Cujo is so well-paced and scary that people tend to read it quickly, so they mostly remember the scene of the mother and son trapped in the hot Pinto and threatened by the rabid Cujo, forgetting the multifaceted story in which that scene is embedded. This is definitely a novel that rewards re-reading. When you read it again, you can pay more attention to the theme of country folk vs. city folk; the parallel marriage conflicts of the Cambers vs. the Trentons; the poignancy of the amiable St. Bernard (yes, the breed choice is just right) infected by a brain-destroying virus that makes it into a monster; and the way the "daylight burial" of the failed ad campaign is reflected in the sunlit Pinto that becomes a coffin. And how significant it is that this horror tale is not supernatural: it's as real as junk food, a failing marriage, a broken-down car, or a fatal virus.
Let's set the scene...
Max: Oh look, I've been out ring shopping all day.
Rory: Ring shopping. Very interesting.
Max: Now I've narrowed it down to three different rings, but I want to get her something she's really gonna like, not just something that she tells me she likes but really hates, and you know her taste in jewelry better than I do, so I thought maybe you could give me some advice.
Rory: Okay, well, anything with the word "Foxy" on it is a big crowd pleaser.
Max: Oh, maybe for our first anniversary.
Rory: Okay, I'm listening.
Max: Okay. The first ring has a gold band and sort of a square diamond. It's simple, but very classic.
Rory: Gold band, square diamond, simple, classic. [Lorelai shakes her head] I'm not sure that's really her.
Max: Okay, the next one is sort of an engagement band with small diamonds all around it, white gold, and there's a wedding band that sort of fits into it like a set.
Rory: White gold engagement band, small diamonds around it, with wedding band that fits into it. [Lorelai gestures that she might like it] That's a possibility. What's the third one?
Max: The third one is from the twenties.
Rory: From the twenties, hmm.
Max: Large diamond in the middle.
Rory: Large diamond in the middle.
Max: Diamond clusters on the sides.
Rory: Diamond clusters on the sides.
Max: A little deco.
Rory: A little deco. [Lorelai pants and barks like a dog] That sounds great. Uh, good going. She's gonna be ecstatic.
Max: She's right there with you isn't she?
Rory: What? No.
Max: No, I thought I heard her bark.
Rory: No, that's just a wild jackal that hangs out here sometimes.
Max: Mm hmm. Put Cujo on the phone please.
Rory: One sec. [hands phone to Lorelai] Here boy.
Most of you know I love me some Stephen King. So this was a nice way to celebrate finally making my way through season one!
Usually King writes about how people are the monsters we fear in the middle of the night, but in Cujo, the real monster is time. He writes about all the missed moments and lost seconds that can easily mean life or death. Your whole life can change because you decided not to stop for that cup of coffee or because you stayed at work for an extra ten minutes. This book makes me realize just how much each individual decision on a daily basis effects our fate.
Don't read this book when you're a day late coming home from a work trip and you're missing your toddler like crazy. Shit goes down in that book that might turn you (yet again) into a bawling mess 30,000 feet in the air. Or maybe that was just me.
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
I figured this would remind Zack of when he was accosted by Mrs. Kim and threatened with hellhounds for living in sin with her daughter. Not sure he'd appreciate that memory, but he'd also think Cujo was pretty bad ass.