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A book by Stephen King.

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More a tragedy than a horror story

  • Jun 8, 2010

I mean, are the events of Carrie horrifying? Sure. The destruction of an entire town and the deaths of 400 of its inhabitants, including half its graduating high-school seniors, is pretty horrifying, as is the way they died. Is Margaret White a horrifying glimpse into how religion can go really, really bad in a person's life? Absolutely. (For what it's worth, I tend to consider myself a fairly fundamentalist Christian...and Margaret White is not only pretty much crazy, she is a Religious Person, not a Christian. If I were to guess, I'd say that even out of the most fundamentalist Christians you could find in the US--way more so than me--99% would consider Mrs. White to be misguided at best. Just so no one thinks that's what you turn into when you mostly take the Bible literally. That's what Religion and legalism and also craziness make you.)

Anyway. I suppose what makes something a horror story, for me, is a horrifying person/thing/monster/monstrous person who's causing the damage, and something close enough to reality that I'll be freaked out by the possibility that this could really happen omg. The second isn't necessary, but it's why I tend not to like horror in general. And I thought this was an extremely sad, extremely well-written book, and it was kind of horrifying, but because I found Carrie herself a sympathetic character, it struck me more as a tragedy than a horror story. Carrie has had a pretty horrific life, but I liked her, so I found it terribly sad that she was pushed so far she finally, completely snapped. There were so many different points where things could have gone another way and everything could have turned out happily or at least not as badly, but the rather brilliant way it was written, interspersing the narrative with all these excerpts and interviews to give it the appearance of fact, made the tragic ending inevitable and inexorable.

(As a side note, I thought the very last bit of the epilogue was an odd way to do the horror-movie "to be continued..." sort of thing--other telekinetics exist and they are AMONG US OH NOES, but frankly I found it more hopeful than anything, since Annie at least seemed to be growing up in a loving family.)

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More Carrie (book) reviews
review by . July 07, 2010
Good read, but left me wanting more.
       I loved the movie Carrie, so I was excited to find used copy of the book and promptly read it cover to cover.        Carrie White is a damaged young adult who suffers intense isolation at school and violent psychological abuse from her lunatic mother. When Carrie hits puberty, strange things begin happening around her whenever she gets upset. Soon Carrie finds she can control these episodes and harness her strange new powers. A lifelong underdog, …
review by . December 18, 2009
Carrie White is a 17 year old high school student.  Her mother is a deeply religious person who dominates ever aspect of her daughter's life.  One day during near the end of her P.E. class, Carrie experiences her first period.  Horrified by it and being humiliated by her classmates They bombard her tampons and sanitary napkins.  This event is just another in a long line of pranks, insults and other humiliating acts that she has experienced all of her life in the town of Chamberlain.  …
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
Is creepy but good. For me this is a story of a lot of monsters and the sweet Carrie. She came with the radical power to punish disrespectful and loveless people.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
Really good first novel from Stephen King that shows a lot of his trademark style just beginning to develop, but, despite the tempting short length, probably not a great introduction to Stephen King.
Quick Tip by . July 05, 2010
Stephen King's scary book excellently written but scary book about a mistreated girl with unusual powers who tries to fit in with the cxowd. But when some revenge.
review by . August 01, 2009
In the early 70's a young man named Stephen King had just married and was struggling financially with a teaching job.  When he'd be done grading papers for the night he'd spend much of his time writing.  The idea, for Carrie isn't really related to King's teaching job at all.  In fact, King channeled most of the ideas from two girls he knew in high school who were picked on pretty badly.  And most of us can remember the guy or gal who was picked on in school (High school or otherwise).  …
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
serves every one right...what they got
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Really creepy story. I read this when I went through a reading scary stories and novels phase back in my teenage years. If you like the creepy, scary stories then this is a good one.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
excellent book, I could read this one over and over
About the reviewer

Ranked #1343
   20-something grad student in English, hoping for a master's in library science afterward. Love reading and writing, especially SF/F.
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About this book


Why read Carrie? Stephen King himself has said that he finds his early work "raw," and Brian De Palma's movie was so successful that we feel like we have read the novel even if we never have. The simple answer is that this is a very scary story, one that works as well--if not better--on the page as on the screen. Carrie White, menaced by bullies at school and her religious nut of a mother at home, gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers, powers that will eventually be turned on her tormentors. King has a way of getting under the skin of his readers by creating an utterly believable world that throbs with menace before finally exploding. He builds the tension in this early work by piecing together extracts from newspaper reports, journals, and scientific papers, as well as more traditional first- and third-person narrative in order to reveal what lurks beneath the surface of Chamberlain, Maine.


News item from the Westover (ME) weeklyEnterprise, August 19, 1966: "Rain of Stones Reported: It was reliably reported by several persons that a rain of stones fell from a clear blue sky on Carlin Street in the town of Chamberlain on August 17th."

Although the supernatural pyrotechnics are handled with King's customary aplomb, it is the carefully drawn portrait of the little horrors of small towns, high schools, and adolescent sexuality that give this novel its power, and assures its place in the King canon. --Simon Leake --This text ...

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ISBN-10: 0671039725
ISBN-13: 978-0671039721
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy

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