Title: Pet Sematary
Author: Stephen King
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Family, Horror, Thriller
Dates read: 4th – 15th December 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Caa,’ the young man said, and now Louis fancied he could smell death on his breath, internal injuries, lost rhythm, failure, ruin.
‘Sometimes… dead is better.’
The house looks right, feels right to Dr Louis Creed. Rambling, old and comfortable. A place where the family can settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seem a world away from the fume-choked dangers of the city.
It’s only those big trucks on the road outside which growl out unnerving threats.
Behind the house there’s a carefully cleared path up into the woods to a place where generations of local children have walked in procession 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…
Let me start this by saying that I basically read the whole book in one day. While I was home alone. It is not something that I recommend. To make my decision making all that much more questionable… I’d actually gone to start it late one night before bed (when my partner was next to me) and, after reading that King thinks this is the scariest story he’s ever written. So I put it down and decided it was a day time read. Which, to be fair, I did start it in the morning. Thought I’d stop when it got scary. I didn’t. I finished it at about 6 pm, realised I had a long, lonely night ahead of me… not what I would recommend at all.
Actually, after reading this, I realised that a) Stephen King was right, this shit is terrifying; b) I needed a super hot shower to wash off the insanity of what I had just read; and c) I really needed to call someone, anyone to distract me. To make matters worse, I have a beagle that likes to find dark corners from which to just… watch me. A little like Church, the creepy not-so-dead cat.
To be fair, Part One of this book isn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, bringing a pet cat back from the dead isn’t great… but it was a just enough tingling level of creepy. Then you started Part Two. It started to get worse there. Because you just knew that the decision making was not going to be great. By the time I got to Part Three… I actually really didn’t want to continue. I felt physically ill. But I had to know what happened. Especially, since most horror stories have an ending that will let you sleep at night. This one doesn’t. When I told my partner the storyline a few days later… I kind of just paused, stared at him and realised that I wasn’t going to be getting to sleep anytime soon.
One of the things about King that I love is that although the horror comes from supernatural beings, it’s truly the actions of the people that have caused it. The death of innocents (such as children and pets) is always horrendous, but the ways that people act afterwards? The decisions that they make? There is something FAR more unsettling about that than anything else…
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