Photo via Stephenking.com

Nearly half a century later, Stephen King’s “Carrie” remains an essential read for any fan of supernatural horror. First published in April 1974, the novel received favorable reviews from critics for its memorable story, prominent themes and overall disturbing nature. 

The iconic story follows 16-year-old Carrie White who has been bullied and belittled by her peers. Not only is she constantly harassed at school, but she also lives with her abusive and highly religious mother, Margaret. Carrie also harbors telekinetic powers that she has slowly developed over time.

While the book is primarily told through a linear third-person narrative, it will often switch over to various perspectives that take place in the story’s future. This form of narration contains manuscripts, newspapers and autobiographies from past survivors. The foreshadowing and buildup to the event and what transpires afterwards is extremely gripping and gives further background detail on relevant characters.

Many different themes are prevalent throughout the story such as ostracization, revenge and how one’s actions will bring out pain and suffering. The plot blends horror and gothic fiction with elements of a coming-of-age story and how younger people are often more vicious and less morally empathetic. 

The character Sue Snell feels sympathy for the unpopular and shunned Carrie and wants to help her by performing an act of kindness, but in doing so she is the catalyst for the widespread destruction that happens. Now the once popular Sue is shunned by those around her. 

The strong sales and success of “Carrie” is what initially sparked King’s legendary career as the world famous horror novelist. The book is also noteworthy for being one of the most frequently banned books in United States schools due to its disturbing and controversial content. 

“Carrie” has received various adaptations over the years including a 1976 film adaptation directed by Brian De Palma. The original 1974 novel is worth checking out for longtime fans of Stephen King or those who want to start reading his material.