Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cujo by Stephen King -- A Book Review

Cujo is so well-paced and scary that people tend to read it quickly, so they mostly remember the scene of the mother and son trapped in the hot Pinto and threatened by the rabid Cujo, forgetting the multifaceted story in which that scene is embedded. This is definitely a novel that rewards re-reading. When you read it again, you can pay more attention to the theme of country folk vs. city folk; the parallel marriage conflicts of the Cambers vs. the Trentons; the poignancy of the amiable St. Bernard (yes, the breed choice is just right) infected by a brain-destroying virus that makes it into a monster; and the way the "daylight burial" of the failed ad campaign is reflected in the sunlit Pinto that becomes a coffin. And how significant it is that this horror tale is not supernatural: it's as real as junk food, a failing marriage, a broken-down car, or a fatal virus.

Recently I have had an urge to read some of Stephen King’s work. I set my sights on The Stand first, but after seeing how fat it was I changed my mind. Not that I don’t like fat books…I just wasn’t in the mood for an epic. My sister, Janet, was somewhat of an old-school Stephen King fan and she recommended Cujo.


  1. My Review:
    I found the story to be very captivating. The characters felt real to me that is what you need or you won’t care what happens to them.

    I think one of the themes of the story is about survival in extreme circumstances. Being trapped in a car for 2 ½ - 3 days in over 100 degree weather because of a rabid dog is something extra ordinary, but not unbelievable. It also has to do with fate. What are the chances of the circumstances that leave them there for that long?

    Being a mother I understood Donna’s dilemma. She had a choice stay in the car and hopes someone comes by or run to the door and hope to make it there alive. I couldn’t leave my 4-year-old son by himself. If she had made a run for the door and Cujo attacked Tad would have been witness to his mother’s brutal murder. Not only that but then he would be alone in an over heated car. Since earlier in the book she got caught out cheating she kept thinking this was her punishment. When Vic found out she cheated his first instinct was to take Tad away. He asks himself why he kept thinking he needed to grab his son and leave. It’s because he knew that would hurt her like it hurt him. In the end there son is taken from them having died of heat exhaustion and dehydration. None of Stephen King’s characters are protected.

    I believe that certain things happen to us for a reason. Call it fate or destiny or whatever. Lets use 9/11 for example how many stories came out afterwards of people taking a different route to work that morning or someone going in late because they had an errand to run. It was a choice made by the individual, but what made them make that choice?

  2. I wasn’t completely sure of the connection between the crazed policeman and the rabid dog? Any one??


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