Pet Sematary by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the book that ruined me for lesser horrors.
Sure, there are a ton of really great horror tales out there, some with bigger themes, some with more blood and guts, and some with tighter pacing, but none of them can quite layer and layer a single theme so deftly, craftily, or inexorably.
If you buy a sale of goods, it'll always come home to you.
This is a book of good intentions and a ton of character agency, of gambler's mentality throwing good money after bad, of the investment of life, love, and eventually grief and the grief process permanently stuck at "Bargaining". It's effective as a novel because every one of us have lost someone precious to us and we've all been through this very thought process.
Maybe we've not all been given opportunities such as this, but what would YOU do if it presented itself? Do you really think you're any less flawed than Louis or Rachel or Jud? They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but in the end, compassion was never their weakness.
Compassion is always our downfall. Don't you know?
We're going to Disneyland. Don't you worry, baby, we're going to Disneyland.
This is easily Stephen King's most horrific novel. I've read most of them, and I love others more for very different reasons, but as for the novel that scares me the very most, it was always a tie between this and It. But here's the thing about memory. There are a few rather huge flaws in It that Pet Sematary doesn't share. For one, we don't have the whole forgetting angle.
Pet Sematary leads us step by step, page by page, into an ever descending cycle of love, to foreshadowing, to horror and all the way back again, rinsing and repeating in ever greater cycles until Stephen King leaves you a gibbering mess. I had to finish it at 4 am, too. There's something quite magical about this novel. :)
If you write about it, then maybe it won't come true, right Mr. King? Rub some of that magic on us, too.
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