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Pet Sematary

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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 note of threat.

But behind the house and away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully clear 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...

576 pages, Paperback

First published November 14, 1983

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About the author

Stephen King

1,977 books811k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
615 reviews4,242 followers
November 2, 2022
"Cause what you buy, is what you own. And what you own... always comes home to you."

Louis Creed and his family have recently moved to the town of Ludlow, Maine. Behind their house there is a path that leads to a 'Pet Sematary', where the children of surrounding areas have buried their beloved pets in years gone by. Deeper in the woods there lies an ancient Indian burial ground, that Louis discovers has some sinister properties when their family cat dies...

It's no secret that Pet Sematary is my favourite King book, but this is the case for a number of different reasons. When I first started reading horror I couldn't imagine words on a page actually scaring me, I always felt like I needed something visual to keep me up at night. Then I found Pet Sematary... I'd never had an experience before where I actually felt scared to turn the page - this was of course in the climax at the end of the novel. My heart was racing, my palms felt sweaty, I just kept thinking, "There's no way this book is going to go THAT dark" (clearly I didn't really know King yet!!). And then it did. And a King junkie and Constant Reader was born. IT was my first King, but Pet Sematary was where I became hooked.

**NB Plenty of spoilers ahead**

Now it's time to get personal... grief and loss has been a huge part of my life. When I was younger, my dad was diagnosed with MS, a debilitating disease that quite literally drained the life from him in front of our eyes. I guess this is similar in some ways to the Zelda and Rachel storyline, apart from the fact that my dad was never angry or resentful over his illness - or if he was, he never showed it in front of me. He progressively got more and more ill, over time losing his ability to speak, walk, eat. Death was ultimately a relief. But what about those who are left behind? It's strange because even though I was only 10 when he died, which is around 18 years ago, there are still days or times when the unrelenting grief can come out of nowhere and floor me. The loss of a parent is something you never get over, it is simply something you learn to live with. The only thing that can possibly be worse is the loss of a child. King's depiction of the grief and loss that both Louis and Rachel go through is so accurate it hurts. This book really resonated with me on a deep level, as I had never before read such a harrowing and realistic outlook on death and loss. There are so many passages that I've made a note of and will revisit over and over again.

The way King crafted a book that is terrifying and heartbreaking in equal measures will never fail to astound me. Because this book IS terrifying - to lose someone is terrifying, to have to try to move on is terrifying, for them to come back "different" is also terrifying. Sometimes on instagram I will see people criticising Louis' decisions or making out that he's a bad parent and it makes me want to scream. Grief and loss does not allow for rational thinking. It does not allow for good judgement. It can be all encompassing to the point where you feel like you can't breathe. I defy anyone to tell me that if in a similar position you wouldn't even consider it (not forgetting the fact that there are other forces at work here). I know I would. Couple that with the overwhelming devastation and loss and your decision is pretty made. So to label Louis as a bad parent is absolutely ridiculous to me. Don't get me wrong, there was Ellie to consider, he still had that to live for, but in those heady initial days following such a heartbreaking loss, rational thinking ain't happening.

It's a bit of a slow-build this book, but the pay-off is worth it. I enjoyed getting to know the Creeds, watching them form friendships with the Crandalls across the road. All the good stuff, you know, before shit hits the fan. And when shit hits the fan, it is almost too much to take. Gage's little Star Wars shoe in the middle of the road... the cap full of blood. Images that send chills down my spine. Then the unbearable dread as Louis digs up that coffin, not knowing what exactly he is going to be presented with. The way Louis initially thinks that Gage has no head as there is a dark moss covering his face... THIS IS THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES. The little figure appearing in Louis' room as he sleeps, the child's laughter that Jud can hear... Ellie having these vivid dreams and knowing that her family is in danger. This is really a masterclass in how to craft well-written, piss-your-pants horror. I bow to you, Sai King.

Some of King's best writing in here and one of his best endings too. There's also some unforgettable characters in Louis Creed, Jud Crandall, Victor Pascow and Zelda. PUH-LEASE can I find a Jud Crandall that can act as a father figure to me?? The adaptation for this book is also pretty decent: Louis is a hot dad, Fred Gwynne was born to play the role of Jud, Zelda will trigger a cold sweat to run down your back...

I could quite honestly write an entire thesis on Pet Sematary, so I'll end it here. All I'll say is this: if you didn't feel something when reading this book...... you need to check yourself *insert sassy emoji* Always my number 1 King book. 5 stars from me - obviously.

Update: listened to audiobook in April/May 2018. Incredible narration by Michael C Hall. Still 5 stars. Obviously.

Update 2: reread in March 2019 in anticipation of the new movie. Somehow loved it even more!!

Update 3: reread October/November 2020. 5th read. Still my fave.

Update 4: reread October/November 2021. 6th read.

Update 5: reread October/November 2022. 7th read.
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,390 reviews77.2k followers
September 28, 2022
Wow. Just wow. I've put off reading this one for years because, well.... I'm a wimp. There, I said it. When one of the most well-known names in the contemporary era of the horror genre says something is his scariest book, I take note. It seems bizarre that I finally chose to tackle this one while having children the same age as Louis Creed's, it was precisely the perfect time to pick this up. I listened to almost the entire book over a 24-hour period while road-tripping, and the experience was unparalleled to any I've had in the scope of reading thus far. Side note, Michael C. Hall was the most excellent narrator for this. What likely was a 4 star read initially became a 5 star with no second thought. If you haven't experienced this version I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Rather than a gory, blood and guts type of horror, this is a slow burning, queasy unease that explodes in the final chapters. The suspense nearly did kill me; by the final 25% I found myself wringing my hands and grinding my teeth, preparing myself for the inevitable that I knew was coming, deep down, ever since the beginning. I don't think I could have fully appreciated what King intended to accomplish with this novel if I'd read it before having children of my own. That's not to say that people without kids won't appreciate this as highly, just as statement in my own personal journey. Only King can accomplish so much horror with so little bloodshed.

I finished this days ago but have held off on reviewing until now because I feel like I'm still processing and I can't stop thinking about everything that occurred to this family. I had spent so much time prior to reading this book in preparing myself for the big "things" that I was completely taken aback by how connected I became to the Creed family. This is why the detailed, slow burn; if I didn't care about this family, their neighbors, and the town in general, why would what happens at the end stick with me for the long haul? Oh sure, I would have gasped and guffawed at the disturbing nature of the plot, but I wouldn't have been emotionally invested.

If you've been hiding under my big rock for the past few decades and are just catching up on your Stephen King backlog, like me, I highly recommend picking this up. It's not just about the scares with this one, but the contemplation on how grief can turn any of us into a monster. By far the best audible book I've chosen yet.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,683 followers
June 15, 2020
Sometimes dead is better

First read (mid-1990s) – 5 Stars
Re-read (June 2020) – 5 Stars

Two things about this book:

1. It is one of two Stephen King books I finished in one sitting (the other being The Dead Zone)
2. When I was a kid, I had to make sure the cover of this book was not facing out or I could not sleep. I didn't even like to look at it when I was awake!

In the introduction to Pet Sematary, King says he almost didn’t submit it for publication, and that would have been very sad. Of course, I have listened to other book intros of his and it seems to be a common theme that he almost didn’t finish or submit a book. Maybe that is just his usual explanation to increase the drama going into the book. One of the intros (it was to his written as Richard Bachman novel Blaze) said he didn’t submit the book for publication originally because it is not that great. Blaze is one of my favorites of his, so, I guess King is his toughest critic! Makes me wonder what other great ideas he has scrapped that we may have missed out on.

