Pet Sematary


Finally! Now that I’ve practically forgotten the book, I’m getting around to typing up my thoughts on Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.* and **

I’m just gonna stick with my usual way of dealing with Stephen King’s books…bullet points! (And while I don’t discuss the whole story, there are some vaguely spoilerly mentions of weird endings, not only for Pet Sematary, but for IT, 11/22/63, Revival, and Under the Dome, so you’ve been warned. Oh, and sort of for Misery, but I’m pretty sure everyone knows what Kathy Bates does in the movie. Even I know, and I watch fewer movies than anyone I know.)

Whew, I think I’m done with the disclosures of the faint hint of spoilers, so let’s move on to the book!

  • Louis, our main man. Best summarized with one word – blerg. There was practically a throwaway line just as I was starting to like him about that one time he visited a whore (Uncle Stevie’s words). And after I did a little math, I realized it was while he was married. Bastard. So after that, I never could drum up an ounce of sympathy for the dude. Maybe that was Uncle Stevie’s intention? Or not? Whatever, it made me not like Louis one little bit. Which kinda bummed me out, because King’s books usually have one character that I love (Barbie…sigh). And one that I absolutely loathe. Which brings me to…
  • Jud. WTF. I mean, seriously…W.T.Everlasting.F.?!? Why, in the name of all that is holy AND unholy, would you pass on the tradition of zombie-izing your beloved family pet? Whyyyyyyyyyy???????? Still, despite his perpetuation of zombie pets (and small children), he’ll never make it to the top of my Uncle Stevie’s Best Baddies list (that honor is held by Barbie’s nemesis Big Jim Rennie, from Under the Dome). Mostly because I really did like him at the beginning of the book. He was like everyone’s favorite beer guzzling grandpa. Until he started telling stories that shouldn’ta oughta be told. And then he confessed to liking the whores as well. What is up with all the mention of whores in this book?!?!?
  • Church. All I can say is I’m glad I’m not a cat lady. Also…Smelly Cat.
  • Wendego = Johnny Depp. Wendego does NOT = creepy Native American bogieman. And okay, so The Lone Ranger remake was recent and Pet Sematary is, umm, not. But still. Way to ruin my image of the Wendego. Or, err, Johnny.
  • Norma. So this was pretty much my favoritist scene of the book…you know, where Gage channeling Norma admits to how she slept with half the town AND she liked it rough. And I only liked it so much because I was not expecting it. AT ALL. Major bonus points for making the eyebrows raise during that scene. And also for sort of sticking it to the two-timing boys, in a weird sort of way.
  • Foreshadowing. Like on every single page. I don’t really remember King being the master of foreshadow. Is it just particular to this one book, or is my memory faulty (actually, I know my memory is faulty, but still)?
  • The end. Really??? What was Louis gonna do, just pack the wife up and move to Florida where no one would realize she was a zombie? (Wasn’t Florida his plan with Gage?) I can’t really see them hanging on the beach, but whatever. Also…”Darling…” Now THAT was creepy, even if we all knew she was coming. Also, also…Ellie?? Don’t tell me she has to stay with the grandparents, ’cause that’s just mean. Not that turning mom into a zombie isn’t. Poor child is doomed either way.
  • However. Given some of the really weird-ass shit King has pulled at the of his books ***WARNING: END OF BOOK SUMMARIES IMMEDIATELY AHEAD*** (Under the Dome aliens, 11/22/63 post-apocalyptic future, that spider-like supreme being in IT, all the horrific shit that is the end of Revival) ***END OF END OF BOOK SUMMARIES*** I guess the end of Pet Sematary could be considered, well, normal. If zombie brides are normal.

So do I think this is Uncle Stevie’s scariest book? Meh. Still not sure. Granted, it was one of the creepier ones, mostly just for the premise, but I still wasn’t afraid to go to bed. And there was the aforementioned foreshadowing that saved me from a serious case of the heebie jeebies. Okay, so I did have that one bad dream, but I’m pretty sure the woman with the knife was a result of Care’s trying to pressure me into the Misery readalong.

