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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Pet Sematary (1983)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (137)  French (4)  German (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  Hungarian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (154)
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November Buddy read RMFAO (Reading My Frigging A** Off)

Louis Creed moves with his family from Chicago to a small house near Ludlow, Maine. He immediately gets friendly with his neighbor Jud and his wife Norma. It's Jud that one day will show Louis and his family the Pet Sematary that lies close to the Creed house...

I dreaded reading this book because I've seen the movie and I knew that it would hit hard even if they had done a lot of changes from the book to the movie adaption. There were changes, and even though it ages since I saw the movie last time I feel that the book is, without a doubt, better than the movie. But now I want to re-watch the movie to see how much they changed the story. Most been 5-10 years since I last saw it, perhaps I will like it better now...or perhaps I just will like it less since I liked the book so much.

I think one of the reasons they fail when they do movies of Kings books (well they do succeed of course sometimes like the Green Mile) is when they take away the heart of the story and just focus on the horror. Yes King writes horror books, but like with this one, it's a hell of a lot more than just horror, it's about grief and family...and death. Sometimes dead is better...

It was a hell of a ride, and I enjoyed the book even though I read it with dread... ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Well. Guess who fell for the Hollywood marketing machine? I have read Pet Sematary before, and seen the 1989 adaptation by Mary Lambert, but neither really stayed with me - or keep drawing me back with a strange compulsion like It. But then another version of the film came out, and guess which mug paid cinema prices to see the thing? I wasn't impressed by the new take on the story either - Jason Clarke is a terrible actor, and there were too many big changes for changes sake - but I thought, 'I'll read the book again, that has to be better than this'. Nope.


To be fair to Jason Clarke, and Dale Midkiff in the 1989 film, the problem is the character of Louis Creed. He's a dick. And the plot doesn't hold up to close scrutiny either. But basically, Louis - and Rachel, to a lesser extent - is a parent who makes wildly selfish decisions to placate his own guilt. He's not thinking about Ellie, his six year old daughter, or his grieving wife, when he makes the worst decision in the history of horror novels, he's thinking about himself. And who would actually do what he does? The cat was one thing - that was mostly Jud's doing anyway - but what the hell, hero? Wanting to go back in time is one thing, but knowing what he knows about dicking with the 'Indian burial ground' behind the pet cemetery, Louis still thinks that he's acting out of love when he offers up another victim. He even tells himself - in one of the many boring chapters that are basically just Louis trying to rationalise his insanity - 'Do you want to resurrect a zombie from a grade-B horror picture? And even if you're able to be satisfied with that, how do you explain the return of your son from the dead?' None of part two makes any bloody sense! And yes, I know Louis has gone crazy with grief, but that whole section just shits on the characters and their love and sorrow for each other in the first half.

Louis the great idiot and terrible doctor aside, the plot is sooooo sloooow. Not in a pleasant way, or a constructive style - God knows Louis doesn't have much of a character to develop in the first place - but just slow. The story that everyone thinks they know - mostly from the 1989 film - happens in the last 100 pages of the book. I still love Jud and Victor Pascow, but again, from their portrayal in the first film more than King's novel. And Ellie deserves a sequel or a cameo in another book, because she's the only sympathetic character in the story - killing her off to avoid working with a demonic toddler in the new film was a mistake.

Another great idea badly executed by the King of Horror. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Apr 10, 2019 |
Stephen King's legacy will be vast, I have no doubt. We'll still read him hundreds of years from now, just as we have with Poe and Dickens and many others. Of all his master works, however, I take the somewhat unpopular stance that Pet Sematary is his magnum opus. Re-reading it now only confirms this opinion.

When I first read Pet Sematary (I couldn't have been older than 13) I knew right away that it was more than a typical scary story. For one, it made me feel decades older. Wiser. More entuned to human nature. King never shies away from character, but he really digs deep with Louis Creed. There are numerous novels that portray death well (James Agee's A Death in the Family is superb) but fittingly enough, it's this gothic horror novel that illustrates it best. Death isn't pretty and surviving it can be just as grotesque. Pet Sematary gives all of this to us, and more. Much more than we want to see. But maybe we need to see it to understand.

We often scream at characters in horror movies for doing stupid things (WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE YOU IDIOT!?) and arguably Louis Creed does some stupid things in this book. King adds supernatural influence as justification, but let's be honest - no justification is needed. Creed and his decisions are as relatable as they are tragic, which is something never quite accomplished--not on the same level at least--with Jack Torrance or Annie Wilkes or Carrie White. Not dissing those other books, I'm a fan boy for them too, but it's why I think Pet Sematary is King's greatest achievement.

For those interested in reading this one, for the first time or 20th, I highly recommend the new audio version narrated by Michael C. Hall. His outstanding performance enriches the novel in ways I hadn't noticed before. ( )
  justintate | Apr 7, 2019 |
It’s 1983, and I’ve secured a paperback copy of a book that all my friends are talking about. It’s a horror book by this guy named Stephen King who I’ve never heard of before, but everyone in school is talking about this thing. Home from school, through the house without engaging in conversation with the parental units, slammed door, dumped school books, plop on bed, start reading. As the afternoon sun wans, I’m too riveted to get up and pull the drapes, a mistake I’ll regret when the dark descends in earnest. Banging on the door – it’s Wednesday, and I’ve lost track of time and will be late for the mid-week Bible service, but it’s just a quick walk across a parking lot to the church building. Through the singing and reading and praying, all I can think about is Victor Pascow, the reanimated, gooey harbinger in Louis Creed’s dreams, or was it a dream – Louis had scratches on his arm and pine needles in the bed. On the walk back across the parking lot, the dark is oppressive – it’s never been this dark. Back on the bed, only to realize an hour or so later, I still forgot to pull the drapes, but I’m not going over to that window now, safer in the bed. Book finished well into the night, maybe midnight or later. No sleep.

