14 August, 2011

So, I Finally Read Something By Stephen King

As I mentioned I was planning to do in THIS POST (based on comments HERE) I read Pet Sematary by Stephen King.

Let's break it down:


Part One

I found the plot for Part One rather slow. I plodded through some tension, read through the events that made me wonder what their significance was supposed to be, and generally hoped things would get moving.

The story starts out with a "Pet Sematary" where children have buried their pets for centuries. The main character senses something strange about his family's new home and the neighbors warn the family about the surrounding forest. A strong enough beginning . . . but then nothing happens for a while.

I expected the first death, and expected there to be consequences, but there were none immediately apparent. Just foreboding and foreshadowing, but nothing really happened to the main character or his family. Then it started to kick into gear, but that fizzled, too, until another plot twist--which I had kind of been waiting for.

Part Two

Based on previous events, it was clear what the MC was going to do. Less clear were the horrible consequences and how the twisted logic was going to go.

Part Three

There was no conclusion to the story. That's what really bothered me about the plot of Pet Sematary--there was no conclusion to events. People die, the MC gets worse, the situation deteriorates. And then the book ends. It was rather unsatisfying.


This was what I really wanted to get to. You can hardly go anywhere without seeing the name Stephen King, so I wanted to find out what made his writing so popular and if I would like it.

I found it . . . interesting. Interesting in the sense that it doesn't really strike me as spectacular. That's not to say it's bad writing, at all--it's effective (though I do think he could have cut down on Part One and consolidated things a bit). But there are writing styles I find much more attractive, so my thoughts on his writing are mostly *shrug*.

On the overall Horror-ness:

I don't read much Horror, so I can't really say how this compares. Several of the scenes in this one were disturbing--but they didn't give me nightmares or any of that sort. :P


I was a little disappointed in Pet Sematary, since there's all the hype around Stephen King's books. The plot was slow (predictable in places) and the writing didn't amaze me. I don't particularly recommend it, though it's not a terrible book or anything.

I do plan on reading The Stand, however, despite my thoughts on Pet Sematary, since that was the most popular book based on the number of comments it got in my previous post. (It's already in my library stack of TBR . . . and gosh, it's huge. I took out the Complete & Uncut edition, since that's the one they had.)


Have you read Pet Sematary? If so, what did you think of it?

-----The Golden Eagle


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Pet Sementary is one King book I never read. I did like The Stand.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I didn't recommend that one. The movie was even worse.

Rusty Webb said...

Never read that one either. I may have seen the movie. I think reading his book On Writing is required reading for anyone who wants to be writer though.

Heather said...

I wasn't a fan of that book. However, The Stand is one of my favorite novels. Stephen's style isn't for everyone though and The Stand is long and wordy at times.

li said...

Not really a fan of horror, or King. I did read Carrie and Cujo in high school, and I think they were OK - for high school. The Tommyknockers had a unique plot, I thought. I started IT but it scared me, so I quit :-) Good luck with The Stand, it is quite a tome.

Deborah Walker said...

I read it, maybe 20 years ago. So I can't remember *laughs* not much help. But you know what, I think I'll join you in reading The Stand. I've got it somewhere on my shelf, and I'd like to take a look at it with my writers' eye. We can compare notes.

Rob-bear said...

I haven't read anything by King. You've given me good reason not to read him.

Michael Offutt said...

I think you should read "The Shining". I never read Pet Semetary. It just seemed like one I wouldn't be interested in.

Orchid said...

I gave this one a shot earlier in the year and couldn't even bring myself to finish it because it bored me.
So far the only King book I've read and liked was Fire-Starter.

Good luck with The Stand; I'll be curious to see what you think of it. =)

The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

That 20 Something Virgin. said...

i haven't read it, but i've always wanted to read misery. or at least see the movie of it (but it's never the same...i still want to read it!)

Marlena Cassidy said...

I didn't like Pet Semetary and ended up skipping to the end. It really was too slow.

The Shining, while incredibly long, is better and a better representative of King's style. Carrie and 'Salem's Lot are also some of my favorites by him, but that's it really. I never quite understood his hype either, especially with his new works.

Old Kitty said...

Salem's Lot!!! I so recommend Salem's Lot! Ahem.

Pet Semetary even as a film wasn't that good. Ok it was pretty awful! As awful as the one about the haunted car, Christine I think! Did he write that too? The film was terrible!!

