#CarrieAt40: So High School by SARAH LANGAN

sarah-langan SARAH LANGAN

On the web: sarahlangan.com

On Twitter: @SarahVCLangan

I first read Carrie in high school, which, given my personality and social status, worked about right. What surprised me was the humanity allotted to the characters– Carrie White is sympathetic and tragic. Sue Snell and her Tommy are good kids. The bad kids, well, they’re pretty bad. Probably, they’re the only characters beyond redemption in a King novel (not including Bachman).

It’s so high school!

I had always loved the movie. It’s poppy and fun. For one, Piper Laurie. For another, that split-screen, disco music montage in which the "Greatest American Hero" struts his blonde afro around a tuxedo shop. But the book– you can’t put it down. It’s a part of its time (the women’s movement), and yet it’s more than that. It’s about original sin and alienation; tensions between parents and children; and especially about the abuse of power, from spoiled Chris Hargensen, to the teachers who pity but don’t like Carrie White, to Carrie’s monstrous mother, and finally, to Sue and Tommy, who want to forge a connection with this loser at the risk of personal ostracism. I’d argue it’s their story, because they know they’re not really in love and that none of this will last after high school, so why not do something that transcends all that?

I’ve heard King deride this first novel, but I think he’s wrong to do it. Critics attack everything. It’s their job. Some stories just come, fully formed, and they come that way because they’re perfect.

Sarah Langan is a three-time Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novels  The Keeper, The Missing, and Audrey’s Door(2006, 2007, 2009, HarperCollins). Her most recent short fiction has appeared in "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction," Brave New Worlds, Wired.com, Nightmare, Lightspeed, and The End is Nigh. Her nonfiction has appeared in Salon. She’s currently at work on her fourth novel (for real this time), The Clinic, as well as some other projects. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. She feels Brian De Palma is awesome, and is grateful to him for hiring Hitchcock’s Bernard Herman for Carrie’s score. She thinks Stephen King and his whole family are pretty cool, too.

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