As an author known for his horror novels including It and The Outsider, Steven King lives up to his reputation once again through this novel. Despite being less gory than his other novels, Pet Sematary is arguably one of the most terrifying novels he has ever written surrounding grief, loss, and heartbreak—emotions that exceed the limits of even the most moral individuals.
The Creed family moves into a town called Ludlow, Maine, with their cat named Church. Louis Creed—the director of the health service in the University of Maine—meets his neighbor, an elderly man named Jud Crandall. The old man warns the Creed family about a dangerous highway that passes their house and shows them the “Pet Sematary” behind their home where children often bury dead pets who died from highway incidents. Following a series of traumatic events and nightmares for both Louis and his wife, the death of their beloved cat brings a major turn of events for the entire family.
Considering how much of the plot ties into the ending of the novel, there’s only so much that can be summarized without spoiling the book. Setting aside the terror and horror of the novel, the way King depicts grief and loss truly resonates with his readers including myself. King often puts flaws in his characters which creates a realistic perspective on the idea of death and loosing a loved one. As seen in Louis Creed’s parental decisions (or lack thereof), King does a fascinating job in showing readers what a true human does during times where rationalizing is no longer an option. Although it seems terrifying, emotions can bring out the best and worst in people, and that’s what makes them human.
As for the plot itself, its an extremely slow build. Similar to most Steven King novels, it’s best to read his books when you’re given enough time to do so. The longer you stop reading, the harder it becomes to understand the plot. Unfortunately, there’s not much to be said regarding King’s use of horror without spoiling the rest of the novel, but it’s definitely more scary psychologically than physically. Pet Sematary is a must-read for any horror fan and a novel I highly recommend for anyone willing to read this unsettling story.
– Natisha P.