Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie White is no ordinary girl.

Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.

To be invited to prom night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie – the firststep towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.

But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she is forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her.

Yes, I know, I’m very very late to this one! In a discussion with my book group earlier this year we realised that none of us had ever actually read a Stephen King book. Thinking that it was about time we did, we chose Carrie as a monthly read.

Being an iconic story I was sort of familiar with it but not in a way where I could have told anyone the basic plot. Given that its generally accepted as part of the horror genre I was expecting something a lot more traditionally ….horrifying. That is to say I was anticipating Carrie to be more stereotypically demonic, evil if you like.

Instead I found the story horrifying in an entirely different was. For me the horror didn’t come from Carrie’s actions (as awful as those were) instead the horror was for Carrie. The way she was treated by everyone, her upbringing, her isolation and her sadness at not fitting in.

There were so many points in her past, and indeed in the period the story focused on, where just one person taking a different action, being kinder, checking on the welfare of a small child would have turned things around and put Carrie herself on a different path.

She wasn’t evil at all, just a person pushed way past their limits and with no one to turn to, to bring her back. I really felt for her. king does a superb job of describing that feeling of being on the outside of a group, desperately looking for a way in and not finding one.

Carrie made me feel incredibly sad and I just wanted to reach in and hug her.

A horror story? Maybe but not in the way I was expecting it to be.