Stephen King’s Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary – Stephen King
Doubleday – 1983

I haven’t read any Stephen King novels for a few years. 2 weeks ago I picked up Pet Sematary. I had seen the old movie version years ago, but I was not prepared for this book at all.

A family with two small kids moves into a house beside a busy road. Behind their house is a magical graveyard that brings whatever’s buried there back to life. The resurrected are altered though, altered for the worst. Even if you haven’t already read the book or seen the movie, you’ll probably be able to figure out what’s going to happen here.

King has claimed that Pet Sematary is the only book of his that actually scared him, but scary isn’t really the word I’d use to describe this. This is morbid. It’s a book about how people deal with death, specifically the death of a child.

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I really don’t like reading about kids getting hurt. It’s too close to home. My kids are the same ages as the kids in this book, and I seriously wonder if some masochistic part of my subconscious was waiting until now to tell me to read it. I definitely found this more horrifying now than I would have if I had read it 10 years ago. I don’t know if that made it more or less enjoyable.

The inevitability of the plot is what makes this book so suspenseful. By the time you’re a quarter way through the book, you know full well where you’re going be at 3 quarters. You have to sit down and watch these poor bastards slowly suffer and disintegrate. It’s actually quite sadistic.

Pet Sematary is an effective novel, but I didn’t enjoy it as much I’ve enjoyed some of King’s other books. I’ll read another King novel next year.