Carrie was the first published work by author extraordinaire Stephen King.
Most of his standard clichés and tropes began here, and as such, I had felt like I’d read it long before I had.
I’d seen it mocked on Tiny Toon Adventures.
I’d seen the Sissy Spacek movie, spent good hour before I found codes for my Samsung TV Samsung TV Error Code 012, and the remake.
I’d heard of — and avoided — “The Rage: Carrie 2.”
I knew the plot and characters and setting, and I even read “On Writing” and can tearfully recount how the publishing of Carrie changed the lives of King’s poor family.
You can know absolutely everything about this story and never know how absolutely amazing it is until you actually pick it up and read it for yourself.
Told through a variety of views, including memoir, police report, and medical journal, Carrie tells the story of Carrie White, a put-upon young woman who gets her first period at the age of 16.
As many ‘late-bloomers’ are, she is on the outside of the social order and is all but assaulted by her classmates when her menstrual cycle begins in the now-infamous shower scene.
This trauma — combined with Carrie’s mother’s ascertain that menstruation only comes to those who have sinned — triggers latent telekinetic powers.
The sci-fi aspect is almost an afterthought though — a grim warning that those put-upon victims might someday lash-out — as has since been proven the case many times.
It’s a first-period story, a story about bullies, and a warning to the repercussions of the sort of staunched religious upbringing that Carrie is born into.
Sexual repression, violence, and vengeance are all prevalent themes.
If you’ve only read other books by King or only seen the adaptations of Carrie, you might wonder why King is considered the master of his generation.
Anyone who has actually read this book doesn’t have to wonder.
“If you’ve only read other books by King or only seen the adaptations of Carrie, you might wonder why King is considered the master of his generation.
Anyone who has actually read this book doesn’t have to wonder.”
This book is, I think without a doubt, my favorite Avengers story ever told… and that’s going to be a bit of a controversial statement here on “Avengers Month at the Book Closet,” or at least it would have been 10 years ago.
You see for quite a while, there were ‘purist’ Avengers fans: fans who longed for the classic characters like Ant-Man and Scarlet Witch to be a part of a team, but with this reinvention, we instead got “new” Avengers Spider-Man and Wolverine standing alongside originals like Captain America and Iron Man.
And without any hiccups, it’s pretty much been that way ever since, so those ‘purists’ have pretty much had to just deal with it.
This book drives in what The Avengers is all about, and what has been their mission statement from the first issue: heroes coming together to fight a foe that no one hero could have defeated alone.
That’s a great premise, but it was never fully realized.
Even that first battle waaaaaaay back in Avengers #1, the team came together to just fight Loki.
Not Loki and an invading alien army either, as the film represents: just Loki.
That scene when the Hulk deals with the “puny god” from the film will let you know how true to ‘that no one hero alone could overcome’ statement is.
That’s always been the problem with the Avengers for me: they say that this couldn’t have been done on their own, but Thor has beaten Loki on his own multiple times.
In Breakout, we get possibly the first situation where, yes, no one of them could have defeated this threat on their own (for one reason or another).
The plot is so simple a 5-year old could have thought of it: Electro institutes a breakout of the prison for super-villains.
That sounds simple, and it is.
The plot is so simple is what allows the plot to get out of the way so that the big, big action set-pieces and character moments can occur.
One of the big complaints I had with the start of New Avengers vol.2 was that that new team came together in such a bureaucratic way: Luke Cage just sat around and wondered “Hmmm, who do I want as my Avengers?”
That’s boring and anti-climactic and, well, anti-Avengers.
The Avengers work best as a team that, to quote Captain America from this very book, “Assemble themselves.”
Fate or destiny or blind luck is what brings them together, nothing more and nothing less.
And as for the quota of “no one of them could have handled this alone?”
I need point only to the heart-wrenching scene in which a host of villains hold Spider-Man down and snap his arm in two.
They needed each other here, and that makes the whole thing that much more grand and epic.
The New Avengers, Vol. 1: Breakout by Brian Michael Bendis
Carrie by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“They needed each other here, and that makes the whole thing that much more grand and epic.”