Take care

Jemi Fraser said...

I've only read 2 Stephen King books - The Shining & Carrie. Both of them scared the pants off me. I had nightmares for years and never read another horror book! :)

mooderino said...

The issues you had with Pet Semetary basically apply to all his books (and often to a greater extent).

i think you can usually see there's a good idea in there, and some very memorable scenes crop up, but the style and the general pacing tend to be not very good.

Thing is though, when you connect with one of his protagonists you get sucked in hard and you can ride the excess very easily. But he indulges himself a lot and expects the reader to go with it, which can be frustrating if you're not so inclined.

Also i think he doesn't listen to editors very much anymore.

Moody Writing

Carole Anne Carr said...

Never been a fan of such writing, would probably keep me awake at night. :0)

Francine Howarth said...


I'm not a Stephen King fan: full stop.

He does horror. Cliche type horror - kind of revamped old style horror written back in the fifties. The time when SK was growing up and probably reading gruesome books with a torch under the bedclothes. ;)


KarenG said...

He has written some pretty bad books, maybe Pet Sematary is one of them? I still cast my vote for Misery. It is very well done. I ended up speed reading through the Stand just to get to the end. Thought it was too preachy. And much too long!

Anonymous said...

This was the first and last King book I read. For some reason it left me feeling ill for weeks, a reaction I don't think any other book has ever given me. I did try to read a fantasy novel that King co-wrote with someone else but found it dull and didn't finish it.

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I have all of Stephen King's books (yes, even the non-fiction titles), and Pet Sematary was a fave in my twenties, but now I might consider it rather a yawner (although there are some great moments that would keep me wanting to read). The Stand, however, is definitely one of his best. Also, if you like fantasy, his Dark Tower series is pretty good. Don't give up on him; he has many different styles, not all of them straight horror.

Christine Rains said...

It wasn't one of my favorite books of King's either. The Stand, on the other hand, is fantastic. Long and a huge cast, but King is the king of characterization. Heh.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

I enjoy Stephen King's books because he has a way of showing the different sides of human nature. Each of his characters have such depth.

Now, I never read Pet Cemetary, mainly because the storyline didn't interest me. However, I loved Salem's Lot and The Shining. Also, Thinner, Needful Things and The Green Mile were excellent. Didn't enjoy The Stand. I thought the characters were over the top, and there were pages of unnecessary exposition.

As a fan, I wouldn't recommend The Stand, try any of the others I've mentioned and I think you'll understand the reason so many people enjoy King's books.

As a writer, I strive to create characters as dynamic as those in his books.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've read and been impressed with many books by King, but I never read this one.

If you get The Stand, try to get the old one. The updated version has over 100k new words added. If it was hailed in the first version, that's good enough for me.

Rogue Mutt said...

That's what you get for not listening to me.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I love that you reviewed Pet Sematary. As you mentioned, there is so much hype about Stephen King's books. I have yet to read one.

Alleged Author said...

THE STAND and IT showcase his writing abilities the best (though I do think quite a bit of THE REGULATORS as well). :)

Gail said...

The Stand is my favorite. Next The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordan...a short lengthed very non-Kingish story. The third Duma Key, one of his more recent.

I am a King fan and he spends more time in the minds of the characters(The Shining) then in action but something has kept me coming back.

Just as when you read many of the same author, I am able to choose his mid-life crisis book, his religious exploration, his horny stage, and his deeper more thought filled books. I find many long and but there is always excitement and horror and sometimes just gore.

The Stand made sense to me as a possibility of times coming. To dream collectively the same dream and to be drawn toward those dreams fascinated me...that is all I will say. Every part is vital to The Stand...characters are important...there are heroes and villians and ordinary problems along with extraordinary problems and solutions.

Enjoy your adventure into King-dom, with the right book, you will not be disappointed.

Jessica Bell said...

I've never read any Stephen King. Have been thinking about it too. Many people say I should. But I tend to shy away from the "popular" authors. I'm a bit of a stick in the mud that way :o) I'm guessing I should continue to stay away ...

linda said...

I've never read anything by Stephen King either! But then I have a strong distaste for horror films and books, so I don't think I will be checking out his books any time soon.

Naina Gupta said...

The only book I have read by King is the Green Mile. It's not scary, but sad and beautiful, and we all love the idea of miracles.

