Tag Archives: Stephen King

Carrie (novel) Review

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.

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Carrie (1976) Review

I’m throwing this out there right now: I’m not a fan of Stephen King. It’s not like I didn’t try to read his stuff. I’ve read Misery, Bag of Bones, The Gunslinger, Hearts in Atlantis, Graveyard Shift and It. Never finished either of them. I’m not saying he’s a bad writer, far from it. It’s just that he tends to be really long winded. I’m sorry, I’m going to say it: The movies that are based on his stuff is better.

With that out of the way, I recently decided to watch one of his most popular movies based on the book that launched his career: Carrie. Now, I know that this is the book that King started writing, hated and then tossed away. Yes, King said himself he hates Carrie and that’s OK. As for the movie itself, I felt it was OK.

For those not in the know, Carrie is about troubled teenage girl Carrie White who is constantly being bullied at school. If that wasn’t bad enough her mom is one of super religious nut jobs who think everything is a sin. Oh, and she has unexplained psychic powers. One day a boy asks her out to the prom, but he’s on;y asking her because his friend asked him to, which leads to a lot of scheming.

We all know about the ending where Carrie burns down her school, killing everyone inside; but do we know the rest of the story? Well, the rest of the movie is basically Carrie getting ready for the prom, the girls scheming what they want to do to Carrie and Carrie’s mom being a psycho religious nut. Not much of a horror movie since the only scary bits are near the end. Most of it is pretty mundane to be frank.

That does not make this a bad movie by any chance. It’s more along the lines of a decent 70s movie. What brings this movie up is the excellent cast. Sissy Spacek (Carrie) does a great job of playing an awkward girl who is being held back (and abused) by her psycho mom and other girls. She makes Carrie out to be as shy and obviously mentally scarred.

In fact, the entire cast does a great job. Hell, John Travolta (yup, he’s in this) plays, well, John Travolta. What else is there to say? The role of a rebel douche (or douche in general) is perfect for him. Piper Laurie as Carrie’s mom is terrific in all the right ways. She took this role and had a ton of fun with it. It was a joy watching her and Spacek interact.

One thing this movie did do was make me want to read the book because there’s a lot more in that book that was taken out. Obviously, expect a review here once I’m finished with it.

In all, Carrie has a decent plot that doesn’t really have much scary happen until the end, but the great acting helps this movie a lot.

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