Saturday, 11 May 2013

Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Today I am choosing to review Carrie by Stephen King simply because one, it was relatively quick and easy for me to read and two, because it wasn't anything remotely like fucking Twilight or any other novel featuring teenagers that I've read in the past few months. (And boy, does it feel good to say that.) I've read far too much YA lately. No, cancel that. I've read far too much of the sheep varient of YA where every book just seems to copy the last best selling YA book that hit the market and the romances all feel like a watered down, teen angst version of Fifty Shades of Grey, which was also a rip off of Twilight anyway. Now, don't get me wrong. I've read and reviewed some great and very original YA novels in my time. Girl, Stolen by April Henry is one example. But lately, it feels like everything I pull out of my to-read pile is yet another YA romance. And my blog is starting to have that horrible feeling of sameness to it. I'm reviewing the same type of books all the time and they're the same as what a large number of other book bloggers are also reviewing. Plus, the fact is, I'm thirty-one years old and sometimes I want to read something a little less fluffy. So, anyway. Carrie ...

Like a lot of people who grew up in the 1990s, Carrie was one of the first 'grown up' novels that I ever tackled, and probably the first that I properly understood. As always, King's genius lay in creating an ordinary American town that has sinister overtones. Told partially in the present and partially in flashbacks disguised as newspaper articles and the autobiography of the long-suffering Sue Snell, the novel tells the story of a shy young woman, who is raised by her insane and eccentric mother. Carrie is taunted by her peers, until a well-meaning classmate finds a way for Carrie to go to the prom, where she is voted homecoming queen. And then a group of kids who are basically as stupid as they are arseholes humiliate her by covering her in pigs blood and Carrie gains her revenge by using her telekinesis to kill as many people as possible before dying. The end. 

Now, if King was an unknown writer trying to publish Carrie today, I fear that he would end up having a huge fight with his publisher, as the publisher would insist on changing well, practically everything about the novel. The telekinesis could probably stay, but that would no doubt be considered a remarkable gift or talent that a very special or select group of teenagers in a post-nuclear war America were born with. And the reason Carrie's mother is so protective of her, isn't because she is a bitch or anything, but because she wants to 'protect' her daughter as the Big Brother style government would no doubt have her sent away. And at the prom, Carrie gets voted prom queen because everyone suddenly realises how awesome she is and decides that they love her. And prom king, of course, is a boy who is cute, just a little bit smarter than her and working undercover for a group who is planning to overthrow the government, and they need Carrie's help, because only a girl with telekinesis can save them. And, of course, nothing gets properly resolved at the end of the novel, because this is the beginning of a new fourteen part series, with options for film rights and a spin-off television series. And some really cool tie-in merchandise such as Carrie t-shirts, lunch boxes and some very special sunglasses that prevent anyone from seeing your eyes move, meaning that you too can pretend to be telekinetic. 

But you know what? I reckon Stephen King would hate that. If he were an unknown author trying to sell the manuscript to Carrie, he'd say fuck that and either keep searching for a publisher who was willing to do it his way, or self-publish and because you know, hey it's Stephen King, the book would end up making a fortune and he'd soon capitalise on the whole thing, creating a successful publishing firm that ended up taking over the globe. Or maybe I'm just guessing ...