CUJO | Stephen King
02.20.2018 (first published 1981) | Gallery Books
Rating: 3/5 stars
Cujo used to be a big, friendly Saint Bernard who was loveable and loyal to his family and everyone around him. He always strived his hardest to be a good dog. All that ends when a nearly 200 pound Cujo chases after a rabbit that leads him to shoving his head into a hole in the ground. Within this hole is a small cave that a rabid bat calls home. A rabid bat whose bite will change Cujo’s life forever. Overcome with sickness Cujo cannot stop himself from wanting to hurt people he comes into contact with. No one in his path is safe.
CUJO takes place over the course of a handful of days as a dog slowly dissolves into madness thanks to a rabies bite. The story focuses on Cujo and two families: his owners and a family that will fall victim to his rage. Each family comes equipped with their own set of issues between the mother, father, and son comprising them. King goes into great detail in an attempt to outline a before and after for these families and how their lives are impacted by what happens to Cujo.
The pacing of CUJO is slow, but methodical, with King allowing the reader to live out the days leading up to and during the attacks for each of the family members. These details truly helped to immerse me into the lives of the families and become invested in what was going to happen to each of the members. There are clear characters to be disliked in this story and it was fun to feel annoyed and frustrated over them while reading CUJO.
I found CUJO to be a story that is heavy on the details, but sparse on the actual intensity and dread that I have become accustomed to feeling with many of King’s books. While the scenes with Cujo in full attack mode are certainly unsettling and stressful, I simply found them few and far between. I found myself bored with the pacing of the story towards the second half as I waited for something to happen. I see CUJO as much more of a slow burn story about fear and our reactions to fear than an intense thrilling story, which many may be expecting.
This one is a middle of the road King for me that left me wanting a whole lot more than I received.
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.