Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Not Firestarter

I just finished Stephen King's first novel, Carrie. I was so confused because I had conflated Carrie and King's other book, Firestarter. I don't know why I did, but I did. So when Carrie didn't burn the town down with her mind, I was pretty confused.

OK so my confusion is boring. What did I think about the book? I thought it was excellent for a first novel. Authors tend to get known for one aspect or another of their books, and I thought that King was known for being scary. This book wasn't scary. Not even in the "maybe that used to scare people" kind of way. It just wasn't scary. It's about a reject girl with telekinesis who finally gets picked on too much. The moral? Don't pick on the fundamentalist fat girl or else she might blow your whole dadgum town up. There's a freaky-ish scene where she's walking down the street with a knife sticking out of her shoulder, but that's about it.

But let me say that King did beat out my favorite author in one respect. Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods is an incredible novel that alternates between telling the story in the present and presenting the story from the future through evidence, interviews, documentaries, etc. King does the same thing in Carrie, but I'm sad to say, he does it better and more interestingly.

In short, if you're looking for a scary book, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a well-written, interesting book about telekinesis, this may be for you. Or if you like stories set in small towns in Maine, this story is for you.


RG said...

I have yet to read a Stephen King novel, because the movie adaptations are SO BAD. I suppose that might not be his fault; Michael Crichton's movie adaptions also tend to be SO BAD, or at least nothing near the book. Sphere was quite possibly one of the worst movies I ever saw, although the book was a little better. Congo was a travesty as both a movie and a book. But maybe I'll get over my literary snobbishness and give Stephen King a try. Firestarter, at least, can't possibly be worse than the TV miniseries by the same name.

avacadojer said...

You know, I used to think that popular "literature" was not worth the time it takes to read it, but then I read some Dan Brown and some worthwhile John Grisham, and I decided to give pop lit a chance. I recommend some of the lesser known Crichton (like The Terminal Man or The Rising Sun) or Grisham's King of Torts or The Chamber. Excellent books. The Chamber made me want to be a death penalty lawyer AND get to know my grandfather, it's that good. As for Dan Brown, I highly recommend any of them, but only if you're willing to remember that it's fiction.