This is King in his prime! Pet Sematary is the perfect blend of character building, suspense, supernatural, gore, horror, and gut-wrenching shocks. Like his other novel, Cujo, some of the developments might be hard for readers to swallow. You may even curse King’s name for doing this to you. But, as a reader, I am searching for shocking and memorable roller coaster rides and that is exactly what I got with this book. Do not start this book expecting to ride in the slow lane or that you might be in for just a little scare. The reality is, this book may give you nightmares and make it hard to sleep at night. You may never look at your pets the same way again. Each time you drive by or visit a graveyard, you may get a chill you have never felt before. This book will get into you and will not let go.

I often get asked where a reader should start if they want to try out King. Pet Sematary is a pretty good place to start, ayuh, but it might be a little too much for some to handle!
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews8,991 followers
January 1, 2023
I absolutely LOVED rereading Pet Sematary. The experience filled my whole heart with nostalgic glee.



King's masterful storytelling is on full display here. It's a perfect example of his style. If you have never read a King novel, this could be a good place for you to start.

Classic King is definitely my comfort place; it's where I choose to live. This beloved story was somehow even more enjoyable the second time through!



When Dr. Louis Creed decides to move his growing family from Chicago to Maine, he could never guess how much that one decision could impact their lives.

Like another good 'doctor' before him, Victor Frankenstein, Louis is about to discover the hard way that...



This is really such an incredible story. King's writing draws you in and holds onto you until the bitter end.

As with many of his tales, there is an overriding feeling of dread and an ominous atmosphere that seeps through every page. It gets in your mind and stays there.



The first time I read this, I was in high school. It was the early-90s and this was one of the scariest books I had ever read.

I am in 40 now and this is still one of the scariest books I have ever read. In 1983, when this was originally published, I can imagine that it was heralded as a ground-breaking piece of horror fiction.



In addition to still loving the characters, I picked up on a lot of details this time around that I don't recall noticing the first time.

As an alumna of the University of Maine at Orono, where Dr. Creed takes a position as head of the student health center, I really enjoyed reading the small sections of the story that took place on campus.



Side Note: The incident he describes with the fraternity boys who were brought in after crashing their toboggan gave me a good chuckle.

My husband's fraternity was at the top of the hill facing the old steam plant. The one with the cannon replicas on it. We used to do all sorts of things on that hill including sledding, snowboarding and even 'slip-n-sliding' in the summer. Yes, injuries ensued.



Another detail I picked up on this time around that I either didn't understand on the first go, or had simply forgotten, was all of the references to the legend of the 'wendigo'.

When I was in high school I may have assumed this was something King made up instead of a reference to an actual mythical man-eating creature straight out of Algonquin folklore.

You see, we didn't have Google at that time...



And although I cringed during all scenes related to Church, he was treated so unfairly, I am so happy with this reread. I can definitely picture myself picking this up again and again for years to come.

An definitive classic!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,369 reviews9,438 followers
September 26, 2020
While reading this book, all I that runs through my head is the song the Ramones made for the movie.

So, I'm going to link the video so all of you can have it running through your head as well! Kickin' it old school =)

Pet Sematary - The Ramones



Okay, let me just go ahead and say there will be **SPOILERS** for those that haven't read the book or seen the movie.

I have seen the movie about 6 million 5 hundred and 8 times. And I love it! THIS is the first time I have read the book, and as there are a few differences in the book and movie, they both rock monkey butt! The book didn't scare me at all for some reason. I think because of the said 6 million 5 hundred and 8 times that I have seen it that maybe it acclimated me to the book. Although, the movie is still creepy as hell.

I totally freaked at the introduction to the book. Mr. King tells about moving to said place, teaching at the school, they had a cat named Smucky, their son was running to the road chasing the kite string like in the movie, but uh, didn't get killed! And some other things. It was like a whole new little world right there for me that he actually wrote this based on some home stuff!

Remember in the book where Jud (the wonderful neighbor) takes them out to the Pet Sematary?

SMUCKY THE CAT, one crate-board marker proclaimed. The hand was childish but careful. HE WAS OBEDIANT.

Okay, so there was a real (I wonder if it's still there?) Pet Sematary and their cat Smucky is buried there and that is what Mr. King's daughter wrote! I mean, I can't even. I want to go visit there now and see if the place is still there!

So wonderful Jud from across the road has a great friendship with Louis and the kids, a little iffy with Rachel.

 :

Anyway, Jud is the one that has Louis bury Church (the cat) when he gets hit on that damn road all of those crazy trucks would fly down. But little did Louis know that Church was going to come back, even when the poor boy from the school (Pascow) who got hit by a car and killed, came back as a ghost to warn Louis. Why don't people just listen?



So now Church is back home and he isn't the same any more. But the family didn't find out anything happened to him while they were out of town. They just think he's weird and stinks when they get home. Uh, yeah!



So then, it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

Gage is killed on the road. . . . . .



and in the movie you get to see who presides over the funeral.



Yup, the King =)

and then. . . don't do it . . . don't to it.

He does it, Louis takes Gage to the Pet Sematary and yeah. . . Gage isn't the same when he comes back! He kills Jud! Damn it all! and Ellie had been having bad dreams about her daddy so Rachel comes home and goes to Jud's house and she gets killed because Gage isn't Gage any more.



And Louis finally takes out Church and Gage, but does he learn from his lesson? Nooooooooooooooo, he takes and buries Rachel in the Sematary. Well, you can use your imagination for the rest of that one. . .



This was an awesome book to read for Halloween time or any time really but it's extra special at Halloween! ♥

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
733 reviews3,394 followers
April 24, 2022
Let´s just ignore the rotten elephant in the room and pretend that we´re a normal, happy family for potentially forever

There are many spoilers, some with puns that are more dead than alive, so be careful. Seriously, it´s impossible to vivisect this work without revealing secrets, because they´re so essential to the plot.

Drifting into darkness
It´s one of Kings´smoothest darkenings of a happy group of people, accompanied by increasing signs of decline towards madness and despair, from animals to humans and mental breakdowns. A big bonus is the unusual precision and shortness of the piece, King distills (not booze) instead of driveling towards 1k pages, making this exceptional dense in atmosphere and action without any length. Maybe the reason was, once again, already not subtly alluded,

The substance abuse problem
that made him reduce what, some call too much unnecessary drivel for absolutely no reason, ahem, to the normal amount of words needed to create a book. Subjectively I deem writing this one under the influence of whatever mix he took at this moment more creepy than many of his other works, because it includes sweet pets and kids and has something of a unique, outstanding touch in his whole work. So less real violence, much suspense, and a dark ending make it something creeping the heck out of everyone.

Seems legit
Honestly one must assume that people will do everything for their loved ones, no matter how dangerous, sick, or disturbing it might look for other humans. And not just strange hardcore DIY fringe shamans without any real, proven necromancy competence and experiences shown on darknet social networks for both Satanists and necrophiles getting really hard on this stuff, but for sober, reputable people with backgrounds in science too. So before someone discriminates desperate family members that practice dark magic, blood sacrifice, or voodoo economics to get their loved ones healthy, wealthy, or alive again, they should stumble a few zombie steps in their shoes. Better a living corpse than a dead body as the saying goes.

Personal fears
King likes to put real life impressions and personal elements into his works, Shining is for instance strongly inspired by his experiences as struggling parent, teacher, and alcoholic. Thereby one can assume that the inspiration for Pet sematary could have been the parents' fear to lose a child and how far one would go to save a loved one.

