Book Review of Carrie: God Save the Prom Queen

This gruesome horror story, crafted through the lens of survivors recounts their experiences during senior year with Carrie herself, before everything went wrong. It is book where the events itself aren’t as scary as the motivation behind the actions. The horror is in the details, like all of Stephen King’s novels.

 

Carrie is a satisfying short story about a young girl, raised in an extremely religious environment and the most common target for bullying, who gets revenge against her tormenters after extensive trauma unlocks her telekinetic abilities.

 

What made this book stand out against all the other books on the shelf, was that it was very thin. For a book written by an author, who is notorious for writing lengthy novels, the length was a pleasant surprise. At roughly 300 pages, Carrie is a quick read for someone looking to quench a craving for something with carnage.

 

The book is formatted with switching perspective every chapter. The book starts off in third person omniscient where the main character, Carrie, and moves onto others including Tommy, Sue, and Helen. Intertwined in chapters are small recounts, articles, book excerpts, and interviews from officials and witnesses that all discuss the events of prom night, which have yet to occur in the main plotline of the book. The foreshadowing from all these future reflections about Carrie’s life is done well. It builds up an anticipation for the reader to find out what went wrong with Carrie, while also keeping them in the dark. The contradiction between the present tense used with detailing Carrie’s life, and the past tense in the inserts of future knowledge really create a unique concept that works well with King’s writing style. It’s a good method that helps keep a reader engaged in the story and not tire of the book.

 

Another thing done well, is the way the characters are written and developed. There are around five characters that are crucial to the plot, making it easier to remember names and personalities. By having such lack of characters, King can focus and detail each and everyone of them. The reasoning behind a character’s actions, their thought process and behavior is all easy to comprehend due to King’s excellent way of providing context and alternating character perspective every few chapters. All the people in his book feel authentic, as if they could be based on a person from real life. There is not an explicitly good or bad person, they’re all doused in shades of grey; some darker than others. By doing this, King makes it easier for readers to feel for the characters, which he exploits through all the events that are heavily foretold throughout the book.

 

When it comes to the horror factor, that may put a reader off from starting this book, as it is not scary in the traditional horror sense. There’s no fantastical monsters or demons. Nor is there a creepy serial killer on the hunt. The real scare of the book is dangerous human mentality. The real thrill of the book is a result of burdening long term trauma that comes from physical and verbal abuse, superiority complexes, and bullying/harassment. There is a fair share of gore sprinkled in some chapters, and it gets more intense towards the end. The horror of Carrie is in the treatment of an innocent girl, displays of religious radicalism and macabre details.

 

Overall, this book is a good light read for someone who can stomach gore, enjoys a nice revenge tale, and is interested in reading a work of the well-known, Stephen King. This book is not for sensitive and lighthearted people, it does have very heavy and suggestive themes. I give this book a 4.5/5 stars.