I read Carrie (Horror 253 pages) by Stephen King today. This is the second of my five required books for this term that I have completed.
I’m not really quite sure what to say about this book, other than it was remarkably sad. I must be one of the few people on the planet who had not read this book, nor seen the movie until I finished it less than an hour ago. I still kind of knew the gist of it before reading it, and I knew how it would end. I mean, how can you not know how this book is going to end?
In a lot of ways, I felt that the end demonstrated a complete and total sense of justice. I honestly felt like the absolute disaster that happened for the last half of the book was the way things should go. Everyone died except for the few people who saw the misery and tried to make amends.
Even though this book was written back in the 60s, King did an amazing job of not dating the story at all. There wasn’t anything in the story that indicated that this isn’t a story that could have happened at any time, anywhere in American history. I suppose there were clues that it was written in the 60s, especially when the excerpts from the “Dictionary of Psychic Phenomena” and those others instances like it, define telekinesis. I think that’s one of those things that we as a society today are more likely to just know and understand. Or maybe that’s just my view, having grown up with comic books and all sorts of fantasy / science fiction stuff.
I think this story did a great job of capturing the actual human spirit. Not all of us are good and not all of us are bad and most of us really will just do whatever everyone else is doing, though we feel guilty or upset about it in our own heads. I think the main idea of this story is to show the consequences of our actions.
You take high school, for instance. I don’t know of too many people who actually enjoyed high school, but we all know that it’s something we have to get through. And I remember that I knew about the school athletic teams and how they seemed to have a higher instance of people who thought drinking and smoking and partying were the “cool” things to do. I also knew that those people probably weren’t really worth my time or effort. And I also knew that there were those people who would go out of their way to make life miserable for other people. Which just goes to show that Carrie easily could have been any school at any time since there were cars on the roads.
The horror element in this story isn’t even Carrie’s telekinesis. The horror element is the lengths that these kids go through to psychically abuse one of their fellow students, one of their fellow human beings.
I guess one of the things that really stands out for this book is that it shows that a writer can produce popular fiction that still withstands the test of time and can be picked up forty years after it was written and the reader can still get the exact same reaction as a reader who read this back in the 60s. It’s a pretty impressive feat and one that I think is a good goal to aspire to, especially as I continue my own writing with hopes of someday making a living from my writing.
Overall, and interesting book.
Works cited: King, Stephen. Carrie. New York: Pocket Books, 1999. Original print 1974.