R E V I E W – B O O K
Trigger warning: Bullying, murder, child abuse
“Sorry is the Kool-Aid of human emotions. It’s what you say when you spill a cup of coffee or throw a gutter ball when you’re bowling with the girls in the league. True sorrow is as rare as true love.”
I may have accidentally dismissed Stephen King as an author after reading two of his books. One a detective fiction and the other a somewhat horror book — two books that were probably not his best works. I have since read Carrie, one of his most popular books, which has been ranked heavily over the years and read by millions even after being released more than four decades ago, and I have come to realise my mistake and willing to go on and read more of his books.
Carrie is a high-school student raised by a religious fanatic of a mother whose views on religion and other people is not worthy of mention. Carrie is the victim of extreme bullying and ridicule, despite trying her best to adjust to her peers because she stands out as the queer one amongst them. But there is something else that differentiates her from the others. It is the fact that Carrie has telekinetic powers. The fact that Carrie discovers this when returning home one day after being ridiculed and bullied by her fellow peers in the school locker room when she gets her first period and is not aware of what it is or how to react properly.
Carrie is continuously abused and forced to lead a strict lifestyle by her mother, who, as mentioned before, has some “interesting” views on religion and how people should lead their lives. Carrie is forced to repeat religious passages whenever she commits any sin or mistake in her mother’s eyes. Moreover, she gets repeatedly beaten, slapped, and thrown around by her mother constantly. In this way, her mother’s abuse made sure that Carrie never found a safe place in her own home.
If the situation at her house was not traumatic enough, her school was also a next-level nightmare. Carrie got ridiculed and treated as an outcast from her first day at school. At Christian summer camp, her peers continued to bully her and made her life miserable by taking away her clothes, not allowing her to participate in camp activities. They also called her names until she was forced to return home a week early in shame. After returning home, her mother locked her in the closet to pray for forgiveness. She was given multiple derogatory names as she aged and constantly abused by classmates in class.
Additionally, another interesting fact is that the novel is told through unique ways, including, among other items, interviews with witnesses to the crime, records from the investigation, and police reports.
Carrie was unexpectedly not what I was expecting out of a Stephen King novel from a man who made a reputation as a horror writer. However, the way bullying and abuse were represented in the book, made it quite the read. The book kind of gets you at every turn by surprise. Despite not having many plot twists and the writing is pretty simple, it is one magnificent book. Another reason why I was empathetic to Carrie for being bullied was because bullying itself is a very common scenario even today just as when I was in school and was treated as the outcast who did not understand the unwritten rules of social hierarchy maintained in school that the other students lived by. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to the readers of horror fiction.
Rabab Rayan is a Business undergrad trying to excel academically but failing spectacularly.