People kill people. WITH FUCKING GUNS!
I could not even begin to answer the question of whether Stephen King had the Catcher in the Rye in mind when he wrote this story, or not, but I see definite parallels between the two stories. Unfortunately, that made the story less enjoyable. I love Stephen King as a storyteller, but I think that I can understand why this novel was published under a pseudonym.
So . . . we have poor, misunderstood Charlie Decker, when the abusive father, and the pacifist mother. Charlie gets his dad’s gun (reference the opening line of this post for why guns are a bad idea). Charlie has been misbehaving in school and when he gets called out for it, he goes on a rampage and kills two teachers, then proceeds to hold his classmates hostage for an entire morning, through which we are treated to a series of stories about Charlie and his classmates, each of which seemed duller than the last. It is a tale of how the students grow to identify with Charlie, and turn on the one kid who represents the establishment: Ted Jones.
Perhaps I would have had a different opinion had I read this novel as a woefully misunderstood teenager, but I wasn’t at all sympathetic to the characters. Charlie seems to go over the top in his antagonism of the authorities. HIs story of his relationship with his father, and fellow classmates is not unique. The stories of the classmates that we get to see through the course of the novel are dull and are presented with a certain detachment that do not allow a reader to identify with them. And their final treatment of Ted Jones, along with his reaction, are just way too over the top.
I suppose my expectations for this story were way too high, and I’ve turned into too much of a supporter of the establishment (I do work for a bank after all). I wanted to feel sympathy for Charlie, almost akin to what I felt for Carrie, but it just wasn’t there. I was rooting for the snipers to take Charlie out. Sorry.
As Charlie says: “That’s the end. I have to turn off the light now. Good night.”