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Published by Simon and Schuster Genres: Dark Fiction, Horror, Supernatural
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In one way or another, everybody abused Carrie. Her fanatical mother forbade this 16-year-old misfit everything that was young and fun. She was teased and taunted by her classmates, misunderstood by her teachers, and given up as hopeless by almost everyone.
But Carrie had a secret: she possessed terrifying telekinetic powers that could make inanimate objects move, a lighted candle fall, or a door lock. Carrie could make all kinds of startling, bizarre, and malevolent things happen. And so she did one night, when feeling scorned and humiliated...and growing angrier and angrier...she became the vengeful demon who let the whole town feel her power.
This was the first Stephen King novel I read. I remember grabbing it from my dad’s nightstand and claiming it as my own. I was eleven. Eleven. It is the book that fueled my desire and lifelong love of reading. But, eleven?! Reading it now I’m a little horrified that I read it at such a young age. It has quite a bit of sex and disturbing scenes but I turned out relatively normal so I guess no damage was done 😉
This is your classic bully revenge tale and it is as relevant today as it was back in the day. Carrie White was drawn with such painful vulnerability that it will make you ache for her and cringe at many of the scenes. Carrie is an innocent who is abused by her religious wingnut of a mother. Her mother never consoles but is quick to mete out punishment for the most ridiculous of offenses (such as talking to a neighbor).
“Go to your closet and pray!”
And this, when Carrie doesn’t want to eat her pie:
“It makes me have pimples, Momma.”
“Your pimples are the Lord’s way of chastising you. Now eat your pie.”
Can you imagine growing up with a mother like this? How can you not feel for Carrie?
Anyway, there isn’t much for me to say here. I remembered it being a straight-forward tale told by Carrie but I think that’s because I’ve seen so many of the movie versions between my first reading of the book and now. It wasn’t written that way at all. I enjoyed the flashbacks, news reports, victim on the spot interviews and such that composed the story and I’m glad I finally got around to rereading it. It held up incredibly well and the audio version that I listened to was skillfully read by Sissy Spacek who really knows the part. If you’re into audiobooks I highly recommend checking out this version.
About Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.
He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.
Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.
In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.
Some people hug a teddy when the world gets to be too much. Me? I settle in with a scary book.