Pet Semetary by Stephen King
I have recently finished reading Pet Semetary by Stephen King; I have read this several times before, and as I have written before it was also the first Stephen King book that I read. This book is the reason why I love King so much; this book really opened my eyes to how good fiction can be. I’m not saying that it is the greatest book I have ever read, nor am I saying that I think that it is King’s best novel (although I would agree with King himself that it is his scariest), but I do think it is very good, full of anticipation and suspense with an underlying sadness that engulfs the reader. Now this will obviously be a very biased review, a review that has sentimentality at the core and I will not apologise for this. I’d like to think every reader out there has that book, that starter for ten from their now favourite author that they will never forget and forgive all.
Pet Semetary is a story about Louis Creed, the absence of his father and the relationship he strikes up with an elderly neighbour, Judd Crandall, when he and his family move to a new town. It is also about death, family secrets and the secrets which death holds. Don’t let the fact that the book is about death put you off though; it’s not about death in a horrible violent way but more about is mysteries and how humans perceive death differently from each other. Some people fear death greatly whilst others can see the inevitability of a life ending. Louis with his wife, two children and pet cat move to a small town in Maine where is has taken a job at the local University as a physician. The house in which they move to is on a very busy road and up the lane next to the house is the Pet Semetary (misspelled by local children when making the sign for their cemetery). When Louis’ family are away, Church (the pet cat) is killed on the road. Judd leads Louis to an ancient burial ground beyond the Pet Semetary to bury Church and then just like in the poem, the cat comes back.
Now, not so scary you may say, and I would agree. However, the novel then continues in to a tale of obsession, secrets, horror and most of all sadness. The burial ground and the mystery surrounding it becomes a planted seed in the mind of Louis that he cannot let go. It is this obsession that then leads to events that make this book in some parts quite terrifying. Several years ago when I read this book I came to realise that the supernatural element of the book is not that scary, it is everything that leads up to the supernatural that makes it scary. That is still the case now. What I really like about this book is that every time I read it I do find something new in it; upon this time of reading I really noticed the melancholy nature of the book. I had also forgotten how deeply sad it is in places – there is one particular chapter where the pain and anguish of the main characters flows from the page in a great wash of grief which, as the reader, you cannot help but be engulfed by. It is a moving portrayal of a family torn apart.
I would highly recommend reading this book, even if you’ve read it before, but it is not for the faint hearted.