Monday, 3 October 2016

Hello October // Carrie by Stephen King


Published - 1st January 1978
Publisher - NEL
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed... But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction...

Stephen King.....what a guy. Right? Okay okay, i'm kidding. Mostly. I know next to nothing about Stephen King and i'm only a little bit ashamed of that. About 10 years ago I read a friends battered old copy of Christine whilst I was camping, in the middle of a massive storm and the tent got completely destroyed and....meh. You'd have thought that if a horror book was going to have an effect, it would be in the middle of a field, in a storm and at 3am. Sadly, it was just like the camping trip: disappointing.




So when I wrote on Facebook that I was looking for Horror recs and a friend from work kindly offered to let me read her copy of Carrie....I really just had to put old prejudices aside and accept the fact that when you want to read horror books, you're going to have to pick up a Stephen King book once in a while. And so, thanks to the lovely Annie who kindly let me read her copy of Carrie, I set upon my second ever reading of a King novel.
Now I know you're expecting a full on review of Carrie but I don't think I have it in me. For one, it's such a small book to begin with that there's not much to say at all and two, the entire time I read the book, all I could hear was 'You shoulda told me, Momma' interspersed with 'They're all gonna laugh at you!' from the original movie edition (which I loved as a child...). There were some things I really enjoyed though.

The newspaper articles, text book quotations, anything involving The White Commision - brilliant! Having seen the film many many times over the years (though still not braving the remake...maybe I should do that for Hello October?), the story itself was never going to be the main focus of the book for me. I was so surprised and intrigued by the use of fake realism (I have no better way of describing it). I might be a little ashamed to say that after 50 pages or so of reading about what happened at Prom Night, I did start to wonder if a little town in Maine really was affected by a rage-fuelled TK possessing teenage girl. It wasn't. It was very cleverly written and I was pleased to finally understand the appeal of King's writing style.

The term horror has always made me a little uneasy. Of course the events of Carrie can be described as horror and a lot of what I read made me feel uncomfortable, but it wasn't the spine chilling horror that I was really looking for. I wanted edge of my seat, turn the light on, can't sleep alone sort of horror whereas Carrie was mentally disturbing and uncomfortable. Maybe when I ask about the category horror, i'm not correctly describing the kind of book that i'm looking for. That's a topic about genres though and not really appropriate for this post. Since reading Carrie, I have discovered that it was King's first published book and that in itself gives me the encouragement I need to pick up more King books in future.

Another thing that really intrigued me was how the book kind of spoilered itself. It's not often now that a book references the climax of the book right at the beginning. And for that matter, I loved that Carrie's vengeance didn't even take place at the end of the book. It wasn't even written as a big deal. We knew something disastrous was going to happen and that Carrie was responsible. We knew that a town was destroyed because of it etc. It was never really important WHAT happened, and more WHY it happened. Fascinating.

Though the story itself was neither here nor there, I enjoyed reading Carrie and I especially enjoyed the writing style that I just haven't experienced previously. I hope that this is the start of a great love affair between Stephen King and I....

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