Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary is a 1983 horror novel by Stephen King. I haven't read much horror, but I've been wanting to read some of the better known modern horror novels and had been looking for this one in particular for months. I was happy to find it on the shelf at our main library's used book store.

I'm irritated by the misuse of words, and this book has a couple of doozies:
  1. "She'll stay to supper, I guess, although I don't think she'll eat nothing. She's gotten peckish." So she won't eat because she's a bit hungry??? Although I suppose "I don't think she'll eat nothing" means "I do think she'll eat something," but that meaning isn't supported by the context. It does look like the word "peckish" is just misused.
  2. .....
  3. King refers to the need to have the main character's cat "spayed" two or three times. That should prove to be difficult since it's a male cat.
I like to think these errors have been corrected in later editions. Sheesh! doesn't anybody pre-read these things? How were such obvious mistakes able to make it into print? It interferes with my ability to enjoy a book when I run across such prime examples of stupid.

Other than those problems (which are real problems for me, make no mistake)... It was a quick and easy read, but after the pet sematary was introduced and explained the course of the book seemed fairly predictable. There was one plot element that came as a surprise, but it was a minor element not crucial to the plot. There is at least 1 film adaptation, which I have not seen.

from the dust jacket:
Can Stephen King scare even himself?

Has the author of Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, and Christine ever conceived a story so horrifying that he was for a time unwilling to finish it? Yes. This is it.

Set in a small town in Maine to which a young doctor, Louis Creed, and his family have moved from Chicago, PET SEMATARY begins with a visit to the graveyard in the woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. But behind the "pet sematary," there is another burial ground, one that lures people to it with seductive promises... and ungodly temptations.

As the story unfolds, so does a nightmare of the supernatural, one so relentless you won't want ... at moments ... to continue reading ... but will be unable to stop.

You do it because it gets hold of you, says the nice old man with the secret. You make up reasons ... but mostly you do it because once you've been up there, it's your place, and you belong to it ... up in the PET SEMATARY - and beyond.
Paste Magazine says, "This is King’s best book and one of the best horror novels ever written. Go back as far as you want: Lovecraft, Stoker, Shelley, it doesn’t matter. This is the top-of-the-line deluxe monster model." Kirkus Reviews closes with this:
Filled out with overdone family melodrama (the feud between Louis and his father-in-law) and repetitious inner monologues: a broody horror tale that's strong on dark, depressing chills, weak on suspense or surprise--and not likely to please the fans of King's zestier, livelier terror-thons.


  1. I quite reading King with Cujo. Don't think I'll be reading this one.


    1. i don't seek him out, but sometimes i find lists his books are on and read those.

  2. I have only read ONE book by King: Christine. I far preferred it to the movie. I saw Cujo on video and had several friends over that day. I'd already previewed it, so excused myself, went into my bath, brushed my teeth and came back with a mouth full of foamy toothpaste. My friends were either scared or thought it was a hoot. Good fun once everyone caught onto the joke.

    I also saw Pet Sematary on video. What struck all my friends (and I, too) who saw it that day, was how much the main cat character looked SO much like my former cat whose name was Dog. Now I'm talking when the cat looked normal, not in his demented state. I have no idea if I would like either Cujo or Pet Sematary if I had read them first, rather than seeing them in film.

    1. Bluebeard and Elizabeth, Both books are far superior to the movies, especially Pet Sematary, I just can't get over Herman Munster as the kindly neighbor.

    2. i haven't read cujo or christine but have seen both movies. i saw them on tv with commercials, tho, which may not really count