To Cujo, the words coming from THE MAN meant nothing. They were meaningless sounds, like the wind. What mattered was the smell coming from THE MAN. It was hot, rank, and pungent. It was the smell of fear. It was maddening and unbearable. He suddenly understood THE MAN had made him sick. He lunged forward, the growl in his chest mounting into a heavy roar of rage.
I’ve re-discovered my love of Stephen Kings’ work and am making a point to read the books of his that I’ve never read. When I look for his books, I am always struck by how many he has written. I have a lot of catching up to do.
This time around, I decided to kick it old school and read a classic. Therefore, I give you Cujo. (No seriously, you can have him. This dog freaks me out.)
Nutshell blurb: Cujo is a 200 lb Saint Bernard who gets bitten by rabid bats. Thus begins his descent into madness. And his mauling of people.
I must say that the body count in this story is surprisingly low, especially for a Stephen King novel. That certainly didn’t keep it from scaring the pants off of me though.
My favourite thing of any King novel is the way he focuses on characters and their interaction rather than on just the blood and guts. There’s a marriage on the rocks due to infidelity, another marriage on the rocks due to domestic violence, a spurned lover who wants revenge all thrown together with a rabid, man-eating dog.
We all know that there is no cure for rabies and that the only way one can deal with a rabid animal is to kill it. Unfortunately, Cujo wasn’t as easy to deal with as Old Yeller.
I did feel sorry for the dog. Before he went rabid he was the gentlest and most loyal dog who would never dream of hurting anyone.
We do get to experience things from Cujo’s point of view occasionally and like any good villain, he has a reason for doing what he does that goes beyond the need for mindless violence. He becomes convinced that people are responsible for making him feel ill which drives a need inside him to kill those people.
This is actually one of those books that I wish I had read in one or two sittings rather than on my commute and during my lunch hour. Let me tell you something folks, it’s hard to leave the break room when someone in your book is trapped in a car by a slavering, blood-thirsty beast and then have to wait until quitting time to pick up the story again. Talk about painful.
A lot of tension came from not knowing who was going to die. No one is safe in a Stephen King novel and you never really know whose number will come up. The end left me feeling sad and a bit antsy. I won’t spoil it in case you haven’t read it but it wasn’t what I expected.
I was also thinking about getting a dog, but perhaps I’ll just leave it for now.