It’s finally happened: I found a Stephen King book that I like. It took seventeen years and about ten books to get to this book. Well, King did write like a hundred books so it was inevitable I’d find one. It’s also King’s first book and the one he hates the most.
That book is Carrie. The book about an awkward girl who is constantly picked on by other girls and is beaten by her super-religious mother. She also has psychic powers that she uses to get her revenge.
One thing that is obvious is that this is one of King’s shortest books at 290 pages. People are so used to seeing a Stephen King book being around 1,000 pages that when they see a book this short it’s a shock. Am I saying I liked this book because it was short? Not in the least.
You see, this book is not long winded at all. The amount of content in this book is just right to tell the story. Also, the writing is pretty solid which makes this book a page-turner (I read this book in three days.)
Let’s look at some of the writing styles used in this book. There’s the traditional narrative form which is well written. King also adds nonfiction writing such as news stories, memoirs, letters and medical journals. It takes a lot of talent to get all of these styles to be interesting. King does manage to do that in a way that flows nicely. Normally, when a writer changes writing styles in a book it’s like hitting a high wall and then trying to climb it to get back to solid ground. Some writers can do this right, but some can’t.
What’s not great is some of the fluff in the book. The fluff I’m talking about is some of the scenes with Chris and Billy. Billy really only has one purpose in the book: Collect the pig blood. And Chris is there just to tag along. These two are the least interesting characters in the book.
Of course, what everyone talks about is how different this book is than the movie (the 1976 version anyway.) In the movie, Carrie is super skinny while here she’s chunky. Other changes are Miss Desjardin doesn’t die in the book, Carrie just kills her mom without a big fight, Carrie destroys the entire town instead if just the school and Carrie actually ENJOYED killing people. Yes, the book describes Carrie as smiling while she kills people. That right there is a lot scarier.
In all, King may not like Carrie but I did. It has some great writing conventions that make it worth reading. It may be scary like people make it out to be, but it’s still one of King’s better books. It has made me want to go back and give his other books a second chance.