We're at the end! I've had a wonderful time re-reading this book, and I'm really looking forward to our next Stephen King Read-a-long of Salems' Lot (the starting post and sign up will be up tomorrow mid-morning).
So let's Discuss Part 3 of Carrie: Wreckage
Here's some questions thought up by me and my co-host, Midnyte Reader:
1. If you've seen the movie, how did the book compare?
2. Carrie: Victim or Villain?
3. If you had TK powers what would you do with them?
4. The Wreckage talks about the demise of the town. I've noticed the theme of SK's setting as a character in other works. What are your thoughts on this?
5. Does anybody think they know what line from Bob Dylan was written in Carrie's notebook?
and finally, what are your final thoughts/review of Carrie by Stephen King?
Here are my answers:
1. I actually thought the original movie was fairly faithful to the book. Obviously it's set up differently and the ending has one of those gotcha! moments, but I think it does a really good job of showing how Carrie went from the butt of everyone's joke, to a girl blossoming into a woman, and finally into a vengeful, blood soaked killer.
2. Honestly, she's both. But I don't think she'd ever have become a murderer if she hadn't been picked on so heinously. What Carrie endured, both at home and at school, went beyond the typical bullying probably most of us experienced. It was almost relentless. She's a villain in the the sense that she killed innocent people, but her status of victim drove her to it. Maybe she's an anti-hero? Because, I kind of found myself rooting for her when she confronted her mom, and Billy and Chris. That just might make me twisted though...
3. House work! Oh, my God! I'd be Mary Poppinsing the crap out of my house. Think of the ease with which you could use your TK powers to rearrange your bookshelves, or carry all those books around at BEA! Ah... Seriously though, I'd probably try to keep it quiet, because if there is one lesson I've learned from Stephen King, it's that if you have special powers and the government finds out, they will kill your parents and keep you prisoner. No thank you! I'll stick to using my powers to clean the house and shelf my books.
4. I think King is very intrigued with the idea of small towns and their particular ways. It's often easy to think of evil and murder as being a city problem, but often small towns hide dark secrets of their own (which I've also learned from watching City Confidential on A&E). It's a way of telling a large scale story on a small stage, whereas a few hundred or thousand people represent society as a whole. When I think of my favorite King books, almost all of them deal with small towns- even The Stand, in a way, since most of humanity is wiped out and the two opposing forces are drawn to Boulder, CO and Las Vegas, NV. In It, which I'm re-reading right now, you have the town of Derry, which isn't as small as Castle Rock, but still not a large city. It's big enough for something monstrous to feed off of, but small enough to keep the horror contained. You can tell King has a love for small towns, even as he shows their seedy underbellies. I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania during my teen years, and whenever I read King's small town stories, I can easily relate.
5. I thought the song was the Just Like a Woman song? Right? Or was there another one mentioned that I missed? The lyrics are: "Nobody has to guess/That Baby can't be blessed/Till she finally sees that she's like all the rest." Which I felt showed how isolated Carrie was, and how much she longed to be part of the crowd. She just wanted to be normal. Out of everything that happened, I'm glad Carrie got to have a few truly happy moments at Prom, how different things might have been if her school life could have been like that all along!
Carrie is a great novel to start your Stephen King experience with (my own personal one was with Fire-Starter), because it's not a horror novel per se, although I don't think many of King's books are horror books, but rather a look at teenage girls. In fact, King started Carrie after someone said that he couldn't write a true female character. In the book both Carrie and Sue, and even Chris, are very real feeling. I knew girls like them growing up- well minus the TK powers. The butt of the jokes, the golden girl who was popular simply because she was both nice and pretty, and the mean girl who's popular because people are scared of her. King gives these girls dimension, and puts you in their shoes. Even Chris, who is so easy to dislike, was easy to relate to, and even to feel sorry for. She got in over her head, as one does. Chris is full of anger that has no particular direction, she's gotten everything far too easily in life and she's bored. Carrie is the perfect target.
Carrie's mom is probably the most scary character of all, because isn't she real too? Don't we all know that one person, just a little bit too far off the rails? People like Mrs. White are who give religion a bad name, and she's twisted the words of the Bible to fit her own tormented mind. Most likely Mrs, White is mentally ill, but she's functional. Having her raise a daughter with Carrie's gift is like having a dictator baby-sit a nuclear bomb- it's only a matter of time before the thing is going to go off.
I loved the way the book was written, with first hand accounts, news articles, passages from books, etch. Carrie was the very first book I ever read written in that style, although I've since seen it since then (and I may have even attempted to tell a story like that once myself). I found it a great way to get all the information the reader needs to understand the story, but also a great way to entertain. Teasing the final ending, but then going back and explaining: This is how we got here. I think it adds to the story, rather than taking away anything.
Finally, Carrie is a story of what it's like for high school misfits. Maybe for girls like Sue it's rainbow and kittens, but for nerds, geeks, and loners, it can be a form of torture. Carrie endures far more than the average kid bullied, but the things Carrie goes through happens to teens. Stephen King was writing about the problems with bullying long before our current anti-bullying movement happened.
Okay, that's it for now!
So tell me what you thought!
And I'll see you on Twitter tonight around 8pm EST under the hashtag #CarrieEnd!