About the Book:
Author: Stephen King
Publish date: August 1, 1982
Pages: 320 (eBook can have different pages)
Cujo is exceptional. This was my introduction to Stephen King; oh, I’d read that story of his about toy soldiers (in 7th grade English class, no less), but this was my 1st real Stephen King experience. It was also my first truly adult novel; there’s some spicy stuff in here, especially when you’re an innocent 12-year-old kid. Steve Kemp, Donna Trenton’s rejected lover, is a cretin. That’s part of the cause why Cujo has always been my least favorite Stephen King novel – until now, that is. Having finally reread this book, I am quite rolled along by the experience. This is King at his most instinctual, his most inexorable, his most spiteful. Dark doesn’t begin to describe this novel.
King has said he does not remember writing very much of this novel, that it was written in an almost continuous drunken haze. It’s sardonic because Cujo is an astonishingly sober read. Perhaps the booze explains the viciousness of the story, but I think not – like any great writer, King lets the story tell itself. What happens at the conclusion of this novel just happens; King doesn’t make it happen. That ending – actually, the whole book – unwraps all kinds of queries about Fate and justice.
The basic groundwork of this novel is a pretty simple one: man vs. nature. In one place, you have a mother fighting for the life of her son as well as herself; in the other place, you have Cujo, a 200 pound St. Bernard, a calm, loving dog who has gone sick – very sick, insanely murderous type of sick. It’s important to realize that there are no villains here, though, only victims. Curiosity killed the cat, but it gave Cujo rabies, and we experience his own doggish mental breakdown as the sickness lays waste to his central nervous system. Cujo would never dream of hurting anyone; the rabies eventually kills the real Cujo, though, and turns his huge doggish body into a terrible killing machine, a very beast from hell itself, the epitome of the dreadful monster in the closet that scares young Tad so much every night in his room. King summons this malicious connection in a brilliantly tangible way, going even farther to tie “the monster” in to the murderous deeds of Frank Dodd – King directly mention events narrated in The Dead Zone, already building the air of the doom-shrouded town of Castle Rock.
So it’s a pretty simple story – yet it’s not simple at all. You mostly have all manner of gripping subplots going on at the same time, somehow coming together to invoke a mind-bogglingly horrible series of events. In other words, this is real life taken to extremes – and there are ogres in real life, oh yes.
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