Friday, October 2, 2009

My Favorite Banned Books: Carrie

This week, September 27-October 3, is Banned Books Week, a time to honor those authors and their books that have created waves of controversy among the selfish and simple-minded.

Who has the right to tell you what to read? No one. Except me. Put "Carrie" on your TBR list if you haven't already. And spread the word.

"Carrie" by Stephen King is frequently banned, not because of the violence or gore, but because of its anti-fundamentalism, its anti-Christianity. If there is a person alive who does not know this story from either the book itself or the movie with John Travolta, then he or she has been living in a cave - or surrounded by fundamentalist Christians.

I joke, I kid, I come from love.

Seriously, though, "Carrie" is a terrific exploration of what it's like to be a persecuted teen in high school. It's a revenge fantasy that satisfies a part of all of us that wants to get back at the people who hurt us, willfully or not - and remember, lots and lots of people died in this book, not simply the girls and boys who were mean to Carrie. Ultimately, the revenge is not sweet nor is it satisfactory, because, well...I can't spoil that for you, can I? Suffice to say, one certainly may want revenge and fantasize about how to get it but the outcome isn't nearly what you think it will be. Innocent people often lose, as do the people who seek revenge in the first place.

Sure, there's a lot to upset people in this book: teen sex, profanity, telekinetic powers...but it's just a fun book, nothing more. Sometimes a book is, you know, only a book, a story to be enjoyed. I love King's books for their shiver effect. His best make me a glutton for words - I just want more and more and more and I won't stop reading until I'm stuffed to the gills.