I will say it was one of the more entertaining of his books. I’d probably stick it right under IT in The List:

  • Under the Dome
  • 11/22/63
  • Doctor Sleep
  • The Stand
  • IT
  • Bag of Bones
  • Mr. Mercedes
  • Insomnia
  • ‘Salem’s Lot
  • Joyland
  • Revival
  • The Shining
  • Rose Madder
  • Carrie
  • The Dark Tower (book 1)
  • The Dark Tower (book 2 – abandoned)

*#gangstercats continues ’til 4/15, even if we’ve gone silent on twitter and instagram. Now that I’ve finally managed to post my thoughts, I’ll go read what the rest of you thought, and I’ll do the wrap up post around the 15th.

**I am fully aware that in some posts I underline the titles of books (and movies and whatever else is sort of related) and other times I italicize. And sometimes I just forget. I obviously have issues with consistency. I sort of kinda care, but not enough to be bothered to 1) look it up and 2) remember it, because at this point in the blogging game I’m lucky if I even manage to post. But! I really (truly) am sorry if it offends your inner MLA or Chicago style handbook. Let’s just say you’re lucky that I’m even aware there’s supposed to be a style and call it good.




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8 responses to “Pet Sematary

  1. I’m really glad I found your read-a-long, altho I was late… I enjoyed the book (if enjoyed is the right word). I think I’ll read Bag of Bones next. OR… so you have another SK read-a-long planned?


  2. Since this didn’t scare you so much you weren’t afraid to go to bed, I might be able to handle it.


  3. So much vigorous head-nodding while reading this post! Agree whole-heartedly that Big Jim is the “ultimate” King love-to-loath villian! Smelly Cat–I couldn’t even count how many times that little ditty went through my head while reading this book. Gage channeling Norma–seriously awesome scene (is it bad to admit it made me laugh out loud?). I also love how you distinguished between “scary” and “creepy.” To me, this is one of his creepier books. But I don’t find it scary–I guess because I just don’t find supernatural stuff scary because I don’t believe it. I think Misery scared me more, in that second-hand way, because it was believable. (At least I remember it as being so.) And yes, Ellie having to now live with her grandparents–biggest tragedy of the whole book! I really need to read 11/22/63.
    Thanks again for hosting this–you pretty much completely rock!!!


  4. Ti

    I think Jud could not help but share it. He said that once you do, you feel compelled to always share it. I think that is why Louis didn’t learn anything from the lesson he learn with the kid. It’s the magic… the voodoo, if you will.

    You haven’t read Duma Key yet? I loved loved loved that book.


  5. Ok, I must have TOTALLY blocked the bit about the whore out of my mind! I knew about Jud–and the others that his zombie friend called out way back in the day–but not Louis. SO SAD, IMAGE RUINED!

    Big Jim Rennie is definitely a creep, though I don’t know that he is more dark than The Dark Man himself. I didn’t really see anyone BAD in this one…unless you count Gage. I did not see all of that bloodshed happening at the end, though I agree that the ending wrapped much more nicely than some of the others. IT was certainly the worst. I think he just backs himself into a corner and doesn’t know how to fix it. This one seemed perfect to me.

    So, I guess I need to read Doctor Sleep. The Shining was a DUD for me so I haven’t been in a rush to get to it.


  6. I totally missed that line about Louis and the whore – really, Louis? How could you?!

    I liked the book up until I realized what Louis was going to do. From that point on, I knew nothing was going to convince him otherwise, and it all went downhill after that for me. Church was about as big a Do Not Go There Again sign as anyone could ask for, but of course Louis doesn’t pay attention. Of course not.

    I liked the ending, though. I could picture all sorts of fun and frolicky things they could do. Take the world by storm! With Ellie. Who probably knew the moment it happened. The poor thing.

    I need to read Under the Dome.


  7. Now that I have some distance from it, I might actually like Pet Sematary a tiny bit more than I did at the time I read the last page. You all have brought up excellent points to consider. Jill, you’re right – we really didn’t have a BAD guy to dislike in this. It was mostly situational and bad choices.


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