Slow escalation
Happy family life is destroyed and the search for a new hope starts with small experimentations that escalate to the ultimate conclusion. Continuing this idea, one could end up not just with special families, but whole towns or states run by extraordinary people. Depending on their mindset, great or terrifying new societies could be built on the grounds of resurrection, as long as there is no daily or weekly limit or how much the sematary can handle or they run out of Charons´obols and go soul broke.

The punishment for misusing indigenous burial places
It seems fair, who sins has to be punished, eye for an eye style. But does that mean that it would be good with permission? Maybe, although then the saved personality may get demented or mad after a certain time, just giving a short, good revival, before returning to the state it would have been with instant blasphemy fueled curse ruining mental capacities and social skills. Better to wait for a mind upload or nanobot repair set for cryogenically frozen dead relatives, because techno optimism seems to be the far safer bet than voodoo zombie puppets.

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 2 books247k followers
July 25, 2020
”It’s probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls—as little as one may like to admit it, human experience tends, in a good many ways, to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”

In the introduction to this edition, Stephen King manages to start the tingles and shivers running up and down my back before I ever read a word of the novel. When a writer like Stephen King says this is the book he wrote that scared him the most, I wonder if I am going to be opening a door in my own mind that I would rather keep triple padlock with the key lost in a different dimension.

We’ve all speculated about all the horrors that are fighting for space in King’s mind. How does he sleep at night? I’m just a dabbler, but I will tell you that my thought is he sleeps very well as long as he is able to write each day. Whenever I am being harassed by a story or even maybe just a compelling character, I will find no peace until that concept or character is committed to paper, well pixels.

The reason that King finished this book and his initial reaction to the story was to slam it into a drawer and forget it about it is because the plotting of the novel intersected with his life in real time. His daughter, her cat, and the place they were living when he wrote the novel are all captured in the squiggles of his prose. When he finished, he realized he had written a novel he wasn’t sure he should have brought into being. Can a novel become reality?

The nightmares in this novel are too personal.

It makes perfect sense to me to feel compelled to stab a sharp stake through the heart of a manuscript.

When Dr. Louis Creed moves his family from Boston to rural Maine, he certainly has preconceived notions about what it will be like to live in the country. Of course, I grew up in the country, and I could have told Louis that there are many hazards for children, pets, and even adults in the country. Leaving Boston behind might have felt like escaping the perils of the city, but all he did was jump from one frying pan into another. The semi-trucks barrelling down the highway outside their house are not only loud but also pushing the pedal to the metal. They are rolling tanks; only a tank’s top speed is 45 miles per hour while a semi on a flat road can go about as fast it wants to go.

The other problem Dr. Louis Creed has is that he doesn’t realize he is a character in a Stephen King novel.

Never good. Never good at all.

There is a Pet Cemetery, spelled Sematary, not far from their house. It is a spooky place, but beyond the edges of the cemetery is where things get really interesting. The neighbor, 80 year old Jud Crandall, fills Louis in on the local lore. “‘The Micmacs believed this hill was a magic place,’ he said. ‘Believed this whole forest, from the swamp on north and east was magic. They made this place, and they buried their dead here, away from everything else. Other tribes steered clear of it—the Penobscots said these woods were full of ghosts.’”

There is talk that, if something is buried there, it will…. "Sometimes, dead is better" and states that "the place has a power... its own evil purpose."

But what if something is telling you to go there? What if you wake up in the morning with your head full of restless dreams and caked mud on the bottoms of your feet?

This can’t really be happening to Louis. There must be a sensible explanation.There is no one more rational about death than Doctor Louis Creed, but death is easy to be rational about until someone you love dies and you start to believe there is another option.

The basic structure of the plot will be sussed out by readers fairly early in the book. They will know where things are heading. “It’s the road. It uses up a lot of animals, that road does. Dogs and cats, mostly, but that ain’t all.” The devil is in the details. The real horror is in the growing terror surrounding each new decision. The slow degradation of the Creed family, of rationality, and even joy kept sending chills down my back. Irresistible temptation always seems to be wrapped in evil. ”Let them be anything but the creatures which leap and crawl and slither and shamble in the world between. Let there be God, let there be Sunday morning, let there be smiling Episcopalian ministers in shining white surplices . . . but let there not be these dark and draggling horrors on the nightside of the universe.”

Wishes coming true can be the real horror.

What Stephen King does very well is create situations, even implausible situations, and convinces us that WE can be in the middle of something this insidious. We don’t feel like these things are happening to other people. We feel like we are smack dab in the middle of all the horror.

”Death is a mystery, and burial is a secret”.

Highly recommended!

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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February 21, 2022
Well, I doubt that I'll ever have any other way of saying this, but after reading this book, my mind is well and truly fucked. This book, and the story it tells, pushes the boundaries even for the sanest of individuals. It psychologically grips you, and Stephen King manages to get inside your head, rummage around in there for a bit, and stay there, long after you've finished the book. But, that is what he wants, and that, is another reason why he is one of the greatest authors, that I have read to date.

Pet Sematary is my fourth King novel, and having just read The Shining, I wanted more of King's works in my grasp. The Shining, without a doubt, was amazing. I was hooked from beginning to end. When I finished that book, I was inevitably disappointed, as I had an appetite for more, and in a crazy kind of way, I liked feeling unsettled, so I bought Pet Sematary, as I'd heard positive things about it.
I went into this book, with the grave assumption that it was about a cat that returned from the dead, hence the front cover, which actually has an evil looking cat on it. It was SO much more than that. Let me put this in my terms. It takes a lot to physiologically disturb me, and in turn, get under my skin. This book was dancing very confidently on that line. At one point, around halfway through, I was reading it at work, and towards the end of a chapter I thought " Wow, he's not honestly written what I think he has, has he?" I had to read the next chapter at home.
Apparently, King States that this novel is one that he hasn't been able to reread himself as it is THAT scary. Now I've read it myself, I totally understand that statement.

I feel I must thank Mr King, for once again, causing my flesh to crawl, my stomach to lurch, and inevitably, adding to my current issue of insomnia.
October 6, 2015
It’s probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls—as little as one may like to admit it, human experience tends, in a good many ways, to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.
In my teens, Stephen King has crafted my nightmares. I am masochistically glad to say that in my adulthood, that has not changed.



He had been responsible for my bedtime routine. Close all doors, bathroom, closet. Check under bed, a terrifying prospect as it stands. Make sure blanket is firmly tucked in at the feet - who knows what creatures might reach up to grab or nibble on them. Make sure blanket is firmly tucked in on all sides, so that only the head is exposed. And still, all that preparation for the battle that is bedtime is nigh useless as the nightlights cast shadows that turn into shadowy creatures in the depths of night. Glints of light cast upon objects are spun by a restless mind into monsters.

It has been years since I've read a Stephen King book. That's because my attention span is much shorter now. It craves the quick denouément, a fast-paced plot. Action action action. I confess that this book did plod along in some parts for me, but despite all that, there is no doubt in my mind that King is a master at building atmosphere. He is tremendously skilled at crafting characters, at making them human, at making them relatable in their poignancy, with moments like a father explaining the inevitability of death to his young child. I think we can all relate to that moment.
He held her and rocked her, believing, rightly or wrongly, that Ellie wept for the very intractability of death, its imperviousness to argument or to a little girl’s tears; that she wept over its cruel unpredictability; and that she wept because of the human being’s wonderful, deadly ability to translate symbols into conclusions that were either fine and noble or blackly terrifying. If all those animals had died and been buried, then Church could die (any time!) and be-buried; and if that could happen to Church, it could happen to her mother, her father, her baby brother. To herself. Death was a vague idea; the Pet Sematary was real.

