Carrie by Stephen King Book Review

Carrie by Stephen King book review
Carrie by Stephen King, I read an edition not pictured ISBN 9780340920947, 242pp

Carrie by Stephen King is one of those classic King books that everyone has heard about – or they’ve seen the movie. This month I decided to raid my husband’s Stephen King collection and try some of this author’s earlier books. Carrie was Stephen King’s very first published novel and it almost wasn’t published after Stephen threw his draft away. Luckily, his wife found it in the trash, dusted it off and urged him to keep working on it. And the rest is history.

At its heart Carrie is a simple story about a bullied teenage girl with newly discovered powers who gets pushed too far by others with devastating consequences that terrorise a whole town. Even though I’ve never read this before, or seen any of the film adaptions, I felt this story was familiar. It’s a story of how being different at school can be isolating and how teenagers can be influenced by the pack mentality to gang up on someone who doesn’t fit in. But I didn’t know how the book would be written. Stephen King writes it from different perspectives: Carrie’s point-of-view, teachers, students, incident reports, snippets of books that people wrote on the subject after the event that takes place in the novel. Given that this was Stephen King first novel, I found the plot structure ambitious and interesting.

Carrie is a girl whose extraordinary powers get activated when she gets her first period. Her home life is lived under the shadow of her scary, very religious mother. Carrie has never fitted in at school and my heart really went out to her. Teenage girls can be the worst. But I don’t condone the vengeful path that Carrie takes.

I won’t go into too much more detail as Carrie is a pretty short book and I don’t want to give away the whole plot. It’s quite a bittersweet book because there’s a moment when Carrie gets to feel special and ‘normal.’ There’s the possibility of her life going in a positive direction, but then something happens to destroy that. It’s not a book for the faint-hearted as there is a bit of gore involved. But you can be like me and speed read or skip over those bits.

In the intro to Carrie, Stephen King writes about how he based Carrie on two girls he knew from his school days who both didn’t get a chance in life due to their difference and family circumstances. The true horror in Carrie is not the supernatural elements, but the bad things people do to each other and the pain they can inflict. There’s nothing scarier than human nature at its worst.

Verdict: I’m glad to have finally read this Stephen King classic. It’s not a favourite Stephen King book of mine, but I found it well worth reading.

12 thoughts on “Carrie by Stephen King Book Review

  1. Eustacia | Eustea Reads October 22, 2019 / 2:37 pm

    I think Carrie is the only Stephen King book I’ve read :p What other books of his would you recommend I read?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads October 22, 2019 / 3:00 pm

      Well I’ve just read four of his books this month. I’ll be sharing those reviews over the next week or so. I recommend Misery and The Green Mile. Both were fantastic reads.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Literary Elephant October 22, 2019 / 2:49 pm

    Great review, I completely agree with your points! I remember this one fondly, even though it’s not a Stephen King favorite for me either. The way Carrie is treated also felt much more impactful and horrifying to me than the supernatural element, but I did think it all came together well and made for an impressive first novel! I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads October 22, 2019 / 2:59 pm

      Thanks for your reply. I’m glad to hear that you felt the same about this book. Do you have a favourite Stephen King novel?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Literary Elephant October 22, 2019 / 3:11 pm

        I’m always happy to chat about Stephen King! I’ve read quite a few of his books now and have a hard time ranking my favorites! 😅 I had a great time reading The Shining, Bag Of Bones, and The Dead Zone… a top 3 is as narrow as I can go at the moment! What’s been your favorite Stephen King no so far?


        • Janereads October 22, 2019 / 3:46 pm

          Thanks for your reply! I can see why it would be hard to choose your favourites. I read The Shining this month and thought it was great too. I also enjoyed Misery, The Green Mile, On Writing and The Stand. But I have so many more King books to get to.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Literary Elephant October 22, 2019 / 3:50 pm

            I feel like I have a lot left as well- King has such a long backlist! I also loved Misery, and On Writing, though I tend to forget that one when I’m thinking about his novels! It’s probably my favorite book about writing, from any author. I finally read The Stand this summer and liked it, though it wasn’t a favorite for me. I haven’t read Green Mile yet though, and am looking forward to that one! I hope you continue to enjoy your Stephen King journey! 🙂


  3. Lady B October 28, 2019 / 6:02 am

    “There’s nothing scarier than human nature at its worst.” Totally agree. Wrote a term paper on the Rwandan genocide years ago when I was doing my Master’s and I remember making a similar comment to my friend.
    I haven’t read any Stephen King, surprisingly. I remember trying to read one as a young child and finding it all too complicated and scary. 🙂


    • Janereads October 28, 2019 / 3:07 pm

      That would have been an incredibly important and hard term paper to write. I do recommend trying Stephen King if you ever get the chance.

      Liked by 1 person

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