Cujo: A shaggy dog story gone bad

The front dust jacket of Stephen King’s Cujo puts the story in one image: It’s about a vicious dog.

Cujo cover features a snarling, slobbering rabid dog
Where’s Atticus Finch when you need him?

At nearly 200-pounds, Cujo, a Saint Bernard, is a gentle giant.

Out chasing a rabbit, Cujo is bitten by a rabid bat. The rabies virus turns Cujo into a killer.

King pads his page count with some subplots , all of which are resolved by the dog’s death.

King has one subplot about four-year-old boy who sees monsters in his closet. Tad’s terror is so real that his father starts imagining he see things in the closet, too.

That’s scary.

Tad’s mother, afraid of losing her youth in backwoods Maine, has had a brief fling with a transient poet/cabinet maker. When she breaks it off, he sends her husband a letter about her infidelity, then trashes her home.

The poet/cabinet maker is scary.

Cujo’s owner, 10-year-old Brett Chamber, and his mother are away visiting her sister. Charity Camber is debating whether to divorce her husband. Joe Chamber is as nasty a redneck as ever beat a wife.

Joe Chamber is scary.

On the whole, I found the men in the novel far more frightening than the dog.

Maybe you just had to be there.

Cujo by Stephen King
Viking Press. 1981. 319 p.
1981 bestseller #3. My grade: C+

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. My program for turning teens and adults into competent writers is just eight sentences, 34 words.

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