In the texture of those rude markers were truths which even a child’s hands could feel.
I would say half the book isn't a horror in a traditional sense, but an exploration of human grief and behavior, and human nature itself can be quite terrifying.



That isn't to say that this book isn't filled with moments that makes a chill run down your spine.
The wind pushed and pulled its fingers through his hair, and for a moment the old, childlike fear of the dark rushed through him, making him feel weak and small and terrorized. Was he really going into the woods with this corpse in his arms, passing under the trees where the wind walked, from darkness into darkness? And alone this time?
I've long since outgrown my nightly monster-prepping ritual, but I know tonight I won't be sleeping easily.
“I brought you something, Mommy!” he screamed. “I brought you something, Mommy! I brought you something, I brought you something!”
Profile Image for Matt.
899 reviews28k followers
November 4, 2022
“[S]ometimes dead is better…”
- Stephen King, Pet Sematary

Horror has a deserved reputation for being a genre able to make important societal points while still being fantastically entertaining. To be sure, there is a lot of mindless horror, where excess seems the entire point. But when it’s done at the highest levels, it can explore topics as serious and varied as racism, sexism, and nuclear war while still delivering a cathartic fright.

Pet Sematary is a high-concept novel that can be boiled down to a single sentence: Indian burial ground brings the dead back to life. In all honesty, it is not a description that instills much confidence that it is anything other than throwaway fiction. It gives off strong vibes of being yet another zombie varietal or the mossy foundation for a Roger Corman movie.

During one Halloween season, though, when I began to ask people for some suggestions on seasonal reading, this is the title that was recommended to me over and over again. Having confidence in Stephen King – who is always interesting, even when he’s awful – I finally picked this up.

***

If you are one of those people who’s said that Pet Sematary is the scariest thing you’ve ever read, you are not alone. King himself agrees with you. Indeed, in introducing my version of the book, King claims that even he thought he had gone too far, and that it would never be published.

Obviously, this is an unverifiable story that reeks of a carnival barker selling his wares. I doubt King ever worried about Pet Sematary’s prospects for publication, and in terms of grotesqueness and bad taste, this seems almost tame. In a sense, though, I agreed with King’s sentiments. Pet Sematary pushes up against the boundaries of what most readers are willing to tolerate in their amusements.

***

At 395 pages – in my paperback edition – this is a relatively svelte entry by King’s standards. I don’t think he’d even finished introducing all the characters in The Stand in 395 pages. With all trace of fat and filler sliced away, Pet Sematary is one of King’s tighter, more efficient tales. There are only a handful of characters, and just a few big set pieces. King only throws a couple punches, but they all land squarely in the groin.

Things kick off with the Creed family (Louis and Rachel, and their two young kids, Eileen and Gage) arriving at their new home in Maine, after relocating from Chicago. Louis is a doctor who has taken a job with the University of Maine. Their new house is a big and beautiful New England colonial. The only downside is that it’s located right next to a busy road well-traveled by recklessly speeding semitrucks.

The Creed’s new neighbor is the benignly intrusive Jud Crandall, an old man who steps in to fill the paternal role that Louis missed due to his own father’s premature death. It doesn’t take long for Jud to show Louis some of their new home’s features. Prominent among them is a pet cemetery that has a misspelled sign giving this book its title. Through Jud – a classic King character, who is always oversharing – we learn that beyond the pet cemetery is a Micmac burial ground. According to Jud, he buried his childhood dog in that space, and it came back to life, a canine Lazarus that was suddenly meaner than hell and smelled like death.

For a shortish book, Pet Sematary is long on setup. It takes its time building to the inevitable consequences of living next to a place that cheats Death. For the first 200 or so pages, not a lot happens, though King generously foreshadows much of what is to follow.

At the halfway point, he delivers a shot to the solar plexus with a major twist – followed by two cheap writer’s tricks – all in succession. Starting with this breathless sequence, things race straight downhill to the chilling finale.

The twist itself – which hides in plain sight – is King’s crowning achievement. It is not a scene of supernatural horror or apocalyptic fireworks. Instead, it is an immensely powerful portrait of sorrow that is closer to James Agee’s A Death in the Family than anything else from the master of pop horror.

***

Part of King’s success has been his ability to use horror to his own ends. He’s always worked at both the textual and subtextual level. He places a premium on his stories, to be sure, but always gives over space to ponder his themes. At his worst (the simplistic parable of The Green Mile), King wields his motifs with all the subtlety of Jack Nicholson putting an axe into Scatman Crothers. At his best (the portrait of an abusive, alcoholic father in The Shining), King’s subtext enriches and deepens what might otherwise be a forgettable spook-story.

Pet Sematary is, in some respects, vintage horror. But it worked for me – unpleasantly – on its second level. This is King’s meditation on the enormity of loss and the devastation of grief.

All King’s books are filled with death, but this is the rare book – not just in the King canon, but in general – that deals squarely with dying. It realizes the uncomfortable truth that our own deaths, while frightening, do not come close to the unspeakable prospect of losing the people we love. This reality – and it is very real – is so powerful that it has to be diluted lest the message become unpalatable. That is King’s true accomplishment, to be able to riff on ideas of life, death, and the afterlife without turning you away. Pet Sematary is almost good enough to deliver its sharp message without making you want to crawl into a corner and curl into the fetal position.

Almost.

***

It seems like a lot of people first read Stephen King in their late-teens. Maybe a King novel was the first big “adult” book they ever read. When they read his stuff, they were genuinely scared, because they had yet to experience the true terrors of the world of adults.

With an exception or two, every King book I’ve read has been in my thirties and forties. Thus, the Boo! moments don’t make a hugely profound impression on me. I am pretty much immune – to the point of indifference – with literary descriptions of the macabre. This is simply a function of having seen too much to be truly shivered by ghosts, aliens, or a homicidal Plymouth Fury. I love King’s books, but it’s not his jump-scares that get me, but the insights into the human condition that are cleverly concealed behind the fearful symbols.

***

Pet Sematary’s evocation of death is both philosophical and impactful, and even the novel’s cheap-gore elements cannot obscure its force. Horror is often viewed as a healthy way to channel our toxic fears. But King provides no release. He makes you look into the void of death, with all its infinite uncertainties, and simply ponder how hard it is to say goodbye. Pet Sematary gave me nightmares. Not of monsters or ghosts or zombie pets, but of busy roads, unwatched children, and the hidden clock that starts ticking away the moment we’re born.

Pet Sematary is a transcendent masterpiece of the horror genre. At the same time, it is exceedingly unpleasant to read, and certainly nothing I will ever pick up again. Once you strip away its grisly trappings, you are left with the chilling conclusion that we all imagine but refuse to say aloud: that all of us will lose everything.
Profile Image for  Teodora .
279 reviews1,536 followers
November 3, 2022
4.5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

Pet Sematary. Sematary. Isn’t it cute??

Okay, maybe not that cute if you consider the fact that some kids bury their dead pets in a sinister place and fulfil all kind of procedures meant for burying people, applying them on their pets. But you have to admit, the misspelling is adorable. So innocent.

