Inspiring several film adaptations and retaining its popularity for decades, Stephen King’s Carrie follows Carrietta (Carrie) White, a reserved and shy young girl who is bullied for her looks and unconventional behaviour. At the mercy of her overbearing, controlling, and manipulative mother, Carrie tries desperately to navigate the challenges of high school. Though she endures many struggles, as she gets older her unbelievable telekinetic powers begin to appear, which are sure to shock her and everyone in her community in all the most horrifying ways possible.
Being a reader who never reaches for novels of the horror genre, I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book as my ‘introduction’ of sorts to this new category of literature! Given the fact that is has also been such a staple in so many people’s repertoires for so long and has been remastered into film adaptations many times, I was definitely worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype- but I was wrong!
First and foremost, I loved the attention to detail in Carrie’s characterization, and I think this is a critical detail that makes this book so hard to put down. Carrie isn’t the typical struggling teen, but rather she represents a complex combination of the abuse she faces from her mother (emotional, psychological, and even physical), her lack of any other meaningful social contacts, as well as her struggles with bullying by her peers at school. I wanted so badly for good things to happen for her, and the plotline that Stephen King designed very cleverly plays into that desire, but not too much.
Moreover, I was incredibly impressed with the extent to which Carrie comes into her own power. Though she undergoes many personal struggles in the book, the development of her telekinetic powers is very much a nod to her rising up against her oppressors and reclaiming her strength. Though I was consistently trying to guess what would happen next, I will say that I did not expect the series of events that unfolded near the end of the novel. However, they did drop my jaw the WHOLE time, and I was super engaged, shocked, and could not stop until I found out what was going to happen next. Based on this shock value alone (but also emphasizing its many other successes!), I know that other readers are going to feel the same way about this book as I did!