36 years later, I’ve never forgotten Victor Pascow, or Paxcow, as Louis Creed’s daughter calls him. Never forgotten the [Pet Sematary]. As I re-read the book for the first time in so long, I knew what was coming next. But what was fresh for me was the literary quality of the book. Back in 1983, I didn’t have as many books under my belt, and didn’t notice the slow burn King manages in the lead up to the horror. It’s like the moment you wake feeling something on your face, knowing something is crawling on you and afraid to open your eyes but, in the same moment, desperate to open your eyes and get whatever creepy-crawly it is off your face. The suspense is a low-voltage charge, building and building and building to what you know is going to be a heart-bursting conclusion.

King is much more literary in [Pet Sematary] than is evident from all the attention the horror elements in the book garner. ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ you say, not buying it from a Constant Reader like me – here’s a couple quotes to prove my point:

"Louis Creed was no psychiatrist, but he knew there are rusty, half-buried things in the terrain of any life and that human beings seem compelled to go back to these things and pull at them, even though they cut."

"It's probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horrors which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls - as little as one may like to admit it, human experience tends, in a good many ways, to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity. That such events have their own Rube Goldberg absurdity goes almost without saying. At some point, it all starts to become rather funny. That may be the point at which sanity begins either to save itself or to buckle and break down; that point at which one's sense of humor begins to reassert itself."

I dare you – I triple-dog dare you. Pull the drapes open and sit down with this great book.

Bottom Line:Close the drapes before you start, you’ll appreciate the other qualities of this book that don’t get enough attention.

4 ½ bones!!!!! ( )
2 vote blackdogbooks | Feb 12, 2019 |
Loved this novel for a host of reasons. First, I needed something engaging like a thriller to keep my attention after my last few books. Second, it was truly terrifying and terrifyingly well written. And third, the nostalgia factor. I grew up in Bangor and haven't been back in two years. While the novel itself was scary, the setting was familiar and comforting. I liked that it was so regionally specific, that I could picture Mount Hope Cemetery and the Bangor airport and all the surrounding areas. I just really enjoyed the experience of this book. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Olofsson, LennartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Talvio-Jaatinen, PirkkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiemken, ChristelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jesus said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go, that I may awake him out of his sleep."

Then the disciples looked at each other, and some smiled because they did not know Jesus had spoken in a figure. "Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well."

So then Jesus spoke to them more plainly, "Lazarus is dead, yes...nevertheless let us go to him."

—JOHN'S GOSPEL (paraphrase)
When Jesus came to Bethany, he found that Lazarus had lain in the grave four days already. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she hurried to meet him.

"Lord," she said, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But now you are here, and I know that whatever you ask of God, God will grant."

Jesus answered her: "Your brother shall rise again."

—JOHN'S GOSPEL (paraphrase)
"Hey-ho, let's go."
Jesus therefore, groaning inside of himself and full of trouble, came to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone had been raised against the mouth. "Roll away the stone," Jesus said.

Martha said, "Lord, by this time he will have begun to rot. He has been dead four days."...

And when he had prayed awhile, Jesus raised his voice and cried, "Lazarus, come forth!" And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin.

Jesus said to them, "Loose him and let him go."

—JOHN'S GOSPEL (paraphrase)
   "I only just thought of it," she said hysterically. "Why didn't I think of it before? Why didn't you think of it?"
   "Think of what?" he questioned.
   "The other two wishes," she replied rapidly. "We've only had one."
   "Was that not enough?" he demanded fiercely.
   "No," she cried triumphantly: "we'll have one more. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again."

—W.W. JACOBS ("The Monkey's Paw")
For Kirby McCauley
First words
Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he entered his middle age, but that was exactly what happened...although he called this man a friend, as a grown man must do when he finds the man who should have been his father relatively late in life.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743412273, Mass Market Paperback)

Renowned for its superior productions, BBC radio may have outdone itself by adapting Stephen King's Pet Sematary to audio. A clamorous cacophony of talking, whining, whistling, and howling, Pet Sematary is a quick, entertaining earful for those who don't have other auditory distractions to contend with, such as a car full of talking whining, whistling, howling children. However, the melodramatic prose marries well with the acting; such is the case when one reader--whose voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Kramer's from Seinfeld--tells another about the effects of the Pet Sematary: "Heroin makes junkies feel good when they put it in their arms, but all the time it's poisoning their mind and body--this place can be like that and don't you ever forget it!" (Running time: three hours, two cassettes)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When a little boy's pet dies, and he persuades his parents to bury it in an old Indian cemetary, reputed by legend to house restless spirits, a nightmare of death and destruction begins.

» see all 12 descriptions

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