Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Rating: 3/5

A horror story that I found boring for the first half but pretty good for the second.

Book CWs

  • Death
  • Bullying
  • Abuse (Physical and Emotional)
  • Mind Controlling
  • Profanity

Premise

Carrie White has been subject to her religious mother’s abuse since she was a child. So much knowledge about the human body has been kept from her that when she experiences her first period in the girls locker room, she thinks she’s bleeding to death.

Bullied basically her entire life by her peers, the period incident only causes further ammunition for her classmates, and she soon finds herself being pelted with tampons and pads while she lies naked and helpless on the floor.

After being rescued by her PE teacher and sent home, Carrie realizes that she has the ability to move things with her mind. She would never use it to really hurt anyone–at least she didn’t plan to–that is, until prom night happened.

Review (No Spoilers)

The reason I picked up Carrie was because I saw a few people reading it for some August readathons and there seemed to be a consensus that it was a scary book. I didn’t really know what it was like to be scared by a book and I jumped at the new opportunity.

I decided to read this book for the Astronomy class challenge in House Battles–I have not at all figured out what to count my books for in Mythothon so don’t ask– so I only read it at night. I thought this would be totally fine because it’s a relatively short book and reading horror at night felt like a different type of challenge in itself.

Unfortunately, the experience did not pan out as I had hoped. I started the book under the belief that I would finish it in one sitting but I found it extremely hard to do that. The main reasons being that I was super bored for over half the book.

Since I’m new to horror books, I wasn’t aware that a lot of them do a flashback type of storytelling where the event of interest has already occurred. In Carrie, you already know something terrible involving Carrie White is going to go down on prom night from the start of the book; you just have to weave your way through the flashbacks to figure out what actually happened.

My problem with this was that I would often mentally checked out while reading some of the articles/interviews written after the incident. (I mean I also sometimes checked out during the flashbacks too but less often). I have this issue with adult books where I think they say too many things that I don’t care about and this proved to be the case with Carrie.

I read a few GoodReads reviews where people expressed that Carrie seemed like it was a 100 page novel that wanted to be longer and so random things were added in to give it volume. I kind of felt the same way.

On top of begin bored during half of the book, I found the writing style to be frustrating. This was my first Steven King novel so I’m not used to his writing but he had these parenthetical statements littered throughout the book. They would be placed to interrupt a sentence in ways that I thought were annoying and confusing. Here are some not-spoilery examples:

She could, she knew she could be
(what)
in another place.

Carrie (page 32)

The idea that she had let him fuck her
(do you have to say it that way yes this time I do)
simply because he was Popular, for instance.

Carrie (Page 36)

I was happy when I finally got to the Prom Night (Part Two) portion of the book because that’s when things started picking up. The last part of the book was by far the scariest portion, though it came at the expense of me not understanding what Carrie’s powers actually are.

The ending was satisfying as I felt like it ended the way almost any horror novel should end, with an open conclusion.

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