52 Book Challenge: Cujo by Stephen King

17 Apr

10603

{Proceed with caution, mild spoilers all up in this bitch}

I will admit this is not the first time I have read Cujo. But it has been 12 years, and about all I remembered from when I picked it up was the ending (of course) and “wow, he sure made getting stuck in a car with a dog outside scary!” In my mind, the entire book took place during the confrontation, which is not the truth at all. Funny how time can warp your perception!

What I had forgotten (or perhaps not picked up on, since I was quite young when I first read Cujo) was how horribly depressing this book is, even without the dog. Everyone leads dreary, dead-end lives that are a constant struggle. Infidelity, spousal abuse, poverty. It’s so fatalistic. I mean, you don’t even need Cujo at all for this to be horror–the mom is almost raped by her ex-lover. It’s a book about how freaking scary real life is, and how none of us are really prepared for it.

Last year I read The Dead Zone, which has a pretty strong tie-in to Cujo. Okay, pretty strong might be overstating it, but there are several references to Frank Dodd, and I can’t help wonder if perhaps Cujo’s rabies are a bit supernatural? It’s certainly not an original idea, and it’s been bounced back and forth for years, but between the mentions of The Dead Zone and Tad’s eerily prescient nightmares it’s hard to totally overrule it as a possibility.

I used to think this was a book about a scary dog. Now I think it’s a book about how scary reality is. It’s not so much Cujo who is the terrifying force her, but the idea that you could be forgotten: your husband not looking for you as hard as he should because of infidelity, neighbors gone because of lottery luck, the guy down the road late to check on you because of AC failure. Even Cujo’s illness is acquired by pure chance, chasing a rabbit down a hole. So many tiny things could go wrong every day of our lives and then BAM you’re trapped in a broken-down car with your dehydrated kid in the middle of high summer while a rabid dog tries to eat you. Or, you know, some other more likely set of horrific circumstances.

Rating

Book 16 Cujo

Lipstick Rating 4 Full

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