“And then the world exploded.”
Carrie was the first novel that Stephen King had published, but not the first that he had written. He had already written and had published a number of short stories, he had written Rage, TheLong Walk and The Running Man, and he had even made a start on the Dark Tower.
As any Stephen King fan will no doubt know, Stephen King’s Carrie nearly didn’t happen at all. The book started life as a short story for Cavalier Magazine, but King became frustrated with the story and threw the first few pages of the manuscript away. Stephen King says one of the problems that he had with Carrie was that he was unable to relate to the problems of a teenage girl.
His wife Tabitha retrieved the manuscript from the garbage and encouraged Stephen King not only to finish it, but to turn it into a full length novel. Stephen King has said that the only reason he carried on with Carrie was because he had no other new ideas at the time.
When Carrie was published, Stephen King was living in a trailer with his wife. He was working as an English teacher Hampden Academy and only just making ends meet. King received an initial advance for Carrie of $2,500. A few months later, New American Library bought the paperback rights for $400,000 and the paperback went on to sell more than 1 million copies in the first year.
Stephen King’s first published novel is about a Carrie White, who is a bit of a misfit at high school and has a domineering, ultra-religious mother. She is also a girl who is slowly developing telekinetic powers.
Carrie was tormented relentlessly at school and she was always the awkward girl at games and the one who never got the punch line of a joke. She became the laughing stock of the school and, although she often couldn’t understand why she was being picked on, it always hurt her deeply.
Thing’s aren’t a lot better for Carrie at home. Her mother tells her that pretty much everything is a sin. Her mother even thinks that a girl having period is a sin, so she tells Carrie nothing about it at all, and that leads to one of Carries most awful moments at school.
Carrie has her own private game that she plays. If she concentrates hard enough, she can make things move. She bottled up her power, though, because her mother told her that her power was a sin too.
Everything comes to a head at the school prom. Sue Snell, one of the girls who had so viciously taunted Carrie in the locker room about her first period, convinces her boyfriend Tommy to ask Carrie to the prom.
It all goes well to begin with and Carrie even begins to dare to believe that she might have the best night of her life. Some of her classmates, however, have hatched a plan that will be the cruellest trick played on Carrie yet.
Carrie is finally pushed over the edge and she uses her telekinesis to exact her deadly revenge on her school mates and on the town she lives in.