carrie novel first edition stephen king
7.5 Overall Score

Fun to see how King began

Not the most developed of King's stories

Book Info

Book Name:  Carrie

Publisher:  Doubleday

Writer:  Stephen King

Release Date:  April 5, 1974


Carrie Paperback

Carietta White was hated by her classmates.  Trapped in a home with a ultra-religious mother, Carrie found herself the butt of everyone’s joke and was constantly mocked.  When Carrie experienced her first period at school, her classmates attacked her for not knowing what was happening.  This attack starts of a chain of events that is studied and dissected by investigators after the disaster at the Chamberlain prom…Carrie had a secret and her secret meant death for those who mocked her.

Written by Stephen King, Carrie was King’s first published novel.  The story was set in the future of 1979 and written as first person stories and an epistolary which included book excerpts from books and reports on the events which occurred.  The novel became a smash success for King and propelled him as one of the top genre writers and best-selling authors of all time.

Carrie is an interesting book to see how King evolved as a writer.  I have always said about Stephen King that I don’t always enjoy his plots, but he is a great character creator and always seems to be able to write well rounded characters that feel very real.  Though it is his first novel, Carrie is no exception.

King has become a little down on Carrie since it was published in 1974 and often reminds people it is his first novel…I always find first novels are sometimes stronger than later novels because they have grown and developed in an author’s mind for years and really wanted out.  In this respect, I think Carrie is quite strong.  It was pretty daring of King to attempt to write a novel composed of so many functioning pieces (he also had challenged himself to write a woman character).


Stephen King as he appeared on the 1st Edition

The characters of Carrie once again are a strong aspect of the novel.  You have all known a Carrie White, and in a time when it is kill or be killed, you might have even made fun of her.  It has often be said that girls can really be crueler than guys and that obviously is the case here.  Carrie comes off as an outcast and mousy, but she never had a chance.

Carrie is backed by a nice supporting cast with characters like Sue Snell (probably the true secondary character…she probably actually has as many pages devoted to her as Carrie), and Carrie’s mother has become the classic horrible mother.  The lead bully Chris Hargensen is probably the most one dimensional character in the story, and Tommy Ross is just a bit too perfect as the teen introspective “good guy”.

The effect of Carrie was astounding.  The character became almost an archetype of the sheltered girl and the story is one of those films that you just know.  The book was turned into a hugely popular Brian De Palma film in 1976 which featured a young popular cast (and a remake in 2002 and 2013) and a short lived Broadway musical in 1988.  The film altered the story format and changed the ending (probably for the better), but despite memorable casting, both Carrie and her mother didn’t really match the descriptions of the novel.  Carrie launched King’s career and King followed Carrie with another hit in ’Salem’s Lot in 1975.

Followed By:

’Salem’s Lot

Related Links:

Carrie (1976)

Carrie (2002)

Carrie (2013)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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