Sunday, 22 November 2015

Review: 'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King

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 . . .

Pet Sematary was one of the first 'adult' books I ever read. I must've been about thirteen years old when I got a bit tired of constantly re-reading Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, and Sabriel, and decided to go trawling my dad's bookshelves for something new. Of all the books in his modest collection (mostly Stephen King and James Herbert) I went with this one simply because of the title: not only does it have the word 'pet' in it (I've always been an animal-lover) but also the word 'sematary', intriguingly misspelt (yeah, I've also always been fairly morbid . . . and a spelling Nazi to boot).

It's fair to say that back then I was impressed by my first foray into the world of grown-up horror fiction; I must have been, given that I quickly moved on to devour some of the other books my dad had on offer. Re-reading Pet Sematary now - fifteen years or so since that first time, dear god I feel OLD - I found it just as enjoyable, yet can also appreciate just how much of it must have gone right over my head when I read it as a kid.

An example of this is the foreshadowing. Alright, so this time I had the advantage of a fairly solid recollection of most of the novel's key events, but still. So many things, both big and small - dreams, casual one-liners, omens and relentless symbolism throughout - conspire to make the story feel much more thrilling, and somehow much more than just the sum of its parts.

Another thing that took me by surprise is the sheer sense of tragedy that permeates the story right from the beginning. From a horrific death on protagonist Louis Creed's first day at work, along with both of his children suffering minor injuries on their first day in their new house, to his wife's traumatic past, and right up to the key events of the story, the whole thing is a rockslide of tragedy and pathos, gaining in momentum and horror as the story progresses. Although a bit slow to start, and with some relatively uneventful chapters throughout, I felt utterly compelled to read the last 150 pages or so all in one sitting.

Throw in creepy nightmares and disturbing local history, casual references to local superstitions and universal zombie-lore, gore-laden descriptions and settings that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end . . . yep, Pet Sematary is one hell of a horror story.



  1. Small correction... books were mine! !

  2. With this in thoughts, the 595 doesn’t appoint any methodical or tricky cleansing pattern. for that reason, it could go away a few areas untouched. but with pet hair, its suction electricity guarantees that it pulls all pet hair in its path or close by. click here

  3. We at that point began allowing them to sit unbothered for a couple of hours, at that point for a day or overnight and when we felt that every one of our pets were accustomed to remaining alone at home for some time. Katie Smith

  4. Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up. Vinanza Grape

  5. A private cremation provides the option for the pet to be cremated entirely alone within the cremation chamber or cremator ensuring that there are no other ashes mixed in with the singular pets ashes. best carpet cleaner for pets

  6. f the words premium and choice mean basically nothing with regards to the quality of pet food, and if some pet foods use chicken feet and euthanized animals in their food - how can a pet owner know what they are getting in their pets' food? dog food

  7. In this age of hypocrisy, the writer has written every word with all his soul poured into it.
    Low Sodium Canned Dog Food

  8. Next would be the reputation of the shop. There is a big difference between a common pet shop and one that offer high standard services and packages. sugar gliders good pets

  9. This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post! Read more

  10. The long ears of the breed assisted them, then as now, in their hunting, capturing the scent and forcing it up from the ground toward the dogs' noses bassetoodle

  11. The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. Cho alaska