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Book Review – Carrie

carrie-first-ed-coverIs Stephen King’s Carrie a horror story? Did I make the right choice, picking it as a Halloween read? Was it once a scary book that’s been tamed by time?

Carrie is well known enough now that talking about the plot seems silly, but let’s get through it anyway. Carrie is a girl with a crazy mom. Carrie has psychic powers. Kids at school are super mean to Carrie. The kids cover Carrie in pig blood. Carrie loses it. Bad times are had by all.

So, is the book scary? Not really. It reads more like a super hero book, like a dark comic book in novel form. Psychic abilities aren’t very frightening, even when used by someone losing their mind. Like super heroes in general, Carrie almost reads like a power fantasy. Yes, when she lashes out on her fellow students and her home town, she takes it too far and kills a lot of innocent people. But, it doesn’t come across as horror, more like a disaster movie. Carrie, near the end of the book, is more of a force of nature, even though she’s able to target a few people specifically. A storm with a vengeance, but still a storm.

The idea of her being a natural disaster is backed up by the way the story is told through police reports, through interviews and headlines. Carrie is mentioned and talked about like she was a hurricane that passed through town. Dangerous, but not human. It’s an interesting way to tell this kind of story, it just doesn’t scream horror.

Carrie’s mother might scare some, but I find fundamental religious zealots to be the least effective way to make someone scary or interesting. The mother is a cartoon villain, a person beyond reason or relatability. She’s not real, in or out of the book. And, again, that type of insanity is at the bottom of the interesting-barrel for me as a reader. It always strikes me as lazy, as a quick wave as to why someone would act a certain way. Carrie is least interesting when dealing with that part of the story.

Not to say Carrie isn’t entertaining. It is, in both its destruction and seventies’ aesthetics. But, it’s more thriller than chiller. It reads like a super villain origin, which is fun, but I’m not sure how this has become a horror classic. I’m not even sure how it became a hugely popular book, as it doesn’t strike me as particularly earth-shattering in it’s plot or style. But, maybe I’m in the wrong place and time. Maybe, back in the late seventies, this would have scared the heck out of me. Or, maybe, I would have treated it like a Doctor Doom comic book and wondered what I’d do with some nasty telekinesis powers of my own.

All the Books Show: Episode 105 – Total Eclipse of All the Books

This episode is kind of a blur because I spent so much time trying to stare into the sun. My recommendation for 2024? Don’t stare into the sun.

My other recommendations? Well, you’ll just have to listen, won’t you!

4760230But, on a serious note, we do another Lonely Hearts Book Club. This time, it’s a visit with an old friend, Robert Campbell and his Jimmy Flannery books. This one seems even stranger than his previous ones, and the writing of Jimmy and the hundreds of names he’s been called makes my head spin.

I don’t get these books and but I especially don’t get this one. Or how their are more than twenty published. Twenty! That’s almost half as many Animorph books!

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See you next week, podcats!

All the Books Show: Episode 97 – ReRead

This week’s episode on the podcast, we talk about rereading old favorites. Because we tackle the hard hitting subjects other podcasts are too afraid to cover.

“But, Eric, ” you might ask, “did you just talk about this very subject on your blog?”

I sure did! I wrote about a few posts a while ago and that blog was the inspiration for the episode. Maybe it was an inspiration to us all. But let us know how you go about rereading old books, if you do at all.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!