Review: Carrie by Stephen King
Along with the infamous bestseller by Stephen King, The Shining, Carrie was the book I was desperate to get to. The premise sounded absolutely nuts - completely over the top and not what I would expect from this author. Carrie is apparently still to this day King's most sold novel, which speaks volumes for how many fans it has, but I'm still trying to place my finger on why.
Carrie White is no ordinary girl. She has the power of telekinesis. Firstly, to be invited to the prom by one of the most popular boys in school? A dream come true! But the night turns sour and she is forced to use her gifts on a town that mocks and despises her. This is a Stephen King classic about an outcast girl seeking revenge on her classmates.
King being the king of horror, I was ready to be completely terrified. Carrie didn't have that effect. Instead, reading this book reminded me of my experience reading My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix in October (but unfortunately not to the same standard). It is clear to see that Hendrix got a lot of his inspiration for his unique, camp take on horror from this bestselling novel, however he has managed to refine it and give it the quirks it deserves. Carrie felt like a first draft of a Hendrix novel, very camp - as we can decipher from an outlandish plot based around having your first period - but it didn't have the same humour. It wasn't pushed quite as far. I was expecting to scared, as I have felt when reading other novels by King. To me, it came across that this is not where King flourishes, and where he specialises is books that build tension, highly descriptive scares with an ominous setting. Of course, King isn't a stranger to an 'out-there' story line: a supernatural clown that lives in a drain and takes the form of your biggest fear? Pretty over-the-top some would say. However, this felt too young for King and it feels much more dated that his other books.
I can appreciate what Carrie has achieved, however I felt there are other books out there with the same tone that ultimately work better in the hands of a different writer. I did enjoy my time reading this book, but not as much as my other experiences with King's books.
Initial Prediction: 4.5 stars
Final Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: 5 April 1974 (my edition: 19 September 2019)
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
# of Pages: 242