My Stephen King journey continues, with the approaching movie adaptation, it was the turn of Pet Sematary.
‘SOMETIMES…DEAD IS BETTER’
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 is one of King’s earlier novels, his fourteenth, first published in 1983, and one that left me highly conflicted. The beginning of this novel was slow going, like real slow going, like why isn’t anything happening. And then, in the second half of the novel, things really started to pick up and I loved the ending. However, I’m becoming increasingly annoyed with having to wait for a book to ‘get good’, surely a book should hook the reader from the beginning, a more brutal reader would have abandoned the book before it ‘got good’ – I read this book as part of a readalong, and one reader did quit reading it! Perhaps, because this is a Stephen King novel, and I know just how great he can write, he got the benefit of the doubt, but this is something that is becoming increasingly frustrating, and I need to re-evaluate how much longer I’m willing to wait for a book to ‘get good’.
One thing always worth mentioning, whether you enjoy a King book or not, there’s no denying he has a way with words, this is likely what keeps me turning pages when the going gets tough. His books are never poorly written, it’s just sometimes a wait for the pace to pick up and events to start occurring. Whenever I read his books, there are always sentences, usually metaphors or similes, that jump out at me and make me smile.
“The first two swallows hit his throat like a blessing”
I may be wrong, but I’m sure King mentioned that The Shining was his favourite book of all the ones he’s written. And it seems to be so because quite a few of his books carry a bit of ‘the shine’, and if you’ve read The Shining you’ll know exactly what kind of intuition I’m talking about here. It’s always fun to spot the references and connections in King’s novels.
Pet Sematary, while it can be found in the horror section, isn’t scary, it had its creepy moments, but you don’t have to worry about any truly scary occurrings. Once this novel found its groove, it was really good and the ending was brilliant, although it ended rather rapidly, which was frustrating. The ending was so good, I wish the events were explored more, the way [the boring] earlier parts of the book were.
When I finished this novel, my initial thoughts were: it starts a little slow, but it’s worth it. Now, I’m feeling rather mad – you can’t bore me for 200 pages, give me 100 pages of tension building, and then 100 pages of brilliance at the end – that doesn’t seem like the correct formula for a book. Would I read this book again? No. Would I recommend it? Well, no, I’d point you in the direction of Kings other, better, books, such as Needful Things or The Stand.