book reviews

Book Review | Pet Sematary by Stephen King

The review for Pet Sematary will be a little different as it is our pick for May’s buddy read with Erren (@abookloversdiary). A few weeks back, I got talking to her and it turns out neither of us have ever, EVER, read a Stephen King’s book. Not one. Ever. Did I say ever? I’ve got a total of 6 books on the shelf and for whichever reason I haven’t picked one up – until now. And I am beating myself up for it! As the book is being stretched out over the four weeks of May, I’m giving a sort of “live” commentary as my review for it. So here goes.

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

2019 by Hodder & Stoughton
Number of pages: 465

Purchased from Sainsbury’s

The house looks right, feels right to Dr Louis Creed. Rambling, old and comfortable. A place where the family can settle; the children grown and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seem a world away from the fume-chocked dangers of the city.
It’s only those big trucks on the road outside which growl out unnerving threats.
Behind the house there’s a carfully cleared path up into the woods to a place where generations of local children have walked in procession 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…
Checkpoint 1 – Chapters 1-20 by Sunday 5 May 2019

I’m a day early, it’s Saturday 4 May 2019. I started Pet Sematary this morning; the weather was absolutely perfect for it. It’s been grey, thundery and raining pretty much most of the day which set the scene for a good horror story pretty well if you ask me.

The book has an introduction where King explains how the idea for Pet Sematary came about and what inspired him to write it. It’s interesting to know that he finds this book his most frightening work. Suppose the premise of the books is (very, I repeat very) loosely “based on true story”, which is what makes it a lot easier to relate to it. For me anyway.

The story

So the story starts with Louis Creed and his family moving to a new house in Ludlow to get away from the busy life in Chicago. A welcome change, so it seemed. They get acquainted with the elderly couple across the street road, Louis instantly taking liking to Judson Crandall.

Louis’ first day at work is – let me say quite something! And from then on the story got darker and muddier (no pun intended) as I got through the pages.

I felt the beginning was a little slow, I don’t know what I was expecting and now looking back, I think I just wanted to rush straight into the horror that is Pet Sematary. To be honest, the scene setting and character building is on point! I am instantly drawn to every single character, wanting to know who they are and how they act in certain situations. I’m very impressed. How comes I’ve waited so long to read a King’s book again?!

The first 20 chapters have definitely left me wanting more. The scene is set, the mood has darkened and the story is about to take me to somewhere I probably most definitely wouldn’t want to go in real life.

Checkpoint 2 – Chapters 21- 32 by Sunday 12 May 2019

First, let me start by saying it was a struggle to put the book down and not rush into the next “checkpoint”! These chapters were i n t e n s e! Wow..

It was finally explained why Rachel cannot deal with the subject of death and the now very well known phrase “sometimes dead is better” got a whole new meaning.

I’m loving King’s writing style. It’s honest, believable and at times damn right brutal. But it sucks you in like a quick sand, tightening it’s grip the more you’re trying to shake it off.

“Faith is a great thing, and really religious people would like us to believe that faith and knowing are the same thing, but I don’t believe that, myself. Because there are too many different ideas on the subject.”

Checkpoint 3 – Chapters 33-43 by Sunday 19 May 2019

This part of the book touched on grief on so many levels. It was raw, fragile and scary. Can’t get too much into it as a lot of action happened during those chapters. Again, I struggled to put it down.

Checkpoint 4 – Chapters 44-62 by Sunday 26 May 2019

Oh boy, what can I say without ruining it for you guys? It’s incredible. I was held captive until the very last sentence.

I loved the honesty. The raw emotion. The detail in grief. The need of more tomorrows. King’s writing is really quite something and I am excited to be reading more by him.

I am a (new) fan of Stephen King.

5 out of 5 stars

Side note – I loved doing a buddy read with Erren; we discussed the topic, the shock, the horror and I loved every minute of it.

Ps! Have you seen the movie? I thought the adaption was awesome. I loved that they twisted the story-line and I loved the ending!


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