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review 2018-09-28 14:15
The Song of Carrie White
Carrie - Stephen King

 

King does a great job with setting up the main characters in this story: Carrieta "Carrie" White, Sue Snell, Carrie's mother, the teacher, principal, Chris, Billy, and Tommy. You can believe how a girl like Carrie could have been pushed as hard as she was in this book and decides to take matters into her own hands and make the people that she sees as the source of her pain (the kids at school, her mother, the town of Chamberlain) pay. There is no happy ending to Carrie. We have a teen girl who was bullied by her mother and her peers who in the end just wants people to feel even a sliver of the pain she has felt her own life. 

 

"Carrie" begins with Carrie White getting her period for the first time in the girl's shower room at her high school. What follows is an ugly look at teen girls at their worst. Led by one of the nastiest characters ever, Chris Hargensen taunts Carrie and leads the rest of the group of girls into throwing sanitary napkins and tampons at her. Carrie thinks she is dying and reaches out to her gym teacher,  Miss Desjardin who also feels repulsed by Carrie and then pities her when she realizes that Carrie really has no idea about what periods are and that this is her first one. 

 

From there King follows Carrie and several other characters, Sue Snell, Chris Hargensen, Miss Desjardin, and a few others that I am totally forgetting to the epic events that led to the destruction of Chamberlain, Maine. 

 

I ended up pitying Carrie. You find out that her mother is a religious dictator and that she has done her best to make Carrie ashamed of being a woman as well as punishing her if she does one thing that she doesn't like. King includes comments from Carrie's grandmother that shows that Carrie's mother has always been uber religious and off. I honestly wonder though how she got that way since it didn't seem like Carrie's mother was raised in a religious household.


Carrie's father died when she was young and we hear bits and pieces about him (always very religious but seemed to be into drinking) and he casts a long shadow on the book. 

 

King also includes back and forths with other characters who try to examine their behavior towards Carrie (Sue and Miss Desjardin) and we follow the road to what led to Carrie going to prom night with Sue's boyfriend Tommy. 

 

King also did a good job of showing how people like Chris (bullies) can cause high school to just be a painful experience for a good many children. One of my favorite scenes was the school principal smacking down Chris's father who came and tried to have Miss Desjardin fired and her prom tickets given back to her. One wonders if someone had stood up to her father beforehand, maybe Chris's reign of terror would have been cut off. I think looking at Chris to Carrie you can see how parents can shape you for the best or worst. 

 

King includes personal testimonies from several of the townspeople to the police and to a committee, excerpts from a book written by Sue Snell, and even includes an autopsy report in the book. All of these working parts to the book do make it greater than if we just followed Carrie to the end of the book. This book seems to be King's practice case for "The Outsider" since he used similar narrative pieces in that book as well (he had witness testimonies, newspaper articles, etc.) This doesn't impact the flow at all and makes the book much more interesting. 

 

The setting of the book is a small town in Maine, Chamberlain. After the events of prom night, the town in essence dies. You can read the pain that many survivors have not just for those lost, but for those who didn't stop Carrie's mother and try to reach out to her so she didn't feel so alone.


The ending was sad to me. I can understand Carrie's rage. A world that overlooked her, mocked her, and seemed hell bent on destroying her. I can see why she wanted to watch everything burn. 

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-27 19:35
Reading progress update: I've read 47%.
Carrie - Stephen King

And now we are at Prom Night.

 

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review 2018-09-27 19:35
HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

 

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

 

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

 

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

 

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble... foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc. The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

 

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.

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text 2018-09-27 13:35
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Carrie - Stephen King

What a bunch of assholes these teen girls are to Carrie. The first image we get of her is dealing with being harassed because she got her period. The teacher (Miss Desjardin) kind of sucks since she finds herself annoyed with Carrie since and wanting her not to just sit there and take it all the time. 

 

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review 2018-09-26 20:41
House of Small Shadows
House of Small Shadows - Adam Nevill

Again, on my phone. Wooo slow days at work!

 

I found The House of Small Shadows to be a really beautiful story. I adored Catherine and really related to a lot of her emotional struggles. There were some points when I had to stop reading because her emotional pain was far too similar to my own. Nevill does an amazing job of capturing emotions and the imagery in the book was really beautiful.

 

Think this book is a good example of a horror story that’s not about ghosts but has ghosts in it (if they are ghosts, anyway). The real horror of the story, to me anyway, is trauma. All the characters appear to have gone through it in some form or another and the ways those influence the story is what puts this book in the horror genre for me. Also if you’re creeped out by dolls, those would freak you out too.

 

The biggest critique I have about the book is the climax and resolution were really confusing to me. Like, I understand how we get to the final destination but there are many things left unanswered in the end that leave me dissatisfied. It could be I just missed them or maybe Nevill got too excited about the world he created that he didn’t realize elements of the story seemed out of place with confusing results. It’s hard to say. 

 

Final rating: 4 out of 5. Beautiful story overall. If you’re a fan of the movie The Orphanage, I do believe you’ll quite like this book.

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