Rereading Stephen King: week four – Rage

Posted: July 3, 2012 in News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Rage (Stephen King novel)

Rage (Stephen King novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first of King’s Pseudononymous novels “Rage” gets the James Smythe treatment this week over at The Guardian. I have to say that I find myself in disagreement with James this week. I remember picking up a second hand hardback copy of “The Bachman Books” and devouring “Rage”, “The Long Walk” and “The Running Man” in a matter of days – the fourth story, “Roadwork” I couldn’t really get my head around – I think at the time I lacked the maturity to really get the more adult theme of that story. “Rage” and it’s princinpal protagonist Charlie Decker on the other hand was almost custom designed for someone who had recently discovered Holden Caulfield and R.P. McMurphy. While I didn’t want to shoot my teacher and take my classmates hostage the way Charlie does I certainly identified with his teenage angst and loved the way he managed to wrong-foot all  of the adults in the story and the strange dynamic that develops among his hostages leading to the “Lord of the Flies” inspired  finale (possibly even shades of Todd Browning’s “Freaks” in there also).

I was more shocked by the discovery a few years later that “Rage” was literally King’s first attempt at a novel which he had apparently started while he was still a High School student himself. While “Rage” is far from perfect, it’s a well crafted and remarkably self assured effort from someone of high school age and certainly far beyond anything I managed at that age.

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