I no longer remember when i first read Stephen King's Carrie. It was sometime in my late teens or early 20s; I'm pretty sure of that. Many years later, the book has become a kind of peculiar touchstone for me. When I'm anxious or agitated, I often find myself picking up my battered old movie-tie-in paperback, a blood-soaked Sissy Spacek on the cover, and sinking into it as I might into a warm bath.
I think the reason I return to this novel, more than 30 years after its publication, is not only because of the skill with which King builds his unnerving tale but also because of the emotional and metaphorical truth that he captures about how frightening it feels to enter puberty and how awful it feels to be a teenage outcast. In an outlandish, metaphorical sense, Carrie and the wild, bloody havoc she wreaks on her hometown speak for every girl who ever loved a boy who didn't love her back, every person who ever crouched in misery in a bathroom stall, feet raised, everyone who, for whatever reason, didn't fit in. I was one of those kids.
Southgate's most recent novel is Third Girl from the Left.
Next Janet Evanovich