Cujo by Stephen King

Publication Date: 8th September 1981
Genre: Horror
Pages: 432
My Review: ★★★
Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads


Outside a peaceful town in central Maine, a monster is waiting. Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. One day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole—a cave inhabited by sick bats. What happens to Cujo, how he becomes a horrifying vortex inexorably drawing in all the people around him makes for one of the most heart-stopping novels Stephen King has written. 


Cujo was a rather good read, not one of my favourite King reads, but it was enjoyable either way, especially as I went into it not knowing anything about the storyline, aside from the fact that Cujo gets rabies and becomes a bad dog. The concept is what drew me in because I’m so used to King writing about monsters and ghosts and other evil things, that I was pretty excited to see how scary he could make a rabid dog. Spoiler alert: pretty scary!

Donna and her young son, Tad, are stuck in her broken down car for the majority of the book while her husband, Vic, is away on a business trip as a last attempt to try and save his company. Cujo, who turns rabid pretty early on, is determined to get Donna and Tad, convinced that they hurt him and caused him the pain he is experiencing. It is incredibly uncomfortable to read about the effects of hunger, dehydration and heat stroke on the main characters, especially as Tad is so young, and like most of King’s books, it is the little things that really make his books horrifying.

Charity and her son Brett, the owners of Cujo, are away visiting her sister on a rare trip while her husband, Joe, stays behind. Brett is convinced that there is something wrong and begins to sleepwalk, miming feeding Cujo and Charity grows concerned. She knows the dog looked a little sick before they left so calls into a neighbour to check on him.

I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil anything, but that’s the gist of the book. You get to experience different point of views, including Cujo who seems to try and battle the rabies before becoming too weak to fight it off. It’s pretty sad to read about him thinking about how much he loves his owners before his thoughts turn evil, especially as a dog owner myself.

Like most of his books, King tends to add details that don’t seem entirely necessary but, after a while, you have established a strong foundation that really transports you into the novel. You get to know the characters and their backgrounds, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the straining relationships between them. The characters, as usual, really make the story and you are rooting for Donna and Tad the whole way, praying that help comes to save them from Cujo.

Overall, I rated this book 3 and a half stars. I would definitely recommend this book to King fans or even people who want to get into his work. It is relatively short and only took me three evenings to read. It is a gripping horror that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I for one can’t look at a Saint Bernard the same again.

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