Today’s title is something Susan Brooks says to our protagonist (?) Charlie Decker towards the end of Richard Bachman/Stephen King’s Rage.
That one little line of dialogue does an incredibly accurate job of summing up my feelings for this book. I felt/feel sorry for Charlie.
Charlie, whose father is just an asshole. Charlie, whose mother is…not entirely there. Charlie, who has a best friend I spend each re-read wondering if he’s entirely real, or just a coping mechanism for Charlie. That last sentence probably doesn’t make much sense outside of my head, but trust me – if you were in here, you’d get it.
Anyway, as most of you probably know – Rage isn’t in print anymore (go read Heather’s post about it where she talks about why), and while I can’t say that I agree with the decision to pull this book, I can understand it.
Violence in schools is a rather sticky subject, and if Unky Steve was concerned about the teen shooters using this as a sort of rallying cry, I don’t blame him for having it pulled.
My problem with this book not being available anymore is that this is really another example of King showing that he knows EXACTLY what it’s like to be a teenager. I know he started writing it when he was young, and it was still published when he was relatively young, but the voice he gives to his younger characters rings just as true now as it did then.
Being a teenager sucks. There’s not really any way to argue that. Being a misunderstood, unpopular teenager is even worse. I think the hardest part for me when reading this was that I can totally understand what pushed Charlie to the point where he felt his only recourse was violence. Don’t get me wrong, I never would have taken a gun to school, or beat a teacher within an inch of his life, but that’s probably because it wasn’t the establishment that I had my issues with.
This is all making me sound highly unstable, and that’s not my point. My point is that while this is not a choice I would have made for myself, I can kind of understand how one would get to the point of making such a decision. This is why it’s so imperative that we make sure our children know they have a safe place to vent, to get out their rage against this unjust teenage hell they’re trapped in for what seems like an eternity.
…I don’t know. I’ve kind of already forgotten where I was going with this.
I think this is one of those books that some people will love, some people will despise because they can’t see past the violence, and that others will hate because it takes them back to being that outcast 16 year old they were years ago. I fall into that final category, if you were wondering. I love this book, but I hate it at the same time. I don’t like being 16 again.