I’ve read this book almost three years ago and I literally have no idea how I read this because I felt like I forgot a lot of important things about it. But thank the Almighty Divinity up there for the film. I actually enjoyed the film more than I expected, but it was good because it was different from the book and it helped me remember better (because my brain has its own way of functioning and processing, don't ask).

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I am not going to talk about plots and plot twists and also I am not going to talk that much about the characters either. But I do want to talk a bit about one of the characters though.

First off, I want to say that after seeing the film, the image of Louis Creed, the main character, has somehow grown on me. When I was reading the book, I must confess that I didn't feel a real connection towards any of the characters, maybe at some point even despise them a little. And Louis Creed is not an exception. I actually felt like he was warmer in the film than it was in the book. And I had this impression about all of the characters to be completely honest. Maybe I was more insensitive three years ago when I read the book. Or maybe not. Who knows? (I'm still pretty insensitive though).

Because I remember feelings sometimes better than words, I must say that this book had some very intense passages that managed to raise the hair on the back of my neck. To make you understand what I’m saying, I have prepared a nice story for you, one that is actually real as it comes:

I have a small house at the countryside, typical Romanian you know, with Persian rugs and a terracotta stove and a dim lightbulb that annoys you more than actually helps you see. It was the Easter evening, my folks were outside preparing the grill for the barbecue and I was all alone in my bed reading this book, clearly running away from responsibility. As I said, the light was kind of stupidly annoying, the stove was cracking from time to time and sometimes someone was making weird noises from outside like crashing things or something clumsy like that. Apart from that, everything was semi-shadowy and quiet. The passage I was reading right at that moment was the one when Rachel, Louis' wife, was describing the last time she saw her sick sister alive before she died. I remember that scene as ‘the closet scene'. King created a masterpiece out of that scene. It felt so real and so immediate that I started looking at my own closet in the room and praying not to see some inhumanly claws creeping from between the doors. In that particular moment, I felt a chill going down my spine and my heart started somehow racing. I actually yelled for my mother too and she actually came to check on me like I was some kind of baby (she rolled her eyes and left after I told her why I summoned her but at least she came).

Giving the fact that the book has some mysticism spice, I think it is worth a shot just for the glimpse of a myth. And maybe who knows? The individual research could go on and maybe even discover something new, interesting and exciting because as I always say, we always have something to learn from a book, even if we have only a tiny detail that grabbed our attention. Everything is worth knowing. Even if it comes from a horror novel! Just make it enjoyable. Everything comes from within.

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Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,121 followers
April 8, 2019
"Sometimes dead is better".................

KING calls Pet Sematary his scariest book, and I can understand why. It is super creepy and super "shocking" where he takes the reader, and his interesting prologue explaining how he came to write this unsettling tale brings a bit of truth to the story.

While truly a horror of a read, it is excellent in respect to its genre, but just awful too if that makes any sense. PS is not particularly gory, but definitely sad, sick, dark, and disgusting with more than one horribly "shocking" event that will blow your mind.

Take heed if you're new to reading horror as this one will make your skin crawl and keep you from taking a walk in the woods anytime soon......especially if your cat is nearby.

"IT" is still my favorite scary KING thriller (especially the "old" movie) but Pet Sematary (did I say it was "shocking") is a close second, and......."sometimes dead is better."

UPDATE: October 16, 2015

WARNING: DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE TOTALLY CREEPED OUT! THE VISUAL OF THE "SISTER" FLASHBACK SCENE ALONE IS MORE HORRIFYING THAN THE ENTIRE BOOK!!!

Profile Image for s.penkevich.
733 reviews5,008 followers
October 28, 2022
Sometimes dead is better.

One of King’s greatest strengths is that his best scares are less the monsters and more the way he subtly seeds horror in the mundanities of everyday life. Pet Sematary, a novel dripping with dread, spooks the reader by making death an antagonist we think we could overcome but unleash hell in the process. Yet it is through transforming grief and parental anxieties into tales of terror that truly frightens. I remember reading this for the first time at 14, bundled in bed against the autumn chills tapping at my window when the final scene rises up to deliver a scare that occurs on a sunny midday while outdoors and suddenly even terror could loom even in idyllic landscapes. That haunted me for years, and is a large reason why King is such a gem that frightens through he ages: he hits you where you feel safe and he hits you riding emotions that we all inevitably feel. Pet Sematary is a now-classic horror novel that examines grief and male fragility and will have you shrieking in both fright and fun.

I don’t think children ever forget the lies their parents tell them.

Everyone has likely said anything there is to be said about this book, but here I go anyway. This is a book that really sticks with you and I suspect it is because it dives into the depths of emotions we all have but don’t display openly, especially men in American culture that are couched into seeing overt displays of emotion as a flaw, especially one’s like fear, grief and sadness that King probes here. ‘The soil of a man’s heart is stonier,’ Jud tells our protagonist, Louis Creed, and this sort of myth making about masculinity has caused many to suffer in silence. The men, sure, but more so those closest to them that are harmed and haunted by their inability to productively process emotion which often turns rather toxic. Much of the trauma in this novel comes from Louis attempting to cover up and push death aside, first with the cat and later with the child, as an attempt to avoid dealing with death. When Winston Churchill, or Church as he is called, is killed, Louis and Jud go beyond the local cemetery to a place rumored to bring back the dead…but ‘the barrier was not meant to be crossed,’ and dark things are ahead.


But let's pause on the death of Church for a moment (names like Church and the last name Creed definitely imply some religious aspects) because as children our first brush with death usually comes from our pets. I mean, basically the whole reason you get a fish so your parents can explain death to you. The intentional misspelling of the title ‘Sematary,’ comes from the misspelling of the little animal cemetery in the woods near the Creed house, which is riddled with adorable misspellings in children’s handwriting on the numerous tombstones. It is a great example of combining death with the coziness of childhood, reminding us all that it is a fact of life—a sad one—and something we inevitably have to confront. Instead of dealing with his daughter’s grief and stepping up as a parent, Louis opts to push death and grief aside for a quick fix, but as we soon learn, trauma forestalled ferments into something far more sinister…

When Louis asks his neighbor if anyone has ever attempted this with a human, Jud retorts ‘NO! Whoever would!? King being King, we know we will soon learn the truth and that it is more terrifying than we can imagine. Which is another aspect I love about him, he will drop into backstory that paints horror with a palette of nostalgia and small town dynamics, making even the quaintest little village a breeding ground of fear. King is, of course, playing on parent’s greatest fears with this novel, one he nearly confronted himself when a semi almost ran over his own child and inspired this novel. Louis’ inability to properly grieve, and thinking he can have a magical fix becomes his own undoing.

Rachel, is that you? I’ve been waiting for you, Rachel. And now I’m going to twist your back like mine, so you’ll never get out of bed again…

The side-story of Zelda, Rachel Creed’s sister whom she had to care for as a child despite being horrified by her condition suffering from spinal meningitis, is another example of the paternal figure pushing aside problems. Here the trauma is dumped into the lap of his youngest daughter (as Nocturnalux pointed out, this is one of King's many nods to The Haunting of Hill House), an issue that doesn’t do anything to help the bad relationship between Louis and his father-in-law. It wound’s his masculinity all the more when a man he doesn’t respect calls his own abilities as a “man” into question at the funeral.

