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I remember thinking it was crazy to imagine a government keeping tabs on what people are checking out at the library. This is the type of book that would be on those hypothetical lists.

You do know they do this, right? That's why most libraries no longer save your loan history.

Flannery I've heard that they do but I wasn't sure it was ever proven as fact. I just remember the detectives in the movie Se7en going to find Kevin Spacey's loan history and finding out he checked out all sorts of, er, "problematic" books. (for lack of a better word)

message 18: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I think it had been standard to check that for people who were suspected of crimes (you know, like seeing if a person suspected of poisoning his wife had checked out anything on poisons), but then under the Patriot Act they started watching to see who checked out anything on "suspicious" topics like bomb-making, aviation, Islam... Most public libraries responded by refusing the keep the records. So practically speaking it doesn't actually happen much.

message 19: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Kevin Spacey was the bad guy in Se7en?! 15 years late (Usual Suspects)spoiler...Rage + Usual Suspects = violent psychodrama at its peak.

Shibu Flannery, the Richard Bachman novellas are some of my favourite stories. 'The Long Walk' and' Rage,' I find enthralling. I see so many parallels between' Rage' and what happened at Columbine that it's eerie. in my humble opinion, SK is one of the language's great writers. Thank you for the review.

Flannery I love the Bachman books as well. The Long Walk and The Running Man are two that just flew by for me--I think I read both of them in one sitting.

message 22: by Tommy (new) - added it

Tommy Yeargin Thanks for the review. It's on my (currently short) reading list for 2013 q2.

Flannery You'll finish this one very quickly--you can't turn the page fast enough, just to see what happens. (in a terrifying way, of course)

message 24: by Erika (new) - rated it 1 star

Erika In my library they also sold all the Rage books they had available in English and Spanish, because they didn't want any more people borrowing it!

It just made me very curious to read it!

Flannery You should buy up some of the used copies of The Bachman Books online and then hide them in your library;-) That'd show 'em.

message 26: by Erika (new) - rated it 1 star

Erika haha, I know, right? they would be like, The Bachman Books? oh, that's a nice contribution to the library, thank you!

I'm actually reading it right now from The Bachman Books, it was the only way I could find it. My husband bought a copy in Spanish from the library some time ago, before we knew the library was going to get rid of everything, but it seems he lost it :/

message 27: by Janet (new) - added it

Janet I am a terrific Stephen King fan. Somehow I missed this one but your review is just great. How can parents not know your kids have guns. These kids don't buy these guns on the street on the way to school. (But sadly, there probably are areas where you can do just that!)
But the NRA says guns don't kill people do; how many people can be mowed down by a knife? I guess that's the first time 'mowed down by a knife' was ever in print!

Flannery Janet, this book is pretty shocking. I hope you can eventually find a copy. You're right, the accessibility of guns is scary, but just as scary is how many parents seem oblivious to their children's activities.

Erika, it is so interesting to me that you rated it 1 star. I'm off to go read your review if you have one!

message 29: by Erika (last edited Sep 29, 2013 11:37PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Erika Uh oh, I just "reviewed" this book today, and just pasted a picture that I thought was funny... No insightful thoughts on the book, sorry. I basically gave it 1 star because I was getting bored with it, and had to force myself to finish it.

Flannery I can totally see that. I was expecting it to be filled with horror but it's totally more slow-paced and about the characters after the initial action.

That dog picture you posted is creepified:)

message 31: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Kington Can someone email me a copy of rage. Either through pictures or pdf

Shibu Like you, Flannery, I've really enjoyed the Bachman books. 'Rage' is a good one. I wonder whether the kids involved in the Columbine shootings read this book? Scary good.

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