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I have FINALLY read ‘Carrie’, Stephen King’s first book. Yes, it was his FIRST book!
Reading a book when you already know the story so well (from the movie) is such a different experience than reading the book and then watching the movie, but it’s even more different when it’s one like this. I’ve seen ‘Carrie’ so many times because it’s one of my favorite horror films (not talking about any stupid remake, despite the fact I happen to have the book copy that is the remake movie tie-in. Remakes of good films are blasphemy). The original movie is perfection with Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek and when reading the book, is was VERY hard for me not to get their images out of my mind. It was brilliant casting, for a brilliant story.
When reading this pretty short book (it comes in at basically 300 pages, which is so short, when you compare it to the behemoths of IT and The Stand), you are transported to 1979 immediately by the language, the descriptions of the clothing, and even the comparative style of King’s writing. It’s kind of a treat and a bit of a time warp you are pulled into. It took a bit of getting used to, along with the way King uses different narrative styles; the reader is given reports of the main ‘incident’, as well as character accounts, and intersperses them into the main story. If you didn’t know the ending from seeing the movie, you would have a good idea about a lot of it from these accounts as you go through.
As for the dynamic between Carrie and her hellacious (sorry, have to say it) mother, the interactions are horrific and they make your blood boil and King has given all he can to make the dread and tension so vivid. By writing in Carrie’s ‘thoughts’ we get little peeks into what’s going on in her mind as her powers are getting stronger; you start rooting for the girl who is being bullied, dominated, threatened all her life. You just know that there is no other way for this story to end.
What is most interesting to me now is the contrast with what what acceptable in terms of what kids could get away with (in terms of bullying and hazing) at school, compared to now. That’s a whole other story.
Anyway, I’m glad I finally got to read it as part of a Litsy buddy read. I love the movie so much, and it’s amazing to think that this is where Stephen King’s book career started. With a short novel that had one of most memorable horror movies made out of it.
*Don’t ever bother with the remake though.