“Sometimes dead is better….”
When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son—and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.
But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth—more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.
I breezed through the 562 pages of Pet Sematary in just a little over a week which is saying alot for me since I tend to be a slow reader but this is why I love Stephen King. He grabs hold of the reader and will not let go. When he is good, he is amazing. This was a re-read for me and it was fantastically creepy and terrifying the second time around. King tends to be an author that I love to re-read. I have revisited several of my favorites by him. There is something about going back to a book knowing it will still be good.
As the story starts young doctor Louis Creed is made director of the University of Maine’s campus health service and he moves his family to Ludlow for the job. His wife Rachel and their two little ones Ellie and Gage settle into the family’s new home which is located near a busy road.
On Louis’s first day at work there is a tragic accident where student Victor Pascow is mortally wounded while out running. He dies while Louis is the only person in the room with him and his final words are a warning about the Pet Sematary located across the street from Louis’s new house.
The book pretty much takes off from there. There is an old Indian burial ground a few miles beyond the Pet Sematary which is always on the periphery of Louis’s mind after he has a vivid dream about it after Pascow mentions it. The old burial ground has a hold on this little town of Ludlow and Jud tells Louis about it and about the dark stories and rumors surrounding it. If you bury the dead there they rise again. The power of the burial ground pulls people towards it.
There is just so much here to take stronghold of the reader’s imagination. King is a master at storytelling there is not doubt about it. The way he takes his time drawing you in, making you care about and know these characters, the characterization is wonderful as usual in a King novel.
Pet Sematary is equal parts terrifying and sad. This is how I felt during several scenes. I told myself I wouldn’t read this before bedtime, but I couldn’t put this book down so I read late into the night. I couldn’t help myself.
This isn’t just a horror story about an old Indian burial ground that brings the dead back to life, there is a little family at the heart of the book and King introduces you to them you start to like them and feel afraid for them. I felt bad for Louis, he loses his mind as the story gets deeper and deeper and it is like watching a train wreck. You don’t want to look but you cannot look away. Neighbor Jud becomes friends from the start with Louis and the two are pretty much partners in crime. That road where large trucks race by all the time, why would Louis move his family there in the first place?
“Now, sitting on his bed in the grip of this numbing hangover, rainwater spilling its lazy courses down the window beside him, his grief came for him fully, like some gray matron from Ward Nine in Purgatory. It came and dissolved him, unmanned him, took away whatever defenses remained, and he put his face in his hands and cried, rocking back and forth on his bed thinking he would do anything to have a second chance, anything at all.”
p. 377, Pet Sematary by Stephen King
I read every day on my lunch break this week and was almost ten minutes late getting back one time, but I couldn’t stop.
In the book’s introduction King says Pet Sematary was the novel he wrote then put away because he thought he finally had gone too far. He eventually brought it out and gave it to the publisher because he owed them one last novel under contract. The book was inspired by an actual road he moved his family near once when his kids were small, and a nearby pet cemetery and his daughter’s cat who was killed on that road. His daughter said “Let God have his own cat!” which is a line that made it into the book and film.
The movie scared the sh*t out of me when I was around 13 and first watched it.
It is definitely worth the watch.
So, if you can’t already tell by my raving about this terrifying and sad novel, I loved it. Uncle Steve doesn’t disappoint with his twisted classics for us horror lovers. Read it, but not when you are home alone, and not when you need to go down to the basement to get the wash and also not right before bed unless you are really brave.
“And the most terrifying question of all may just be how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”
p. 305, Pet Sematary
about the author:
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy, Revival, and Doctor Sleep. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of Pet Sematary by Stephen King.
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