Written by Richard Bachman a.k.a. Stephen King (1977)
Reviewed by Steve, added on Dec 17 2006
Ever have one of those days? Well Charlie Decker is having one of those lives. He has girl issues, he deals with a bully, and he has major parental issues, especially with his dad. And sometimes he just….snaps. Like the one time he cracked a teacher upside the head with a wrench. But now that’s in the past (not too far back though) and he has finally returned to school. Soon he snaps again.
This is a book that’s hard to find now. It’s about a kid who takes a classroom full of students hostage and kills his teacher and one other member of the faculty. Of course he didn’t even know the gun was loaded until it went off. The fire he set in his locker (I mentioned that part didn’t I?) triggers the alarm and the kids pile out but not before Charlie’s situation is discovered and soon the school is swarming with cops.
So guess how well this kind of subject matter goes over in today’s society.
What begins as a hostage situation turns into a group therapy session as the student spill their guts and darkest secrets to one another and begin to except Charlie, feeling less threatened by him. As the story progresses Charlie realizes that the only person he really wants to hold hostage is the bully but keeps the others around anyways. The classroom is filled with all sorts of student stereotypes as well as Charlie’s love interest. Most of the students have interesting stories and you get a good look into all of their heads and find out they may not be so stereotypical.
The story here is great but there are some moments that fall on the boring end of the spectrum. This is to be expected considering that 90% of the book is kids sitting around chatting. Luckily these moments are few and far between and easily forgotten when you get into the more interesting backstories like why the good girl might not be so good and Charlie trying to figure out why exactly he does the things he does. My guess, “this sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?”
This book kicks algebra’s ass.
The book is capped off with an amazing and fitting ending where Charlie’s hostages just may become accomplices in the whole ordeal. Yes, this is a book about killing at a school, but after reading the story it’s hard to not come away with a feeling of, “that guy deserved it.” Read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
There’s really not much else I can talk about without getting into specifics and needing to mark for spoilers. Suffice it to say that Rage is a great story. I’ve never been a fan of King’s supernatural work. However I do believe that when he’s writing a story about normal people in extreme situations, like in Rage, The Long Walk, and Running Man (pretty much any of his Bachman stuff that I’ve read), he’s a damn fine story teller. Rage is a great example of this.
Good luck finding a copy.