For this next book we are going all the way back to the beginning, to the first book King ever published, Carrie. Before selling Carrie, King was working as an English Teacher and between that and helping take care of his kids he barely had time to write. King would sell short pieces to some men’s magazines (i.e. Playboy), but nothing substantial. Getting criticism from some of the readers about how he “can’t write about women” and that his writing was too “macho”, King decided to write Carrie. Getting several pages into it he became very disappointed and basically thought the story was trash, so that’s where he put it. The next day his wife, Tabitha, noticed it in the trash, got it out and read it. She convinced him to keep writing it because she saw its potential and the rest as they say is history. I know I don’t typically go into the history of how the book was written and everything, but I thought this one was important. It shows that even someone who we know as prolific had some dark times and self doubt. Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU, Tabitha King. Without you I might not be sitting here writing about this or your husband at all, so again, thank you!
Carrie is about a high school girl with extraordinary powers. You have probably already know the story of Carrie, but if you haven’t I’ll tell you a little about it. At the beginning of the book Carrie has her first period in the shower after gym. Thinking it’s a sin, because of her über religious mother, she believes she is dying. The other high school girls decide to take this opportunity to torment Carrie. After the teacher, Ms. Desjardin, notices the girls mocking Carrie and starts to berate her until she realizes that she is being serious and really didn’t understand, then all of a sudden the lights shatter. Ms. Desjardin excuses Carrie for the day and at home her mother punishes her, beats her and locks her in the “prayer closet”, insisting this is a punishment from some sort of sin Carrie has committed. Oh by the way, Carrie’s mom is ridiculously insane. After which Carrie starts to understand that she is telepathic.
The girls who lead the teasing get punished by being banned from going to the prom. That obviously doesn’t sit well with some of them, but one girl, Sue Snell starts to feel bad about teasing Carrie and convinces her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie eventually decides to go with Tommy, though it takes some convincing. Carrie starts to get very excited about the prom, but of course her mom does not want this to happen. Her mom believes that the prom just leads to sex and that no one should ever have sex…like ever…not even after being married. Being tired of being told everything is a sin, Carrie goes to the prom.
I know everyone basically know the rest of the story, but the prom doesn’t end well for anyone. Though it does start off well. Carrie and Tommy enjoy each others company and they win the Prom King and Prom Queen. However, it quickly turns sour when the girls who were banned from the prom decide to get their revenge on Carrie. They had put buckets of pigs blood above the stage and while Carrie and Tommy are getting crowned they pull the ropes. The first bucket hits Tommy in the head, killing him, the second one dumps the blood all over Carrie. Well that was the last straw for her. Carrie snaps and kills everyone at the prom with her telekinetic powers. After that Carrie walks through town destroying everything. As Carrie returns home she is confronted by her who believes she is possessed by the devil and stabs her daughter, which wasn’t a good idea because Carrie stops her moms heart by using her powers. After causing more destruction Carrie dies from the stab wound inflicted by her mom.
My favorite thing about this book is how it is written. Between bits of the story there will be news clippings, case studies, and autobiography bits from characters who survived the night of prom. Though some of those parts are often the slowest parts of the books, I think they were a really interesting way to tell the story. Maybe it made it more fun since I already knew the story before reading the novel.
Length : 199 pages
Favorite Quote: “And then the world exploded.”
Niles’ rankings of Stephen King books:
- End of Watch
- Finders Keepers