TITLE: PET SEMATARY
AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING
PUBLISHER: NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY
GENRE: HORROR FICTION
COVER TYPE: PAPER BACK
BLURB FROM THE COVER
The house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed.
Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago.
Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat.
But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial.
A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding…
Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he entered middle age, but that was exactly what happened.. Although he called this man a friend, as a grown man must do when he finds the man who should have been his father relatively late in life. He met this man on the evening he and his wife and his two children moved into the big white frame house in Ludlow. Winston Churchill moved in with them. Church was his daughter Eileen’s cat.
This is a book from my own collection. It’s one of my favourite King novels and I’ve read it nine of ten times. The last time was years ago and it was great to fall in love again. Pet Sematary has been adapted into a film (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Sematary_(film). The sequel was a load of trash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Sematary_Two).
I love Pet Sematary. This is high on my list of favourite King novels. I haven’t read it for years and forgot how much I love it until I picked it up again. I would class Pet Sematary as one of King’s very few straight horror novels, maybe the only. King didn’t even want to publish this because it frightened him so much. I was engrossed from start to finish.
I think the characterisation is spot on in Pet Sematary. The main players are all well-written, interesting and engaging. I felt Louis’s uncertainty as he settled into his new job and tried to keep his family together. I sympathised with Rachel’s terror of death because of childhood trauma she experienced. Jud was my favourite character, a lovely old man. I even like Gage and Ellie. They were my friends and I cared about what happened to them. I wept when Gage died.
King creates an impressive sense of place in Pet Sematary. The novel is set in Maine, a place King sets so much of his writing. This time he takes us to Ludlow. The town was real to me. The Creed house was alive. I could picture the cemetery behind the house where local kids buried their dead pets. The sinister Micmac burial ground beyond the pet graveyard was frighteningly real. I felt like I walked the streets and heard, felt and smelt everything.
Pet Sematary is King’s most gruesome novel. There is no happy ending for the Creed family. King does a great job as keeping his reader’s attention despite the inevitable conclusion. King offers us a unique and heart-breaking zombie story. He never uses the word zombie or living dead but it’s clear what Church, Gage and then his wife are. I liked the way King focused on Louis’s viewpoint as his obsession with the Micmac burial ground took a hold of him.
The best bit of Pet Sematary is when Louis sends his wife and daughter to his in law’s so he can rebury Gage at the Micmac burial ground. Several chapters move rapidly back and forth between Louis, his wife and daughter and Jud waiting for Louis to come back do he can stop him. This section is very fast paced and engrossing. The ending is heart-breaking. The final line ‘Darling’ it said is perfect.