The Stephen King Marathon – Cujo

I apparently had forgotten a lot about this book. I read it originally when I was a teenager, and all I remembered was a woman and her kid trapped in a car with a mean dog outside. There is so much more.

Grrrrr...

This book is fucking awesome. It had been so long since I’d read it. I look at his newer stuff like Under The Dome, and am so in awe of his ability to make a small town’s inhabitants so interesting. I was amazed to read something from so long ago in which he does the same thing, showing that he was gifted in this skill from the get go. Most of the book takes place in the lives of two couples, each with a child and a massive set of baggage and troubles. It’s so immersive and interesting, even though there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on. And because Cujo gets rabies right at the beginning and it slowly sets in over the course of the story, I found the dread and anticipation just building up in me. It is an intense ride.

I especially love the way that King writes from the point of view of the dog himself. He’s very good at vocalizing how I would imagine the thought process of a dog would be. I really felt the madness setting in, and found myself feeling badly for what Cujo was going through. On the flip side of that, now that I have a child, I was absolutely panicked at the thought of being stuck in a car in the heat of summer trying to protect my kid from a rabid St. Bernard. It was an intense ride.

Aside from the amazing writing and the masterful tale spinning, it wouldn’t be a King novel without some hint at the supernatural. As much as this is a very real story, with actual relationship issues and a normal real world disease on the dog, he manages to inject a little bit of creepy mystical shit. The kid sees a monster in the closet and it turns out that it’s the dog, and the father has dreams that point towards where they are, it’s just that little bit of signature King that ties the book together in a neat little spooky bow.

Love. So classic and awesome.

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For the Dark Tower Fans: There wasn’t anything that jumped out at me here, but I did happen to read an article that pointed out that Song of Susannah takes place in Bridgton, Maine, where this book also takes place. So there is that.

Fear Factor: While this book didn’t have me sleeping with one eye open, it was definitely suspenseful. I was invested in the characters at the beginning, but once I got to the part in the car, there was no putting the book down. Heart racing, goosebumps, just wholly in that car with Tad and Donna.

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