Without a strong male figure in his life that he respects—or respects him—Louis finds Jud to be a surrogate father, ‘the man who should have been his father.’ I can’t think of Jud without picturing Fred Gwynne in the role of the 1989 film and hearing his voice saying “it’s that damn road there.” I just want that guy’s voice to be my voicemail message, it’s so good. In Jud he sees the representation of the American Dream, older married couple still in love, retired and passing down his kindness and knowledge. Except Jud knows dark things. And Jud will later be haunted by his dead wife and her claiming to have slept with many man in their marital bed is a well-executed horror moment for the novel’s themes because it is something that threatens his sense of masculinity the most. I mean, I don’t really know if King was going out to critique toxic masculinity (doubtful actually, as the wife isn't a very well-done character and mostly serves the characters ego and...services him in a scene that certainly opened my eyes at 14 and includes a line about things she learned as a girl scout...uhhhh) but it is so much a part of American culture that this critique becomes natural when looking for a way to discomfort men.

This is a wildly uncomfortable novel in many ways, and that is what makes it truly stick. King strikes hard and turning the grief of a lost child into a horror story of demonic resurrection is pretty damn effective. Pet Sematary lives on as a classic—it has even had multiple film adaptations—and is a delightfully good frightfest.

3.5/5

The most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 9 books862 followers
August 29, 2018
Stephen King's legacy will be vast, I have no doubt. We'll still read him hundreds of years from now, just as we have with Poe and Dickens and many others. Of all his master works, however, I take the somewhat unpopular stance that Pet Sematary is his magnum opus. Re-reading it now only confirms this opinion.

When I first read Pet Sematary (I couldn't have been older than 13) I knew right away that it was more than a typical scary story. For one, it made me feel decades older. Wiser. More entuned to human nature. King never shies away from character, but he really digs deep with Louis Creed. There are numerous novels that portray death well (James Agee's A Death in the Family is superb) but fittingly enough, it's this gothic horror novel that illustrates it best. Death isn't pretty and surviving it can be just as grotesque. Pet Sematary gives all of this to us, and more. Much more than we want to see. But maybe we need to see it to understand.

We often scream at characters in horror movies for doing stupid things (WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE YOU IDIOT!?) and arguably Louis Creed does some stupid things in this book. King adds supernatural influence as justification, but let's be honest - no justification is needed. Creed and his decisions are as relatable as they are tragic, which is something never quite accomplished--not on the same level at least--with Jack Torrance or Annie Wilkes or Carrie White. Not dissing those other books, I'm a fan boy for them too, but it's why I think Pet Sematary is King's greatest achievement.

For those interested in reading this one, for the first time or 20th, I highly recommend the new audio version narrated by Michael C. Hall. His outstanding performance enriches the novel in ways I hadn't noticed before.
Profile Image for Mario.
Author 1 book185 followers
July 9, 2019
And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.

2nd reading, and it still remains my favorite book that I've read so far.
_______________
Once upon a time when I was a child, I remember talking with my family about horror movies. Somebody asked what was the scariest movie you've watched, and my mom without thinking said 'Pet Sematary'. I remember laughing and saying 'How on earth could a movie named Pet Sematary be scary?' Fast forward to now, I changed my mind.

This book is the scariest and creepiest book I've ever read, and I'm sure it'll stay number 1 for a long time. It made me think about stuff I don't want, or refuse, to think about. One being death. Most of us don't want to think about death, 'cause we think we're invincible... But we're not. Like this book said, Oz the Great and Terrible (or should I say Gweat and Tewwible?) is always close... waiting.

At a few parts, I even thought about putting the book down, because it was all too much, but I just couldn't. I wasn't even able to stop reading, 'cause I was dying (no pun intended) to know what was going to happen next. I guess horror books do that do you.

In conclusion, amazing book, and I'm definitely gonna re-read it in (very, very distant) future.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
October 24, 2019
I LOVED THIS. I read 300 pages of this book in ONE day which I never do anymore. This is my fifth book from Stephen King and it’s easily my favorite, so far it’s the only book of his I’ve given 5 stars. I am so impressed by how deep this story is, and how sad it is and the way it talks about grief. I actually made an entire reading vlog dedicated to this book and reacting to it so you can see all the rest of my thoughts here: https://youtu.be/2QKIYdXarLM
Profile Image for Vincent Kaprat.
23 reviews11 followers
November 5, 2013
This may be King's darkest book. If you're goth, read this and you'll be 5% goth'er.
Profile Image for Ginger.
721 reviews316 followers
May 24, 2019
I loved this book!
I’m so glad I finally read Pet Sematary! What a creepy book. The unease and anxiety just keeps building in this book and it's brutal!


I’ll have to be honest here.

That’s some damn fine writing since it affected me so bad!

But I pressed on and I’m glad I did. I loved the part with Louis and Jud when they took THE trip into the woods. It was so atmospheric, and I was on the edge of my seat.
You just know at that point in the book that things are going to drastically change when

I felt sorry for Louis and the decisions he kept having to endure. It was gut wrenching and I'm not sure what I would have done in his shoes.
This book is character driven and about the decisions we make in life. Good and bad!
King did such a good job with this!

Other thoughts, I did not like the character of Rachel Creed. She was a weak character, and I hated how she took her parents side and did not stick with Louis, her husband.

And one last thing. Total epic! Gah!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
199 reviews144 followers
October 28, 2022
“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. What we know is this: When we die, one of two things happens. Either our souls and thoughts somehow survive the experience of dying or they don't. If they do, that opens up every possibility you could think of. If they don't, it's just blotto. The end.”

When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in Ludlow, Maine, it all seems too good to be true, a physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son and now an idyllic home. As a family, they've got it all, right down to the friendly cat.

But despite Ludlow's tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists there. The trucks on the road outside the Creed's beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets.

Then there are the warnings to Dr Creed both real and in his dreams, that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lies. A blood chilling truth is hidden there, more terrifying than death...and hideously more powerful.

This book review took me a long time to write. I needed to take a few days to process my feelings. Pet Sematary is my favourite Stephen King novel and this wasn’t my first time reading it.

This book gets into my head and lives there like a parasite. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before. I was enjoying reading the story, but then I didn’t want to pick up the book. I didn’t want to face the onslaught of emotions I knew were coming my way. That’s the level of horror it delivers… and I love horror. This book haunts me so much because it has the rawest depiction of grief I’ve ever come across in a book.

Expertly written and flawless characters as always. It's haunting. It's disturbing. I am still emotionally drained after reading it. By far the most horrific and upsetting of Stephen King’s works.

I recommend this book but not to the faint of heart or to the emotionally fragile.

One of my favourite quotes from the book: “And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,068 reviews38.1k followers
April 10, 2022
Each time I intend to read this book one more time, I find myself hiding under the blankets, screaming aloud.

My first self scream contest started when I was young, dumb kid who has pantophobia ( which means I was scaring of everything)

I was at the music club at the 7th grade which I truly hated every moment of it and at this age I still have no idea why they chose me to sing with them when I have a voice makes little babies and puppies traumatize. Anyways, at least instead of looking at the song lyrics we perform, I always hid a Stephen King book inside my music folder and read them during practice! But the day I read Pet Sematary, I started screaming as I reached the chapters evil Gage returned back from death! That was the time I proved I had the strongest vocal cords, earning my nickname as baby Jamie Lee Curtis!

This book may be the creepiest, most tear jerking, traumatized book king of the authors has written. The ending was FREAKING AMAZING! Maybe the best conclusion the author has written!

At 2019 movie adaptation they changed the original final which was also good but I still insist the book was still so much better!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.5k followers
April 3, 2022
Pet Sematary, Stephen King

Pet Sematary is a 1983 horror novel by American writer Stephen King. In November 2013. Louis Creed, a doctor from Chicago, is appointed director of the University of Maine's campus health service. He moves to a large house near the small town of Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their two young children, Ellie and Gage, and Ellie's cat, Church. From the moment they arrive, the family runs into trouble: Ellie hurts her knee and Gage is stung by a bee. Their new neighbor, an elderly man named Jud Crandall, comes to help.

