Carrie by Stephen King

3.5 stars

This book made me appreciate my mother. 

First off, I want to reiterate that a 3 stars from me does not equate to a negative review. It means I liked/enjoyed the book, but did not really like it or love it. So please, don’t tell me sorry it didn’t work out. Thank you.

Carrie is Stephen’s King first novel, the novel that started the legend. I’ve read other novels by King, but wanted to start at the beginning and make my way from there, that way I have a list to follow. I’ve seen the original movie starring Sissy Spacek, so I pretty much knew what would happen. I think knowing everything, it was easier for me to look at this book from the outside and gain more insight than I would have.

This book is about the teenage girl of a religious fanatic, opening on the day when Carrie gets her first period, and knowing nothing about menstruation she thinks she’s dying. Instead of helping, the girls in her gym class ridicule and traumatize her. Later, one of the girls sees her wrong doing, and attempts to make amends and be kind to Carrie. But a prank from other classmates is looming, and has dire consequences.

There are so many themes present in this book, but what stood out to me was “no good deed goes unpunished”. If Sue Snell hadn’t tried to help Carrie, none of those horrible things would have happened. The cruelty of mankind was another, from a crazy mother, to spiteful fellow students, we saw the dark side of humanity and that to me was terrifying. You can’t help but feel so bad for Carrie the entire book. So many what if’s? And that’s what makes King an amazing writer, he makes the reader think beyond what’s between the pages.

The writing style and I didn’t click very well, by that I mean the random plug ins of studies and books about what happened, instead of letting the story flow. It was almost like he was analyzing what he was writing as the story went on. On top of that, the insertions of parenthesis as thoughts messed with the flow of the novel. Also, I feel like people kept slapping each other left and right the entire book. What’s up with that??

It’s easy to see why this is a classic, to me it wasn’t terrifying or scary. Mostly what I got out of it was the sad story of a girl who was never loved properly, and how the cruelty of others ruined her life.


The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale back when I was in high school, as a part of the local book club the library held for teens. I remembered thinking “This would never happen”. Flash forward to 2017 and well, there are some similarities and parallels to be drawn. I had remembered loving this book when I read it then, but it had been so long, that I didn’t remember any of it, so I decided it was time for a reread.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel about a woman named Offred, a breeder in this new world. Handmaid’s are women of a certain age who have been proven to be fertile, and they live with the Commander’s and their families where they serve only to create more children. This book is exactly the title, it is Offred’s tale, as we see her present day circumstances, and also her reflecting on her past, the way things used to be, when the country changed, her family and friends.

Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

I somehow really connect with Atwood’s writing style. I’ve seen a bunch of reviews saying this book is boring, and I honestly do see where those reviewers are coming from. This book isn’t fast paced at all and there are lots of descriptions. But personally, I find this book completely fascinating and haunting, both times I read it I devoured it. There’s a reason it’s a contemporary classic, and it’s because the story in this book could be any woman in any country. Honestly, there are some politicians out there, the things we find horrifying in this novel is their wet dream come true. And it terrifies me.

My favorite part about this book is it really made me ponder a lot of things. Like, what if this happened to me? There are lots of what ifs that we never get answers to, things to think about. But I never felt unsatisfied in not getting those answers. Atwood intended for us to think about it ourselves and make up our own minds. It doesn’t mean anyone is right or wrong, it’s meant to make us consider.

Anyways, I haven’t watched the Hulu series yet, I saw the horrible movie they made in 1990 and I can honestly say any adaptation is probably better than that one. So I look forward to the series!

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, even if you don’t like it, I see it as a cautionary tale that people need to hear.

“When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”