Carrie Recaps: Part Eleven
Wow, so, it’s been a hot minute since I had one of these recaps up last, but we’re back for the first Carrie recap of 2018! I hope you had an awesome holiday season and are enjoying 2018 so far. Well, I know you couldn’t have been enjoying it given that you were waiting with baited breath for this next recap, putting off everything else in your life as you feverishly refreshed the blog waiting for the coveted Carrie post and instead having to deal with some bollocks about Doctor Who in the meantime, but still. Try and enjoy life without me, eh? Chin up.
On with the recap! We left off last time as Mr King explored the relationship between Billy and Chris Hargensen. The last chapter, I’m now remembering in a rush of horror, was Chris’ introduction and was just crammed to the toe top-full of titty references and vague slut-shamey stuff, so I can hardly wait to see what this brings. It’s a protracted sequence, where Chris considers an incident wherein Billy almost crashed his car and then parlayed the excitement into some groping action with Chris afterwards. Now, this entire section just reads as though Billy is a parody of a fifties bad-boy (moments after the crash “not a hair was out of place. He passed her, a cigarette already dangling from the corner of his mouth…there was the smell of Brylcreem and sweat”), and Chris’ attraction to him and arousal at the way he treats her, once again, doesn’t feel like a convincing human depiction of sexuality:
“‘Feel me,’ she said in his car. ‘Feel me all over. Get me dirty.’… He groped greedily, with no finesse at all. And something – perhaps that, perhaps the sudden brush with death – brought her to a sudden, jolting orgasm.”
For one thing, the specification of “in his car” when it had previously been established where they were is just straight comical, but this…I get it, teenage sexuality is weird, and sure I pretty much came to climax every time someone passed me a pen while I was a teenager, but none of this feels real to me. The way Christ talks like some seasoned porn star , the fact that King needed to note that there was no finesse “at all” to the way Billy was touching her and yet she still obviously came…as I’ve said before, I’m in no way claiming that men shouldn’t write female characters or shouldn’t write sex scenes featuring those female characters, but at least, I don’t know, maybe talk to a woman who has experienced sex before you do it so it doesn’t read one half like a letter to penthouse and the other this jerky, juvenile depiction of what people who’ve never had sex think sex should be? Also, Billy was just working on his car and then started groping at Chris’ vag, so she has a UTI now is what I’m saying. For sure. No doubt. No wonder she’s so pissed. Vagina’d people: pee after sex, and don’t let anyone up there if any part of them could be described as “grubby”.
We cut to an excerpt from Sue Snell’s book, where she admits that she believes most of the people expressing sorrow for what she went through aren’t sincere in their concerns. And then we’re back to prom, where Tommy and Carrie have just arrived. Carrie is nervous, but luckily Tommy has some kind words for her, comparing her to Galatea:
“‘Galatea. We read about her in Mr Evers’ class. She turned from a drudge into a beautiful woman.”
WELL THANKS MATE. I know that Carrie knows she’s not attractive, but this is just straight rude. Fuck you, Tommy, you little shit, and be nice to your prom date for a change. Is he negging her? Is that…what that is? It’s so strange. We dodder around the prom for a bit, where Tommy wrestles Extremely Platonically with one of his male friends and someone compliments Carrie’s dress, and then we touch base with some of the “official” report that came out after the event, which places the blame for the releasing of the pig’s blood squarely on Billy’s shoulders and not Chris. Which is interesting, as the last chapter seemed to go out of it’s way to depict the boys involved with her plan as nothing more the gullible idiots hypnotized by her braless titties.
We slide into Billy’s POV for a while, which is actually pretty interesting and reads like a backdoor pilot for Christine, as King touches on the power given to this disadvantaged teenager by his car, and reveals his violent impulses that he often acts out through the vehicle (such as mowing down stray dogs). And we close out the chapter as he sets up the buckets of blood that will be used to set into motion the events of the rest of the prom night.
See, I like this, but it feels a little late in the game to really be giving Chris and Billy some solid characterization – I don’t know, but given that they’re such a major part of the book, the way they’ve been depicted in intensely broad strokes (sociopathic and violent car-mad dude, slutty and rebellious large-titted woman) leaves these segments feeling a little…underdone? Half-baked? I don’t think anyone (except maybe Sue) is exceptionally well-characterized in Carrie, but the villains of the piece, I feel, should have a little more depth than this. Why would Billy be so keen to step in and take over the prom plot after Chris had her nerve start to waver? Yes, we’ve seen that he commits violent acts for no good reason, but this one feels petty – it’s a lot of complex effort to go through for something that he has no real stock in, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to press forward when he could just crap out, which would have been consistent with his characterization until literally this chapter when King suddenly realizes he needs to make him an unrepentant sociopath.
Anyway, we close out of that cliffhanger for this week’s recap! I promise I won’t leave it so long between them in future. As ever, if you enjoyed this post and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting me on Patreon!