He warns Louis and Rachel about the highway that runs past their house, which is frequented by speeding trucks. Jud and Louis quickly become close friends. Since Louis's father died when he was three, he sees Jud as a surrogate father. A few weeks after the Creeds move in, Jud takes the family on a walk in the woods behind their home. A well-tended path leads to a pet cemetery (misspelled "sematary" on the sign) where the children of the town bury their deceased animals. The outing provokes a heated argument between Louis and Rachel the next day.

Rachel disapproves of discussing death, and she worries about how Ellie may be affected by what she saw at the "sematary." It is explained later that Rachel was traumatized by the early death of her sister, Zelda, from spinal meningitis—an issue that is brought up several times in flashbacks. Louis empathizes with his wife, and blames her parents for her trauma, who left Rachel at home alone with her sister when she died. Louis himself has a traumatic experience during the first week of classes. Victor Pascow, a student who has been fatally injured in an automobile accident, addresses his dying words to Louis personally, even though the two men are strangers.

On the night following Pascow's death, Louis experiences what he believes is a very vivid dream in which he meets Pascow, who leads him to the deadfall at the back of the "sematary" and warns him to not go beyond there. Louis wakes up in bed the next morning convinced it was, in fact, a dream—until he finds his feet and bedsheets covered with dried mud and pine needles. Nevertheless, Louis dismisses the dream as the product of the stress he experienced during Pascow's death, coupled with his wife's lingering anxieties about the subject of death. On Halloween, Jud's wife Norma suffers a near-fatal heart attack, but makes a quick recovery thanks to Louis's help. Jud is grateful and decides to repay Louis after Church is run over outside his home around Thanksgiving. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه آگوست سال2012میلادی

عنوان: غبرستان حیوانات خانگی؛ نویسنده: استفن کینگ؛ مترجم: افسانه محمدی‌شاهرخ؛ تهران نشر قطره‏‫، سال1390؛ در580ص؛ ‬‬شابک9786001193477؛ چاپ دوم سال1392؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

کتاب «غبرستان حیوانات خانگی» یک کتاب در ژانر ترسناک اثر «استیون کینگ» است که در سال1983میلادی منتشر شده‌ است؛ واژه ی «سماتاری» با حرف «سی» در زبان انگلیسی به معنای «قبرستان» است؛ اما «استیفن کینگ» به عنوان یک اسم خاص و از املای دیگرگونه بهره جسته‌ اند؛ به همین سبب، در ترجمه فارسی هم از واژه ویژه ی «غبرستان»، به جای «قبرستان» استفاده شده‌ است؛ «لوئیز کرید» پزشک اهل «شیکاگو» که برای آرامش و دوری از هیاهوی شهری به همراه همسر، دختر، و پسرش، به یک دهکده، در میان جنگل‌های انبوه نقل مکان می‌کند؛ پس از گذشت چند روز درمی‌یابد، در جنگل، بخشی وجود دارد، که گورستان حیوانات خانگی است، البته املای آن به صورت اشتباه نوشته شده‌ است؛ در آن مکان، اگر حیوان مرده‌ ای دفن شود، آن حیوان زنده می‌شود؛ پس از مرگ گربه ی «لوئیز»، وی گربه را در آن مکان دفن می‌کند، گربه بازمی‌گردد؛ چندی بعد دختر کوچک «لوئیز»، در تصادفی در جاده کشته می‌شود؛ و «لوئیز» برای برگرداندن وی، دخترش را در آن مکان دفن می‌کند؛ دختر زنده می‌شود اما خیلی چیزها دیگر شده‌ اند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Peter.
2,467 reviews440 followers
October 11, 2019
Since I recently watched the remake of the 80s film I had to re-read Pet Sematary again. A decision I didn't regreat. It is a phenomenally good book that grew in my opinion over the years (I actually read it for the first time in the 80s). On the one hand you have numerous excellent horror elements (the cemetery, the Wendigo, Zelda and those coming back from that place, like Church or Gadge). On the other hand it describes in a relentless way what happens if man plays God and tries to resurrect the dead (sometimes it's better to stay dead). Those people returning from the Micmac place are changed in a very unpleasant way. Lazarus is a very strong motif throughout the book. The whole story is masterly plotted and told. Jud Crandall is a very sinister character that leads Louis into temptation. The old Micmac burial place is brilliant and one of the eeriest places in horror literature. Vic Pascow's warnings come to late. The book is about death and what comes after death. It's not only what you'd expect about 80s horror but very philosophical. This book makes you really think about life and death. Absolutely awsome novel and must read. I'm very glad that I read that book in advanced years again!
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan .
944 reviews1,889 followers
June 21, 2021
(Throwback Review) Stephen King is the name that needs no introduction. Interestingly I started reading King after seeing one of my favorite movies of all time- The Shawshank Redemption (based on his work, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from his 1982 collection Different Seasons). This book is no different from all of his other works. In this one, too, we can see his impeccable writing skills. The story runs around Dr. Louis Creed and his family and their new home and its surroundings in Ludlow, New England. Pet cemetery and the Micmac burial ground near it forms the crux of the story.

King has used many Medical Metaphors well in this book. We see Louis saying once,
“Don’t monkey with a wound that has finally started to heal.”

We can also see Louis wonderfully explaining Medical detachment to his friends. Still, how Louis was behaving as a Doctor in the first part of the novel is a little hard to digest (Maybe it is due to the effect of the power from the burial ground which King himself is comparing with How dope - addicts feel good when they are putting Heroin in their arms). Some cats are indeed grumpy and weird. But generalizing and saying that all cats are weird was too much for an ailurophile like me. (I love pets, and this was a little hard to digest). These are the only minor glitches I found in this novel. In short, this novel is a story of one normal man’s encounter with the forces of ineffable evil. If you have got this book already in your hands, don’t think twice; just start reading because this one is a real page-turner.
Profile Image for Matheus Madeira.
11 reviews435 followers
June 8, 2021
Aqui jaz matheus “editheus” madeira, homem hipoteticamente hetero e felizmente editor, após ler O Cemitério de Stephen King.

Sentindo muitos sentimentos, essa obra do padrim Stephen me fez viajar por um mundo totalmente diferente do qual estou acostumado. Lidei com uma história que muitas vezes me fez pensar sobre o significado da vida e da morte, e é exatamente esse tipo de estética em um livro que me comove, não é apenas uma grandiosa história, há também vários elementos sobre o sentido de nossa vida sendo questionados.

Como tenho costume de sempre ler antes de dormir, cheguei a ter momentos de pesadelo em meus sonos mais profundos (minha noiva pode confirmar isso), mas não é nem sobre eu estar sentindo algum tipo de medo ou terror sobre a história ali abordada, é mais sobre a forma como a escrita consegue me transportar para aquele universo, tanto que quando parava de ler, tinha dificuldades para me livrar daquela angústia e tensão que carregava no desenrolar da história, era um sentimento que permanecia durante todos os dias até eu de fato terminar esta leitura.

Dito isso, eu aqui neste momento, consagro minha nota diante deste exímio público da live e desta mulher ao meu lado, para mim este cemitério estava mais para inteirotério de tão fascinante que achei a história, porém, todavia, entretanto, não obstante, ainda assim, contudo, apesar disso, não equidistante, alguns detalhes no final não me apeteceram tanto, o que me faz sancionar o total de 4,7 célebres edilikes.

