Book Study : Carrie by Stephen King

Somehow, I haven’t seen the film of Carrie, nor had I read the book. I spotted it in Lichfield library (a beautiful converted church) and decided that it was finally time to check it out.

Everyone knows the story by now I’m sure. I did without even having heard it before. But the thing that surprised me most in this book was the structure.

We all know Mr. King is a master storyteller, but what I really liked about this was not only the format, being told partly through records and interviews, but the pacing.

Carrie uses the ‘ticking bomb’ idea almost perfectly. Right from the start, we know how it is going to end. We know people die, we know Carrie does something awful, and we are just there to see how it all unravels. In some ways when pacing out stories, you would think the grand finale would be better as a twist. But in Carrie, knowing what is coming, what is building up inside her made me not want to put the book down.

That was my lesson from Carrie. Sometimes an ending doesn’t need to be a surprise. It doesn’t need to be a twist or revelation. Sometimes an ending can be like releasing a valve, after building up the pressure over the rest of the story.

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