Ti recently listened to "Carrie" on audio, and I was compelled to do it too. In fact, did you know this was his very first book, published in 1974? And who doesn't love that movie with Sissy Spacek? It sounded like good fun to me.
Synopsis: Carrie White has always been the butt of the joke, the misfit of the class, for as long as she can remember. Her single mother is fanatically religious and extremely protective of Carrie, which doesn't help matters. Throughout Carrie's childhood, she has shown occasional signs of a special power...the power to move inanimate objects...particularly when she is under stress. Then Carrie gets her first period, at the age of 17, in the showers after gym class, and panics because she thinks she is dying (her mother never explained these things to her). The other girls humiliate and ridicule her, and this triggers a change in Carrie that takes this power to a whole new level.
One of the offending girls, Sue Snell, feels bad about her behavior in the showers that day, so she pleads with her boyfriend, the very popular Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to the prom. Despite the violent protest from her mother, Carrie accepts, innocently assuming things are looking up. Unfortunately, the other kids in the high school cannot let Carrie enjoy her night, and plan the ultimate prank that will result in a prom that will change everyone's lives forever.
My thoughts: I read this book so long ago, and I am glad I experienced it again...this time with audio...so I will be fully prepared to see the new remake this October. It is another perfect example of how King can create suspense in subtle ways (similar to "The Shining"), not by just outright scaring the bejesus out of you. I know many people hesitate to read any of his work because they are afraid they will never sleep again, but often he is so much more craftier and more literary than that.
I think the beauty of this book is how he slowly builds up to the climax of prom night. Throughout the story, he reveals reports, interviews and book excerpts from "after" that analyze what exactly happened and why, and only slowly and vaguely building up to the ultimate horror of the night in question. If, as a reader, I knew nothing about the plot, this technique would have driven me mad with anticipation! As it is though, who DOESN'T know how it ends? The scenes from the 1976 movie starring Sissy Spacek are iconic.
That brings me to the biggest beef I have, and that is with the movies. Overall, I think the 1976 version is a pretty good representative of the book, with one major exception. In the book, Carrie is described as being overweight and homely with an acne problem. But here is how they cast the part in 1976 with Sissy Spacek and again in 2013 with Chloe Moretz (Hugo, Dark Shadows, Let Me In).
A few words about the audio production: The cherry on top of all of this is that Sissy Spacek narrates the audio. The person who knows the material inside and out, and brings a certain nostalgia to the experience. By the way, she narrated "To Kill a Mockingbird" and knocked it WAY the hell out of park on that one.
Audiobook length: 7 hours and 24 minutes (304 pages)
4.5 out of 5 stars