Review of Stephen King's Carrie

Carrie - Stephen King

Stephen King's Carrie is something of a disappointment. It's his first published novel and that's pretty obvious. The idea is interesting enough, a young girl, raised by an extremely religious, slightly unhinged mother, outcast and ostracized by her peers, is pushed too far and takes revenge into her own hands by means of a previously uncontrolled telekinetic power. Unfortunately, instead of creating what could have been an insightful and penetrating look at teen culture, or religious extremism or even just a compelling horror story, King fails to engage at every turn. Most of this lies in the language he chooses to use. Carrie is continually described in entirely unsympathetic terms. He describes her as "bovine", "lank haired", "a patient ox" and "dumbly embarrassed." He continually uses animalistic terms to describe her appearance and actions. I'm not sure if this is an attempt to make the reader complicit in the actions of the other characters but for me, it worked instead to distance me from the book. King's formatting, including excerpts from fictional case files, interviews and autobiographies, is an interesting idea but, ultimately, it falls flat. The continual insertion of these "fact based accounts" only serves to break up the narrative and ultimately strengthen the disconnect I felt between the characters and the story. The largest crime, though, given that this is a Stephen King story, is that it's just not that scary.