Book Reviews

Carrie by Stephen King

As most of you would know by now, a movie re-make of Carrie by Stephen King – one of his early classic horror novels that centres on out-of-control psychic talents -, has just been released in Australia. After scaring myself silly multiple times as a teen while reading this novel, it’s interesting to revisit it as an adult. The plot  is simple. After taking part in humiliating Carrie in the school’s communal showers, former bully Sue Snell has a change of heart and decides to help Carrie have a perfect prom. What Sue doesn’t know, however, is that other students have a cruel prank planned that will have devastating consequences. Carrie’s isolation and persecution by her peers is poignant – and she really wants to believe that she is finally fitting in, that the boy she likes likes her back and her life will be – from this point on – normal. This adds much weight to the inevitable betrayal that we know is coming. Carrie’s suffocatingly abusive mother imposes a bizarre brand of Christianity on her resisting daughter, making her the perfect authority figure for Carrie to (finally) rebel against. And, of course, Carrie’s ultimate lashing out with the power of her mind against the bullies, against her mother and against the town is terrible and bloody – and possibly just. But for me, the truly terrifying thing about this novel, is not Carrie’s out-of-control psychic powers, its the truth of the casual psychological violence of the relentless bullying portrayed. Well worth a re-read.

Melanie Ryan Programs and Communications

Carrie by Stephen King

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