Review: Pet Sematary

Pet SemetaryPet Sematary
By Stephen King
(Pocket Books, Mass Market Paperback, 9780743412278, 2001, 576pp.)

The Short of It:

Probably one of King’s best.

The Rest of It:

In my late teens, early twenties, I somehow managed to read Pet Sematary twice. I think I read it a second time, right before the movie came out. I remember it being appropriately scary but not overly so. To compare, IT, to this day, is still his scariest book ever but anytime death is involved and you try to change things, you are really grabbing the bull by the horns and things just can’t go well when you try to do that with death. Trust me.

After Louis Creed accepts a position as a university doctor, he and his wife Rachel buy a house in the country and look forward to raising their two small children, Ellie and Gage, in the beauty of God’s kingdom. Except, there is a pesky road that is the main through-way for trucks getting from point A to point B. Across the way, are their elderly neighbors, the Crandalls and oh, let’s not forget the Pet Sematary, which is really the smaller part of an Indian burial ground and which just so happens to be on their property.

Indian burial ground. Yep.

As you can probably guess, that busy road becomes a very important part of the story, as does the Pet Sematary, which is spelled that way because that is how a child chose to spell it years and years ago. The story reads quickly, because once you get to a certain point, you really can’t stop reading as you must know how it all turns out.

As you may recall above, I didn’t think the book was overly scary when I read it in my twenties but that was before kids. Reading it recently, I couldn’t  help but flashback to those times when my kids hurt themselves or how afraid I was of hurting them accidentally. Really, just recognizing how fragile they were. Well, the experience of parenthood adds some additional terror to the mix. For sure.

I read this for the #gangstercats read-along so I definitely had the support of others, which always makes reading a book like this a lot more fun. Plus, we got party favors too! There’s nothing like a good King discussion to bring people together. There was some interest in maybe watching the movie while live tweeting, so if that happens, you’ll hear about it soon.

Pet Sematary Read Along

King’s new book Finders Keepers comes out in June but what shall we read next?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

20 thoughts on “Review: Pet Sematary”

  1. I did read PET SEMATARY years and years ago. Back in the days when if Steve wrote it, I read it. My first King book was ‘SALEM’S LOT, which i read in college. My all time favorite is THE STAND. This one came out as I was beginning to shift away from his books. I went and looked and it was published for the first time in 1983. By then, I had a little girl and life was happening. I think the last book of his I read right after it came out was IT (also a favorite). I remember when MISERY came out, I quit, mostly. 🙂

    1. After reading everything King had out, I turned to Dean Koontz. Dean’s older stuff was so freakin’ awesome but he’s been struggling in recent years. His books are just too formulaic and shallow for me to keep reading. Hurts my heart to say that because I really, really loved his earlier works.


  2. Hm. I can’t quite remember how many times I read this, though I know that I went through a Stephen King phase in my late teens and sometimes Mom would find one of his books under my pillow… Lol 🙂 Great review.

    1. I spent a lot of my early college years reading King until 2-3 in the morning, and then my friends would see my light on, throw a pebble at the window, and we’d all go for chili fries. Such memories.


  3. Oh, I so wish I could have joined in the fun with this one! It’s one I passed on in my early King reading binge and it never really seemed to grab me. But now…

  4. I gather I would’ve been scared senseless, from the #gangstercats updates you guys posted. Maree said it was a book you put in the freezer. I might not have taken it back out! You know I’m chicken shit lol

    1. That is hard for me to believe. You? Chicken shit? No way. You’d read that puppy and put it to bed. Some day. Some day.


  5. I feel so far behind! But I’m hoping to get another good chunk read tomorrow. I read IT last month. I found it super super intense (I had to stop listening to it in audio and switch to ebook) but not scary, so I have a feeling it will be the same for Pet Sematary.

  6. I was wondering if parents would find it creepier than non-parents…that whole what if factor. I must say I was also glad I don’t own a cat…not sure I would’ve been able to have a cat looking at me while I read it. Kind of like the paranoia that The Stand induced if you even sniffled why reading it. Or if you saw a clown or storm drain during IT.

    1. When I listened to IT for the IT Along, I did so while walking in the early morning hours and let me tell you, I paid attention to all of those gutters/sewer grates.  As a parent, I had nightmares about leaving my kid’s car seat on top of the car or on the ground behind me so the vulnerability of young children and how fragile they really are is what I kept thinking about while reading Pet Sematary. 

  7. Out of his scary books, this is one of my favorites (11/22/63 and Under the Dome are my favorites of his “non-scary”). IT really plays with all things that are inherently frightening–that opening scene where the boy is walking down to the basement and he can FEEL something down there…I’ve felt that feeling a million times in my life. We also have a storm drain right in front of our house and everytime one of the girls gets close I yell NO! PENNYWISE! 🙂 #goodmom

    I get what you’re saying as a parent…but I still think Louis was CRAZY. Though not sure I have any interest in watching the movie. 🙂

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