I have actively avoided Stephen King novels my whole life and not because I think he would be a bad writer – far from it. He’s the man whose imagination fed so any excellent films – Misery, Stand by Me and The Green Mile for example – and my mother who is an avid reader has been a King fan forever. So why the aversion?
I’m a wimp. I cannot watch horror films – the last time I watched one was 2003 when I saw Ringu/The Ring and it haunted me for weeks on end. I wish I could watch horror films – it’s like an exclusive club that I just can’t get in to – but I don’t have that ability to gain enjoyment from being frightened. If something scares me, it properly scares me and I will have both nightmares and daydreams that ruin whole days. My imagination is just too sensitive. It sucks.
So having seen Carrie, Pet Sematary and The Shining in my younger days, and been scared senseless by the latter two, I actively avoided reading any Stephen King. However, Carrie wasn’t that scary. And a new film adaptation that I’m excited to see comes out soon. So I took the plunge.
It’s a short book and a good book. I enjoyed it hugely, even knowing how the story goes. It’s original and haunting and knowing how close King came to binning it, I’m very pleased his wife convinced him to keep at it.
The cutting between newspaper articles, police reports and the actual story didn’t offend me but I didn’t appreciate the constant bracketed inner monologue for Carrie. I didn’t think it added anything to the book and I almost think it would read better without it.
It took me just over a day to read it (with work sandwiched in there somewhere). Definitely give it a whirl if you’ve not read it before.