Simon Kewin said...

I'm afraid I've only read one King book - and that was his On Writing. That's a good book, for sure, but I'm generally pretty indifferent to horror as a genre.

Anonymous said...

I read it back in high school. It wasn't my favorite book of his, but I still liked it. Honestly, I didn't know what to think of the ending. The library book I had on loan had the last page ripped out. I was bummed out about this.

My favorite book of his is The Eyes of the Dragon. The Tommyknockers, The Stand, and The Gunslinger are also fantastic.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I've never read Pet Semetary. Sorry it was disappointing for you. I have read a couple other of King's works, and The Stand is different somehow - richer, maybe. It is a huge honking undertaking, but I think it's worth it. (And getting the complete, uncut version is the best way to go. The original publication leaves important stuff out.)

Jules said...

Not a big fan of King, more a Hitchcock fan when it comes to horror. I don't read it, I live alone and have a ghost. No need to add to the imagination. :)

I'm late due to storms.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Anonymous said...

I felt the same about Cujo. That was my first Stephen King book. Well, there are other great books out there to read. Have you tried Dean Koontz? False memories was an excellent read.

....Petty Witter said...

Perhaps not the best book to start with, I read it many moons ago and wouldn't have recommended it though my sister loves it.

May I suggest you give Needful Things a look, one of the few SK books I really enjoyed it, I'd love to know what you thought of it.

Charles Gramlich said...

the most powerful thing about Pet Semetary was the love that came out between the father and his son, and the grief the father felt. I thought that part was very well done.

Budd said...

Pet Semetary wasn't really one of his scary ones or one of his great ones. I enjoyed it. Did you notice all the mentions of clocks and time. That motif worked well with what the story was about. he is a slow plodding author that sets up everything and his writing is very detailed.

To get scared: Salem's Lot. To get drawn into the story: The Stand.

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: Well, now you know my thoughts on it. :P

I hope I like it . . .

Alex: I won't be watching the movie, then!

Rusty: I really have to read that book. It sounds like a great writing resource.

Heather: It is rather big. :P

Li: I've heard It is supposed to be scary; not sure I'll be trying that one soon. LOL.


Deborah: Sounds good to me. :)

Rob-bear: I don't think his books are for everyone--and (if I go by this book) not for me, either.

Michael: It's related to The Stand, isn't it?

Orchid: I almost put it down . . . but decided to forge on ahead anyway. It wasn't like I was in a big rush to get to something else.

Thanks! :)

That 20 Something Virgin: I don't think I'll be watching many of the movies made of Stephen King's books; novels are okay, but horror movies are not my thing. :P

Marlena: I always though King was a relatively new writer (as in, past 10-20 years) but I guess not . . . LOL.

Old Kitty: I will have to remember that title. :)

Yup, he wrote that one--I'm sorry to hear the one about the car was terrible. I actually like the idea of a haunted car. LOL.

Jemi: Years? Er, I'm not sure if I want to be scared for that long . . . :P

Mooderino: That's the impression I got from Pet Sematary. I did find myself compelled to keep reading, even though I found it slow.

Carole: I though this book might keep me up . . . but other than remembering a few scenes before I fell asleep, it didn't even give me bad dreams. :P

Francine: LOL. Well, how else would he get that kind of imagination? :)

KarenG: I suspect I might do some speed reading through The Stand, myself; particularly since it's a long book.

Mark Noce said...

Neat, thanks for the synopsis. I too have yet to read anything by Stephen King (I know it's unheard of), but glad to know I wasn't the only one:)

Laila Knight said...

I have a ton of Stephen King books laying around. What particularly stood out about this story is that I couldn't figure out why the main character would stick a pin up the cat's ass...I mean who does that? I think that eventhough King's books are horror, they center more on the weirdness of psyche. I like the movies better. :) The Green Mile was one of King's. It was great.

The Golden Eagle said...

Austrodavicus: There is a disturbing element to the book.

Julie: Wow. That must be a lot of books! :)

I do like Fantasy; I've heard good things about The Dark Tower Series as well.

Christine: I did find his characters realistic in Pet Sematary; though I didn't really like the MC.

Andrea: Hmmm. I do plan to read The Stand next--but I think I will try others of his books afterward, whether or not I like it.

