Carrie wasn’t quite how I expected it to be, but it was a great read nonetheless. A fan of the movies, and of Stephen King himself, I had just not quite gotten around to reading his first- and I’m so glad I finally did. Beware spoilers for the following review- though honestly, I believe almost everyone knows the plot of this iconic story. However, some of the novel details, not present in the movies, may surprise you. For one, I think that the depiction of abuse and religious fanaticism from Carrie’s mother is a lot more intense in the book. Some minor changes, like differences in Carrie’s appearance, or in the development of her abilities, are also present. However, I was glad to see that Miss Desjardin remained to be on Carrie’s side, as did Sue Snell and Tommy Ross. One of my favorite character moments also included the principal, Mr. Morton, who stood up for Carrie against the angry father of bully Christine Hargensen. It was a hell of a scene.
That is, perhaps, the most tragic thing about Carrie. She had more people on her side than she realized. Carrie is King’s warning story on school bullies, and I think that has a lot to do with why it is so beloved. It reflects the cruel truth of bullying: That the voices of the bullies often outweigh the ones who care. Carrie had the potential of friends, the potential of teachers who saw something in her, and she had potential herself, a goal to get out of her small town, away from her mama. She had a chance of feeling pretty, or of being social for once, at her school prom, and she discovered that her powers scared her mama enough that her mama no longer had power over her. All of this was ripped away by one horrible prank- and hundreds of people killed with it, a whole town ripped out besides a handful of survivors.
Carrie has everything great about a good horror novel; it has a meaning, it has consequences, and though you can see it coming, it doesn’t change how gruesome the end becomes. My one complaint, and the reason it isn’t quite a 5 for me, is the constant interruptions in the story with research and news on the Carrie White case. Throughout the novel, these informative bits of investigation or of interviews are sprinkled. Some of them are fine, but some of them are dead boring- and they often interrupt crucial moments. I don’t think they serve their purpose very well, and it brought down the reading experience. However, it wouldn’t be a King novel if there wasn’t some incessant rambling about history. Overall, this was a great read, pretty much a standard read in the horror genre. I loved seeing all the people who did have Carrie’s side, and it was a tragic end that we all can see coming.