-books -dates -Lists -Movies -Music -musicals and broadway 24 30 Rock 666 Park Avenue Alcatraz Alias America's Next Top Model American Horror Story American Idol Americans Are You There Chelsea? Arrested Development Arrow Awake Awkward Bates Motel Being Human Ben and Kate Bent Best Friends Forever Better with You Big Bang Theory Big Brother Big C Big Love Blue Bloods Boardwalk Empire Body of Proof Bones Borgias Boss Breaking Bad Breaking In Breaking Pointe Bridge Bunheads Camelot Carrie Diaries Charlie's Angels Chicago Code Chicago Fire Chuck Community Continuum Copper Cougar Town Cult Dark Tower Deception Defenders Degrassi Dexter Doctor Who Dollhouse Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 Downton Abbey Elementary Emily Owens MD Enlightened Episodes Event Fall Falling Skies Family Tree Felicity Finder Firefly Following Fosters Freaks and Geeks Friday Night Lights Friends Fringe Game of Thrones GCB Gifted Man Gilmore GIrls Girls Glee Glee Project Good Wife Gossip Girl Grey's Anatomy Grimm Hannibal Happy Endings Harry Potter Hart of Dixie Hawaii Five-O Hell on Wheels Hellcats Hemlock Grove Heroes Homeland House House of Cards House of Lies How I Met Your Mother How to Be a Gentleman How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) I Hate My Teenage Daughter In Treatment Intervention Jane by Design Jersey Shore Justified Last Man Standing Last Resort Life Unexpected Lone Star Longmire LOST Louie Lying Game Mad Men Make it or Break it Man Up Mindy Project Missing Mockingbird Lane Modern Family Mr Selfridge Napoleon Dynamite Nashville New Girl New Normal Nikita Nine Lives of Chloe King No Ordinary Family Off the Map Office Once Upon a Time Originals Outlaw Outsourced Pan Am Parenthood Parks and Recreation Perfect Couples Person of Interest Playboy Club Pretty Little Liars Prime Suspect Psych Raising Hope Real Housewives of New Jersey Revenge Revolution Ringer Rob Rookie Blue Running Wilde Saving Hope Scandal Scrubs Secret Circle Secret Life of the American Teenager Sex and the City Shameless Sherlock Smash So You Think You Can Dance Sons of Anarchy South Park Southland Suburgatory Supernatural Switched at Birth Teen Wolf Terra Nova The Fall The Fosters The Killing The River The Voice Touch true blood Twisted Two and a Half Men Two Broke Girls Under the Dome Unforgettable United States of Tara Up All Night V Vampire Diaries Veep Vegas Veronica Mars Walking Dead Web Therapy Weeds White Collar Whitney Whole Truth Wilfred Work It X-Factor X-Files Zero Hour

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ern Reads Every Stephen King Book Post 4: Rage

Yes, I'm still doing this. I just got stuck on this one. You see, it's a hard book to GET. Also, I feel guilty for reading it, because I don't think King would approve.

There's a story behind that, and one that makes me love Stephen King more than I already do (which is a lot). This book involves a school shooting. When you hear that, you think of Columbine or the most recent shooting, right? But the incidents in this book aren't much like those at all. WAY fewer people die, for one thing.

Anyway, this book was published in the '70s, way before those events. This book involves a prolonged hostage situation where the kid with the gun performs a social experiment on his classmates and messes with them psychologically.

Three criminals had a connection to the book. In the 80s, Jeffrey Cox held 60 students hostage for more than 30 minutes before he was disarmed by a fellow student. One of his friends told reporters that he was inspired by "Rage," a book he strongly identified with and read several times.

The second incident, also in the 80s, involved yet another high school senior, Dustin Pierce. He also took a class hostage for nine hours. No one was hurt, but police found Rage in his bedroom. In the 90s, Michael Carneal shot three fellow students at a prayer meeting, and Rage was found in his locker.

It makes sense that the hostage situations were probably inspired by the book. That's the plot. But we don't feel like King was responsible. The only thing he could have done differently was to make the main character, the shooter, a little less relatable and a little less cool.

That guy was highly intelligent, sick of society's BS, and sympathetic. He had a bad home life and his struggles fitting in at school came across as painfully real. It wasn't so much the situation that made this book "dangerous," but how freaking good of a writer King is that he was able to create this character who connected with people in a dark place.

If that character had been a little more pathetic, or had been revealed as narcissistic or wrong in some way at the end, things might have turned out better. OR if that same character had been placed in another story. King did a similar thing with Carrie. We all felt for her and then she killed a heck of a lot more people than the guy in Rage did. She just did it with psychic powers.

If this guy had carried out his plan in a way that didn't involve guns or schools, or if they had been inadvertently trapped in a cave together or something, the main character could have played his social games with the students and had the same book with none of the danger. I think what I'm advocating is that King rewrite this book.

There's good stuff here. There's a lot of truth and there's a lot of style. I really, really enjoyed it. I think it should have been twice as long. It felt like a novella or a long "short story." King drew from his time in high school, and I think those frustrated, hurting voices need to be heard.

However, King told his publisher to "take the damned thing out of print." It is available now in a Bachman collection, but I had trouble getting it. My copy includes four Bachman books and has yellow pages. It smells old.

Better safe than sorry, and I respect King for valuing human life more than his art. But I think there's a place for this story, with revisions because shootings are an even bigger concern these days. Would I recommend that you read this book? Only if you know for certain that you aren't in this dark place.

Only if you're either a) safely out of school/an adult or b) a popular kid who wants to become more compassionate. If there's hate in your heart for yourself, others, or the life you are leading at school, stick to Lord of the Rings and wait it out. It really does get better.

Book grade compared to other King books: B+


  1. Don't know how much this would help, but I use to search for the lowest price on books. Just quickly searched then and was going to say that there's a new paperback printing of the Bachman Books, but then I found out it doesn't include Rage.

  2. I think I found it on amazon used and there was only one left. I like the site you put.- this is ern too lazy to log in by phone