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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Pet Sematary (original 1983; edition 2001)

by Stephen King

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8,764131345 (3.71)167
Title:Pet Sematary
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Pocket Books (2001), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King (1983)


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English (118)  French (4)  Italian (3)  German (3)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
Love, loss, and possession (of a sort) painted large on the canvas of a couple of houses. Impressively generates a feeling of claustrophobia. ( )
  kale.dyer | Oct 23, 2016 |
got today for free at the eccc, inc ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 1, 2016 |
Again, dead animals is someplace I don't want to go. ( )
  Laura_Drake | Aug 19, 2016 |
Could not read this at night. Creeped me out! Very good book. ( )
  bpeters65 | Jul 16, 2016 |

Pet Semetary is horror-scary with its story, but the prime focus that comes across to me is overwhelming grief meeting the breaking point/barrier the brain has before it goes insane.

Stephen King has said this was one of the books that frightened him the most to write. It likely meant so much to him because of being a father himself. It's actually a creepy book (so much horror isn't actually scary), but while reading it I found it wasn't always the actual moments that were what stood out as creepy, but the theme itself. Grief is one of the worst things in the world, perhaps the very worst thing. Change is hard, but change in the form of loss is unimaginable. To lose those you love more than anything in the world, to have that grief, is a great fear. Life will never be the same again and the heartache of some of it can be so harsh it ends you entirely.

So much of horror is aimed at the loss of personal life and fear of the main character dying. The creepiness comes from a monster out there waiting to end you. Pet Sematary takes it even further than that by bringing the fear home harder - it isn't the loss of personal life, but the loss of other lives and how that will affect you. Not just a sad book that isolates grief, but by then twisting it further by turning your own grief - that worst fear - against you. Saying okay, you have this horrible death happen, life is horrible now, but here's a way to stop the pain, here's a possibility to retrieve that life, erase that loss, press the magic erase button. The cruelty in that is the small hope is perfectly squashed when the deceased returns as 'other' - you got your wish, they are back, but they're still dead, they're not the same, and the only chance you have of surviving is to end them again, this time with your own hand. Pretty horrible stuff.

And of course the book does have actual creepy moments. The moment in the cemetery where it all goes wrong, where Jud errors and bring Louis despite his better judgment but in answer to an ancient call, hearing the sounds of "loons" he's warned to ignore. Louis being told yeah, scary stuff is going to happen, but just ignore it best as you can, block it out to do this OTHER creepy thing and get through it. And that cat Church. He comes back the creepiest. The empty look, the shuffling awkwardness of body, that bizarre stare. Creepy indeed.

I've always thought King rocked with villains, works among the best with plot conception and layout, but his weakness is endings. Here he wins because he brings irony into the twist, an almost morbid despair that fits into the story, making it all that more horrible but fitting. I do wish he had kept the mysterious road open. It's fine for early dialogue from Jud to muse about what could cause the sour land, but to bring in the mildly cheesy culprit in the end took away a little magic. I also found Gage's dialogue cheesy at the end, unlike the movie where it actually worked better (even though I didn't like the movie overall)

As always, characters fit the story like a glove. Louis as a doctor was a good fit as protagonist - his role in life is healing people, and he's thrust into this mess with this cemetery and the height of grief. Rachel's past phobias with her sister tie into the morbid fear or death and moving into this new house, which looks so perfect but borders on the imperfect. Jud as a man with a history of the town who fits in as a trusted father figure, only to accidentally unleash horror on his new 'family.' The touch with Pascow is perfect, and Gage is an adorable little boy. Ellie is fortunately less annoying than the movie version *shudder*. I wonder what became of her? King put in a few nods to other books like Cujo in this one, does he put a story of Ellie somewhere in another book?

For obvious reasons, this is a top horror novel. King's writing is top notch here, not too long and detailed, his characterization fits the story in so many ways, there's genuine creepiness, the theme is one of the worst things imaginable, and the ending wraps it up on in ironic way that lets the evil that always has existed keep existing. Bravo. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Talvio-Jaatinen, PirkkoTranslatorsecondary 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)

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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.

(summary from another edition)

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