Jane Stewart's Reviews > Carrie

Carrie by Stephen King
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it was amazing
bookshelves: soft-horror, 5-star-other

I liked it because it was different. It made me feel good in a youthful way.

Carrie was abused by her religiously fanatic mother and reviled and bullied by her classmates. When she reaches puberty she gains a telekinetic ability. She can move things with her mind.

Others have called this “haunting sheer terror” and “gory and horrifying.” I feared the horror would keep me awake at night. But it did not. Actually it put me in a good mood.

I saw the movie years ago and I had no desire to read the book. I erroneously thought two things would depress me: a high school girl being bullied and (view spoiler) To my surprise I was not depressed. Maybe because it was so outrageous, or it had a comic book feel, but it was fun somehow. Whatever magic you’re using Steve, I’m buying. It feels like the author is a teenage boy who likes to write comic book stories with Pow - Kapow. Steve doesn’t rip me up emotionally like the male authors of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and The Book Thief did when they killed characters. And most female authors have depressed me when killing good characters. Steve writes differently.

The subject of bullying is usually depressing, but it wasn’t here. When Carrie was being bullied in the shower, I felt some sympathy, but it was more like “watching an ick traffic accident.” I was watching rather than identifying with the victim. The history of other abuse to Carrie by her peers and her mother was done mostly through telling (referring to after the fact) rather than showing. So that lessened the suffering experience. But then, more importantly, Carrie showed dignity. I admired her actions and standing up for herself related to going to the prom. The things she said to her mother and Tommy were so normal and perceptive that she didn’t have a victim feel. I didn’t expect her to be this way. For example, a teacher came up to Carrie at the prom and said “You ... are ... beautiful.” Tommy asked Carrie what the teacher said. Carrie said “I think she wanted to say she was sorry.” The author surprised me with unexpected things.

I like stories with someone getting revenge. But I don’t want to label this as revenge. I didn’t feel typical revenge feelings when Carrie was doing her thing. Although in a minor part of the story, I was happy to see something bad happen to one character and Carrie’s revenge on two characters.

Writing style: many points of view. Many scenes are narrated with different points of view. Some scenes are excerpts from articles written in the future. Some scenes are surviving witnesses being questioned by authorities. It was a little unnerving - jumping around like this. But it worked, and I really liked being in various characters’ heads.

This was the author’s first published novel. It is about half the length of typical novels.

Sissy Spacek was the main narrator and she was fabulous! I loved her interpretations. A man with a deep bass voice narrated three titles. The last title was “Part 3 (pause) Wreckage” The way he said it made me chuckle. It had a comic book feel. He said Wreckage the way someone would say Kapow, but slow and subtle.

Unabridged audiobook reading time: 7 hrs and 28 mins. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual content: no explicit sexual words but there were three sex scenes referred to more than shown. One of them was rape. Setting: mostly 1979 in Chamberlain (western Maine). Book copyright: 1974. Genre: soft horror.

I’ve reviewed the following Stephen King books. Dates are copyright dates.
5 stars. Carrie 1974
4 stars. Salem’s Lot 1975
4 stars. The Shining 1977 (3 stars for some readers - depressing subject)
5 stars. The Stand 1978 & 1990
3 ½ stars. Firestarter 1980 (not enough at the end & not happy enough)
3 ½ stars. Cujo 1981
4 stars. The Shawshank Redemption 1982 (novella in the anthology “Different Seasons”)
4 stars. The Body 1982 (novella in the anthology “Different Seasons”)
4 stars. Christine 1983
3 stars. The Talisman 1984
2 stars. Misery 1987 (depressing subject)
3 ½ stars. It 1980 (jumping in time and interrupted scenes)
3 ½ stars. The Dark Half 1989
3 stars. Needful Things 1991
4 stars. Dolores Claiborne 1993
2 stars. Insomnia 1994
5 stars. Rose Madder 1995
4 stars. The Green Mile 1996
2 stars. Bag of Bones 1998
4 stars. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 1999
5 stars. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft 2000
4 stars. 11/22/63 2011
4 ½ stars. Joyland 2013
3 stars. Doctor Sleep 2013
5 stars. Mr. Mercedes 2014

The Dark Tower Series (in order)
3 stars. The Gunslinger 1982
4 ½ stars. The Drawing of the Three 2001
3 stars. The Waste Lands 1991
3 stars. Wizard and Glass 1997
4 stars. The Wind Through the Keyhole 2012
4 stars. Wolves of the Calla 2003
2 stars. Song of Susannah 2004
2 stars. The Dark Tower 2004
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 11, 2012 – Shelved
May 11, 2012 – Shelved as: soft-horror
May 11, 2012 – Shelved as: 5-star-other
May 11, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel 1)Carrie by Stephen King

2)This book is about a teenage girl who is basically an outcast at school and is often made fun of. This book is about high school bullying and revenge. 3)The main character was very effective in this book because she was always very mysterious and quiet from the very beginning. The plot was also effective because the climax of this book was amazing. 4) The reviewer that I'm commenting on basically got everything, very detailed review. 5) Writing style : "She stood like a patient ox, aware that the joke was on her (as always), dumbly embarrassed but unsurprised"(King 7). I enjoy his writing style a lot because the sentences really paint a picture in one's mind. 6) I would definitely recommend this book to a friend.

Jane Stewart I enjoyed your comment. It’s an excellent review of the book. I especially liked your point 4. Thanks :)

Derek Plymesser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3B1iL... I'm giving away a first edition paperback copy of Carrie on my youtube channel, it ends January 30th.

Jane Stewart Your link does not work :(

Derek Plymesser My channel name is ddep666

message 6: by Ameera (new) - added it

Ameera I like how most readers don't like the comic feel and the shifting POVs but for you it seems to work. I didn't wanna read it because of the negative reviews but because of your's, Im going to go ahead and try:)

Jane Stewart Oh no, now I’m nervous. I hope you like it. Do keep in mind that I did the audio version. Sometimes hearing can be different than reading. Thanks for writing.

Nathan I like how your comment really tells the parts you loved and why you chose to read it!

Carmen Great review. What makes you classify something as "soft horror?" I've never heard that term before.

message 10: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Stewart Thanks Carmen.
When I think of horror I think of chainsaw body parts, blood, gore, slimy, sludgy mummies chasing people, lots of screaming. So I was surprised when I began reading Stephen King to find his bad guys were more like paranormal serial killers instead of the gory mummy type. I found his writing wonderful, especially as to characters, dialogue, motivations, situations. Sure, there’s more blood and gore in Carrie than in his other writing (that I’ve read), but it didn’t feel like horror in a B-movie. So I made up the term “soft horror.” If someone has a better term, I’ll be happy to use it.

Carmen LOL No, I don't have a better term. If that's your definition of "soft horror" then I think that is the kind of horror I like. I certainly don't need any chainsaw killers!

message 12: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Stewart LOL

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