Thursday 28 March 2019

PET SEMATARY by Stephen King

Pet Sematary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those Stephen King books that I've had on my bookshelf for years but haven't read because it got lost in my bookshelf. Not to mention that it was one where the movie took over and I just never got back to the book.

Well, this year I decided that before going to see the new movie version, I wanted to make sure I'd finally read the book.

When Louis and Rachel Creed move into a lovely big house in the small town of Ludlow, they're excited about starting a new life with their kids and cat. Louis has got himself a gig as head doctor in the local university infirmary. He's excited about the challenge, and when he meets the charming old neighbour across the road, Jud Crandall, he makes an instant friend.

But Ludlow has its secrets, and after Jud shows the family the local pet cemetery, nothing is ever the same.

On the first day of school, a shocking accident leaves a student with a crushed skull. As the days go by Jud's wife gets sicker. The family cat has an accident. And Jud introduces Louis to a terrible dark and mysterious place that will change the Creed family forever...

After I finished this fantastic book, one word came to mind. And that was: WOW! I mean, I knew this book would be an excellent, creepy read but I didn't expect the multitude of layers. Then again, it is a King book and I am a Constant Reader, so why was I surprised?

On the surface, Pet Sematary is a horror story with plenty of freaky supernatural stuff. There's a creepy indian burial ground, some dark mythology about the wendigo, ghosts with messages, and a lot of scenes that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. But there's so much more.

At the core of the story is the Creed family. A husband and wife who got married against the wishes of her father. Louis is a man who likes his job and is good at it, but most of all he wants to take care of his family and keep them safe. He also doesn't want to lie to them about the facts of life and death--something his wife does. But Rachel's got good reason to fear death because what happened to her sister when she was a kid scarred her for life and caused her to fear death.

My god, the story Rachel tells about her sick sister Zelda was creepy as hell. It gave me goose bumps because it was so messed up and sounded so much like a possession.

And that's another awesome thing about this book, how easily true life horrors--disease, accidents, aging, traffic--are mixed together with the supernatural--ghost messages, premonitions, ressurections. It all blends and blurs, becomes one ugly and terrifying mess that hooked its claws into me and consumed my mind until all I wanted to do was keep reading. But I resisted, paced myself by only reading at the end of the day to get the full extent of the story.

This book is amazing.

Not only is it so well written it was a pleasure to read, but the characters were all good, bad and everything in-between. Just like real people. And that's one thing King excels at--writing characters who feel real, who are real because they could be. He presents real world problems--a man so consumed by grief he decides to challenge the rules of life and death--and when he does, makes everything SO much worse. But sorrow pushes him over the edge of madness, dragging him deeper.

Even the kids are portrayed in an honest and real way. Gage, with his innocence, curiosity and vulnerability because he's a toddler. Ellie, with her deep questions, stunning intuition and ability to see beyond. Hell, even the dangerous road between the Creed and Crandall house is a character in its own right. A line of bitumen that could strip your life at any time because trucks are always hungry and seem to appear out of nowhere.

And that ending was perfect. The book couldn't have ended any other way.

I loved this book SO MUCH, I could rave on and on about it for hours, but I won't. The last thing I'll say is that if you're looking for a creepy book that'll scare you, this is certainly it. But more than that, this is a beautiful and utterly heartbreaking story about love, loss and madness.

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