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22 Oct 2013

Spook Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Each month the YA Buccaneers select a group of books to recommend for you.  It's up to you how many of them you read in that month but all they ask for is a review of whichever book or books you read. 

The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.

Carrie was my first step into Stephen King when I was in high school.  I already knew about the King of Horror but I'd never actually sat down and read one of his novels.  That all changed and I came out of the bookstore with Carrie in my arms.  

As my first King novel I really enjoyed it.  It was set out quite interesting with King breaking away from the main events to show us fictional documents about this mysterious telekinetic power and the infamous prom night.  I thought that was quite effective.  It made the Black Prom feel like it could have happened and also gives the reader the unnerving knowledge that Carrie won't be the last.  I think the real horror lies in the bullying.  Working in a primary school I've seen bullying and I could point out the children who are on their way to becoming bullies.  It's all around in every school and sometimes the victims will react to it when they've reached breaking point.  Carrie White is the representation for all abused and bullied children.  

I was more sad than terrified when reading.  I wouldn't say this was a book to chill you to the bones.  You follow this shy, young girl who is sheltered and physically abused by a bible-bashing mother and then has to go to school to suffer it all over again.  Until prom night she never says anything back, lashes out, or even turns to an adult for help.  She suffers in silence until finally she can't take it anymore and she snaps, unable to control her power and unable to stop and think about what she's causing.  Rather than feeling angry or terrified you're in full sympathy for King's tragic MC.  I think King did well to get into the head of a teenage girl and portray the cruel side of high school. My heart absolutely went out to Carrie.

I think this would be a good start for people who are interested in reading a Stephen King novel but not particularly into horror.  It isn't blood, gore, and creepy horror at all so I think this could appeal to a wide audience.


  1. I haven't read this yet but I've been meaning to for years. We watched the original film in my media studies class in Sixth Form XD Aaah, the opening scene. The boys freaked out and the girls were all "IT DOESN'T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THAT!" Fun times :D

  2. Haha! I always thought that scene was very unrealistic. Those poor boys must have been scarred for life! ^^

  3. I think you're right about the way King portrays bullying. Also, the fact there were sympathetic people in her life brings out the point that how one deals with bullying is not simply about stopping the offender. There has to be a support structure. While Carrie had people at school she could talk to, she lacked that sympathy at home. This, I think, turned out to be a critical factor in the end: instead of refuting the bullies, her mother served their cause.

    Good review, Robin. :)

  4. I completely agree with you about where the true horror lies in CARRIE. Bullying and that type of "group think" - when a group of people, in this case kids, just pick on a person and treat them in cruel, inhumane ways ... that is absolutely terrifying. *shudders* Thanks for the review, Robin. And thanks for participating in the YA Buccaneers Reading Mutiny! :)