By Richard Bachman/Stephen King
Summary: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.
Source: I purchased an old copy that was part of The Bachman Books
Rage was written years ago and was pulled from shelves shortly after Columbine by Stephen King due to the nature of the content. There are a few articles and interviews where King talks about his views on gun violence and I think he is far more eloquent than i am about why he decided not to continue selling the book.
Of course, despite his valid reasons, if you tell me I can’t read something or it is out of print, the first thing I want to do is read it. The original paperbacks sell for literally hundreds of dollars, but you can find old copies of The Bachman Books contain Rage for normal used book prices. (If you order a brand new copy of the collection, it will not contain Rage and the company will have to refund you and you’ll have to find a used copy somewhere else, so make sure you pay attention if you purchase the collection!)
Rage was actually pretty good. It was short and wasn’t nearly as violent as I expected. I guess I was waiting for the mass shooter to kill dozens of people and have a narration about why. True to his talent, King gave me something far deeper and more intense. The book wasn’t just about the shooter in the way I imagined. Instead, the story dealt with the relationships between the students in the classroom and the decisions they make. Why are people the way they are? I love that King always has a human element where the true horror is what is inside people who aren’t even really evil. Or are they? I can’t tell you how many times I felt like I was understanding Charlie, yet would recoil because his teacher was dead on the floor in front of him. I think the students suffered from the same dilemma.
The book was a brilliant and horrifying look at a deranged, but fairly normal seeming teenager and it took a look at the social and psychological aspects of adolescence. The ending was great and the book was certainly horrifying in ways I never expected. It is one of his early works, but I enjoyed it.
I definitely recommend Rage and I thought it was well worth the hassle of finding a copy. I don’t necessarily think it should be out of print, but I understand King’s perspective on gun violence and his perspective on being a bestselling author, which he does touch on in the beginning of The Bachman Book collection. I get it, but I definitely had to read it!