I love finding books that inspire me like that. :)

Theresa: I ended up with the longer version . . . it's the one the library had on the shelf. :P But I might try to see if I can request the shorted one.

Rogue Mutt: I had to go with something. But it looks like The Green Mile is popular with people in this thread . . . it's on my list of King's books.

Cynthia: Glad you liked it. :)

I just wanted to find out why people were so enthusiastic about his writing. I have yet to see why by now. :P

Alleged: I'm looking forward to digging in to The Stand soon; I hope it's good!

Gail: I actually came across a pop-up version of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon at my library; I have yet to read the actual novel, but I did like the plot. :)

I love reading books that show the change in the author; it's interesting to compare.

Thank you! :)

Jessica: I'll let you know if I come across a book I like--maybe one of his books will appeal to you.

Linda: Well, Horror's not for everyone; not usually for me, either, but I wanted to find out about Stephen King's writing.

Naina: It sounds like an interesting book!

Simon: I have to read On Writing sometime.

Medeia: The last page was ripped out? That's awful. I would throw the book across the room in frustration if I found a book with the last page gone. :P

Thanks for the suggestions!

B.E.: I though it might be . . . though it is rather long. I thought that if they cut out 150k, they were bound to have lost some information in there. :P

Jules: There is enough horror and adventure in real life, sometimes.

Storms?! I hope you're safe!

Stephen: Nope, never read anything by Dean Koontz . . . but he's another author to try sometime. :)

Tracy: It's on my list of books recommended; I'll check it out after The Stand--assuming it doesn't completely repel me by the ned. :P

Charles: I agree. That part was good, if tragic.

Budd: No, I don't think I noticed that part . . . but thinking back, it would fit in well with the overall idea of the story.

Looks like I'll be reading the one that draws me in. ;)

The Golden Eagle said...

Mark: You're welcome! :)

Laila: True. He does get disturbing across. :P

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I never read Pet Cemetery, because I have this thing about loving animals and I'm not sure I could handle it. :) But I think what I love about Stephen King's writing is pretty much what you said - it's not spectacular. It really feels like he's a regular guy sharing this story with me over a cup of coffee. I love it. :)

David Powers King said...

I haven't read Pet Cemetery. I have read The Dark Tower series. Those are great, even different from his usual novels.

Clarissa Draper said...

I haven't read this book but I have read the Stand it was great. I'm not a fan of horror so I try to stay away.

Carol Kilgore said...

I didn't read Pet Sematary. I'm not a huge King fan because most of his books are so scary I stop reading early on. But the few I have completed I liked. Unfortunately, I don't recall titles. Sigh.

Carrie Butler said...

I'm not a fan of horror, so I haven't read that one. I caught part of the movie years ago. Eek! Not my thing, at all.

Have a great week! :)

Talli Roland said...

I read this book ages ago, and I can't say it thrilled me. It did scare me, though!

The Golden Eagle said...

Bethany: I don't like seeing animals hurt, either; but the "Sematary" itself is mostly graves, no animals.

Good point. :)

David: I saw those at the library--I might try them sometime.

Clarissa: Me, neither; though (obviously) I will read some now and then, if I'm in the mood for it.

Carol: Pet Sematary disturbed me, but it didn't really scare me as much as I thought it would--maybe I just haven't run into his scarier works. :P

Carrie: I don't plan on watching the movie--books are okay, but horror movies really aren't my thing!

Thanks! Hope you do, too. :)

Talli: It didn't really do either to me--hopefully I'll feel differently about The Stand.

Ty Johnston said...

I think some it has to do with trends and generational expectations. No, I'm not an old man screaming "everything was better back in ye olden days." But for the time he was coming out, mid 70s to early 80s, King was concerned quite the terse writer. In general, I think mainstream novels are even more tight today, thus affecting readers' expectations. And I think the Internet has had its effect on our attention spans as well, leaving us with different expectations.

Milo James Fowler said...

I'm reading Under the Dome right now, almost 30% through it on Gizmo, and it's got me hooked. As far as King's earlier works, you've got to check out The Gunslinger. Holy cow, it's good.

The Golden Eagle said...

Ty: Interesting point. It does seem (to me, anyway) that attention spans are shorter now than they were before. The Internet is certainly targeted at an audience with a short attention span.

Milo: Glad to hear you're enjoying it! :)

Thanks for the recommendation.