Obrigado pela companhia nesta resenha, me siga no tiktek @editheusreviewsforgoodreadersofliteratury e também no meu clubhouse, um beijão a todes
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 9 books862 followers
October 15, 2019
Stephen King's legacy will be vast, I have no doubt. We'll still read him hundreds of years from now, just as we have with Poe and Dickens and many others. Of all his master works, however, I take the somewhat unpopular stance that Pet Sematary is his magnum opus. Re-reading it now only confirms this opinion.

When I first read Pet Sematary (I couldn't have been older than 13) I knew right away that it was more than a typical scary story. For one, it made me feel decades older. Wiser. More entuned to human nature. King never shies away from character, but he really digs deep with Louis Creed. There are numerous novels that portray death well (James Agee's A Death in the Family is superb) but fittingly enough, it's this gothic horror novel that illustrates it best. Death isn't pretty and surviving it can be just as grotesque. Pet Sematary gives all of this to us, and more. Much more than we want to see. But maybe we need to see it to understand.

We often scream at characters in horror movies for doing stupid things (WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE YOU IDIOT!?) and arguably Louis Creed does some stupid things in this book. King adds supernatural influence as justification, but let's be honest - no justification is needed. Creed and his decisions are as relatable as they are tragic, which is something never quite accomplished--not on the same level at least--with Jack Torrance or Annie Wilkes or Carrie White. Not dissing those other books, I'm a fan boy for them too, but it's why I think Pet Sematary is King's greatest achievement.

For those interested in reading this one, for the first time or 20th, I highly recommend the new audio version narrated by Michael C. Hall. His outstanding performance enriches the novel in ways I hadn't noticed before.
Profile Image for Emma.
970 reviews956 followers
August 13, 2020
Not sure exactly what didn't work for me on this much-later reread. This used to be one of my favourite King books, but I think i've fallen out with his style.

Serious love for the Indian burial ground bringing animals and people back wrong, from Church the cat dirty with blood and grave earth, to little boy Gage 'mummy i've got a present for you'. And yet it felt long. This would have been a punchy short story, less of the narrator's Doctor skills and more dead things. The final 10% is just right, fear and crying and death. The rest is no action and all build up, but written in that irreverant King style that used to be my thing but now felt like it stood in the way of suspense rather than adding to it.

Not only that, if you've got a road at the end of your garden with bloody great trucks zooming past all day and night, build a fence or keep ahold of your animals and children, you parental failures.

So in order to ruin (potentially) another old friend, i'm going to pick up The Dark Halfand see whether it's the style, the plot, or me. Wish me well.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,504 reviews732 followers
June 20, 2022
A young family move to a place where there is a Pet Sematary which may or may not give you everything you want, at a cost. A very dark tale that creeps up on you. There is a key 'spoiler' in the narration, yet it somehow works really well, double shocking the reader first with the 'spoiler' and then the reality.

King manages the suspense in this story perfectly, taking the family and the reader down into a spiral of pain and despair! A truly haunting best seller for us Constant Readers. Stephen King casts his horror spectacles on the subject of grief using an idyllic house, near the Pet Semetary and a busy road. One of his greats? 9 out of 12. You will feel this one!

2016 read; 2008 read
Profile Image for Sr3yas.
223 reviews996 followers
March 27, 2018
I read The Shining, my first Stephen King book back in summer of 2016 and was absolutely blown away by it. Since then I've been reading King's books religiously to find the next masterpiece that could push the limits of a sane mind. Well, It took me two years and eleven more King's books to find it, and on the way, I met many great contenders like Pennywise, Barlow and George Stark. But it was Pet Sematary and the horrors that paid a visit to the small family in Ludlow that finally won me over.

❝ The soil of a man's heart is stonier, Louis. A man grows what he can, and he tends it. 'Cause what you buy, is what you own. And what you own... always comes home to you.❞



Louis Creed and his family have just moved from Chicago to the small town of Ludlow. They moved because Louis got appointed as Director of University of Maine's health services. They settle in their house quite nicely. The house big and cozy, and Louis quickly becomes friends with Jud and his wife, their elderly neighbors. His wife Rachel, and two young children, Ellie and Gage is happy. Even Ellie's cat Church is happy! The only tiny problem is the highway road dividing Louis's house and Jud's house, where speeding trucks travels relentlessly...


Oh, There is also the matter of Pet Sematary: an old ground where pet owners bury their faithful dead pets.



Also, the old Indian legends...

The mysterious land with a peculiar hold on people....

A secret and forbidden climb...

Don't look back...

*Shakes head*

Did I space out? I spaced out, didn't I?!



First of all, Mr. King? That man got some serious guts. He based the premise and characters for this novel from his own life while he was teaching at the University of Maine. There are too many parallels between what actually happened in King's life and what he wrote in his novel. I think that's the reason he calls this book as his scariest book.

It's too damn personal.

Pet Sematary scared me not the way other horror novels or movies scare people. Pet semetery is not about jump scares or other worldly creatures instilling terror upon our sad species For me, Pet semetery worked because King makes the characters feel like your own family, fill you with care and love for them, and then asks you the question: What will you do If you were standing where Louis is standing? Will you climb or stand your ground?

As usual, King characters are well crafted and full of life. The bromance between Jud and Louis is endearing, and Louis's young daughter Elle and toddler Gage are delightful. The story also boasts a lot of strong secondary characters, and King scores big with a perfect cast.

My favorite part of entire novel is in the first half itself when Louis and Jud take the nocturnal excursion to the woods. That sequence had the right amount of creepiness, mystery and a haunting beauty. I kept on imagining unusually bright stars standing still and looking down at Louis and Jud as a chilly wind blew across the woods; A daunting dreamy quality to the whole affair. Weirdly, I kept on thinking that Guillermo del Toro will be able to do great things with this sequence! Later on, I found out that del Toro was actually in talks to make a remake of Pet Sematary, but the project fell through.

I'll be honest here. I was stuck between not wanting to read the novel because it was too painful and at the same time, I was unable to put it down because the writing was too damn mesmerizing. King once again excels in horror department because of the way he crafts the unfathomable pull of the Pet Sematary. It's the intangibility of the horror that I found beautiful.

Another reason for my perfect rating is the ending. It was flawless.



Overall, Pet Sematary has everything I wanted, and my hunt for next perfect story in Stephen King's shelves continues with renewed energy!

Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
January 3, 2020
I first read this book when I was about twelve and thought it was really scary. But I had since forgotten absolutely everything about it other than what everyone already knows about the basic premise of Pet Sematary. It was this recent post on the B&N blog that convinced me to read it again. With a few exceptions, I'm actually a big fan of Stephen King and it seemed about time to get reacquainted with his "scariest" work.

And... well, I was disappointed. The story holding this book up is still an excellent one, but today the idea felt more chilling than the actual execution. In fact, everything about this book felt really quite dated. From the scares that were not-so-scary compared to, say, Netflix's Marianne (a Stephen King recommendation, to be honest), to the way Louis spoke about the women around him.

I usually enjoy King's meandering style of over-description and slow build-up through detailed characterization, but here the characters grated on me. I struggled to keep my attention on the pages as we followed Louis Creed through his daily life as a doctor. Rachel was irritatingly twee, too.

King's books are usually something like 20% horror and 80% character drama, which usually works really well for me, but it failed here because of my disinterest in said characters.

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