Wow. So this is marked as a favorite, I have only read this one twice. It's a lot to sit through. At times you hope there is going to be a break or some sort of happy ending. Instead we get a book about consequences and things perhaps set in motion by something dark that wanted to ruin a happy family. I have to say that I do love most of King's earlier works. They tend to be more raw and real to me. Pet Sematary made me cry when I read it as a teen and it made me cry again this weekend.
When the Creed family (Louis, Rachel, Ellie, and Gage) move from Chicago to Maine, Louis is hoping that his new position and home will be the beginning of a new start for his family. Moving next to Jud and Nora Crandall, Louis feels like for the first time ever he has a father in his life. The two men become great friends and pass the time having beers together and talking about life and death. When Jud takes the family to a nearby pet cemetery, the first dark tidings start to come out and King gives warnings throughout about what is coming next for the Creed.
All of the characters in this one really work. You end up having sympathy and sadness for everyone that you read about. Most of the story really focuses on Louis since he is the one that is starting to be warned about what is coming next for his family. But the book shifts at times to Rachel and Jud.
The writing is so good in this one as is the flow. Some of the stories that Jud tells Louis feel a bit long, but all are important to get to the larger part of the story.
The setting of this one is Maine. I swear based on all the goings on in King's books, I have maybe unconsciously stayed away from that state. King has a way of describing the inhabitants and locations with such description you often at times feel as if you are walking with Louis across the deadfall to the "true" burial ground.
I think the saddest thing about this whole book is that if the family had been able to actually talk about death and what it means without Rachel reacting so badly to it, perhaps Louis wouldn't have done what he did throughout the book. He wanted to make things good for his little girl and then wanted to make things right for his family. At one point he just goes past the point of no return and you are just forced to read until the very end. I always wondered why King didn't refer to the Creed family again in any of his other Castle Rock books since they seemed to very close to Jerusalem's Lot and the location of Cujo based on remarks made in this book.
This book is in my top five favorite of King's works. In order of my favorite it is:
1. Bag of Bones (last book I read with my dad and holds a place in my heart because of that)
3. The Drawing of the Three
4. Lisey's Story
5. Pet Sematary