Heather and I both started our Stephen King Reading Project on January first (she talks about it [among other things] here). Since we’re reading in chronological order of publication, Carrie was our first stop. I first read Carrie when I was in junior high and devouring everything Stephen King had written up to that point. While parts of it struck a chord within me, I was more than ready to move on to his other work, and it wasn’t something that really stuck. I read it again about ten years ago, and didn’t care much for it. I’m not even sure WHY I didn’t care for it, just that I didn’t – hence the two star rating I’d given it on goodreads.
Because I DISTINCTLY REMEMBERED not enjoying it the last time (even if I still can’t remember why), I wasn’t anticipating to feel much differently about it this time around.
Which just goes to show that reading the same books at different times in your life can yield far different experiences.
I didn’t love it this time, it’s not my new favourite or anything – but I can see that it’s a solid novel, and can kind of understand its popularity.
I didn’t find it to be particularly scary, though. Mostly it just made me sad and angry.
Sad and angry because I could totally identify with Carrie. Sad and angry because – while I didn’t go on a telekinetic killing spree after having a bucket of pig’s blood poured on me at my senior prom – I know all too well just how bitchy high school/junior high girls can be. Hell, girls of any age. I’ve had a few encounters with mean girls of the adult variety within the last year, and for a little bit I was made to feel like I was back in high school, wanting to punch them right in their stupid faces, then curl up in a ball and cry until it was all over. Sad and angry because Margaret White was a crazy, abusive, fundie bitch who didn’t deserve to have a child.
Reading the passages from her point of view, and Carrie’s memories of the things her mother had done to her when she was a child were probably the hardest parts for me to read. I’ve talked about abuse before, and don’t really want to go into it again, but…yeah. I admit to a bit of fist pumping when she got what she deserved.
I guess all of this is neither here nor there, though. My main point is that prior to this year, I would have ranked this pretty low on my mental list of Stephen King novels, but that is no longer the case.
It was kind of neat to read such an early example of his work, recognizing the little writing patterns that we’ve all come to think of as SK’s signature moves. The parenthetical thoughts, the newspaper clippings/excerpts from essays, switching back and forth between PoVs with little to no notice…he was already doing all of those things here.
I can’t wait to see how I feel about other books of his as I re-read them. Next up is ‘Salem’s Lot, which I ALSO haven’t read since junior high…and also remember not liking all that much.
I see that a lot of my friends on goodreads have read this one. Many of you rated it quite highly, what did you like/dislike about it?