Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

No Series
DRAMA / THRILLER

rating

A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.

“There's a Mr. Hyde for every happy Jekyll face, a dark face on the other side of the mirror.”

Rage is the ultimate in teenage angst, kind of like a more violent, twisted version of 'The Babysitter's Club' because of the morbid teenage bonding that went on inside the classroom.

An interesting book, glad I read it. It's not a typical school shooter type of fiction novel - and this alarming plot trope is why King banned publications of this book after that became an unfortunate "in" thing. The first half is more intriguing and a higher star rating - but by the end it sours a bit and became a little shaky. What I dug most was the unexpected bonding of most of the classmates, even if I felt bad for a particular character they kept picking on.

It's short and most of the book is talking - not actually very violent outside the beginning - and there isn't a concrete reason given for the violence other than the character being unstable and super angsty. He makes Holden Caulfield appear almost optimistic.

The ending shows that the bond went beyond the classroom, and that the teens persisted in thinking the adults were all artificial beings who couldn't possibly understand them. Charlie's character comes across convincing enough and we spend plenty of time in his head, but there still aren't any clear reasons or explanations for how he is, what he does, or what comes after the story. I guess maybe that's the point after all - some things aren't understandable.




   Book Quotes:

“When you're five and you hurt, you make a big noise in the world. At ten you whimper. But by the time you make fifteen you begin to eat the poisoned apples that grow on your own inner tree of pain.”

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