Rating: 1.5 Stars ★★☆☆☆
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.
Cujo is a huge Saint Bernard dog, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. Then one day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole. Except it isn’t a rabbit warren any more. It is a cave inhabited by rabid bats.
And Cujo falls sick. Very sick. And the gentle giant who once protected the family becomes a vortex of horror inexorably drawing in all the people around him . . .
I think this book would have made an amazing short story but as a novel… it just didn’t work.
My main problem was that the core of the story, the interesting bit, just didn’t stretch to the ~500 pages this novel is long. And the core story is pretty interesting: A dog is bitten by rabid bats but his illness goes unnoticed for a while.
He was a Saint Bernard in his prime, five years old, nearly two hundrerd pounds in weight and now, on the morning of June 16, 1980, he was pre-rabid.
Until he starts attacking people. A woman and her four-year old find themselves trapped in the middle of nowhere in a car that won’t start, with a rabid dog outside waiting for them.
Suddenly she didn’t want to run for the porch door until she could see that there was nothing lurking in frint of the car. Then, yes. Okay. But… just to make sure.
She took one step. Two. Three.
Cujo got ready. His eyes glowed in the darkness.
So that’s the cool part. The rest of the book however is just endless filler. Not even interesting filler. Donna Trenton had an affair with a crazy guy called Steve. He tells her husband and long stretches are about what it means for their relationship. Her husband, Vic, is an advertising guy about to lose a big client and we get endless pages about the client (a cereal company) and what they do and how they’ll try to win them back and yaddayaddayadda, so not interesting.
Feeling jealous of Vic because his life was a daily struggle to build something, he was a knight-errant with a family crest embossed on his shield, and her life was back here, getting Tad through the day, jollying him when he was cranky, listening to his raps, fixing his meals and snacks. It was a life lived in the trenches. Too much of it was waiting and listening.
Then there’s the owners of Cujo. The wife goes away with her son and it’s basically a lot of thinking about her life and how it turned out that way and how to stop her son from becoming like her alcoholic husband.
All of that takes up a bulk of the book and it’s just really not interesting.
Would have worked better as a short story.