A Relevant, Frightening & Raw Story | Review of ‘Carrie’

By: Cynthia Ayala

Carrie White is the misfit, the outcast, the girl constantly bullied, broken by her religious and fanatical mother. But when push comes to shove, Carrie soon discovers that she holds powers, that she’s telekinetic, turning her Prom Night into a fiery bloody night of death.

Doubleday first published Carrie by notable bestselling author Stephen King on April 5, 1974. Set in Maine, this horrific and supernatural novel follows young outsider Carrie White who spends most of her time being bullied a school by everyone while she spends her time at home being abused by her religious and fanatical mother. But when push comes to shove, Carrie discovers that she has a deep power inside her.

Carrie was Stephen King’s debut novel and based on the events of an actual bullying incident he read in the news. That one story was the basis for what became a national phenomenon. Adding a supernatural element to it, King gave this meek little character telekinetic powers turning her into something else. But that doesn’t change the fact that she is, in fact, a broken character. She’s broken, sad, pathetic to the point that the reader finds it hard to sympathize with her, but when she begins to turn and turns into this vengeful person, readers are gripped. This is a story about bullying, and what happens at her prom night, event’s like that have happened in reality, where the victim turns into the bully with deadly consequences. However, back in 1974, that was such a hard concept for society to wrap its head around whereas nowadays, it has become a part of normalcy to see the abused take violent action. That’s what makes this book incredibly relevant today because what it comes down to, if you strip away the supernatural, is a story about bullying, making it raw and powerful to read.

Taking this quintessential story about bullying, King reveals the darker side of the character Carrie, making her an interesting character. Exploring her bad side, and exploring her revenge, even if it’s hard to feel pity for a character that is so pathetic, seeing her take revenge is gratifying because the reader doesn’t even want to feel pity for abusers. Chris and Billy are the worst of the worst, from their narrative to their actions; King unveils such darkness in them preventing the audience from feeling sympathy for them when they meet their ultimate demise. The character construction within this novel is amazing because there are a number of emotions the reader feels for everyone here, pity, anger, happiness are just the forefront of those emotions but with all the changes and events, so much happens to change these characters, evolving them and changing how the reader feels about them.

What also makes this novel ingenious is they style in which it is written. Separated into three parts, the novel takes care to quickly and precisely tell a story. King gives the reader a taste of what is to come by recounting past events and the events of prom night but he does it in a unique way. Throughout the novel, there are snippets of novels, articles, court depositions and interviews that, little by little, tell the reader what is going to happen at the end. This style is intriguing and not what to expect when you pick up this novel, captivating the reader, pushing them to read on to find out what is going to happen by the end of the novel. It also allows for point of view changes to transition from one to another to be smoother allowing for easier read.

With few words, King packs a punch. Every word is intentional and over all, it’s a short, sweet and explosive story. (★★★★☆ | A)

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