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Cujo Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1982

463 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

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.


"Just when your blood pressure is back to normal, Stephen King is at it again."
-Kansas City Star

“Hits the jugular.”—The New York Times

“Just when your blood pressure is back to normal, Stephen King is at it again.”—Kansas City Star

“He builds up the suspense, holds back the dynamite until you’re screaming for it, and then lets you have it.”—Minneapolis Tribune

“It grabs you and holds you and won’t let go…excruciating suspense…a genuine page-turner.”—Chattanooga Times

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (August 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451161351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451161352
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (463 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Cujo is special. This was my introduction to Stephen King; oh, I'd read that story of his about toy soldiers (in seventh grade English class, no less), but this was my first real Stephen King experience. It was also my first truly adult novel; there's some pretty racy stuff in here, especially when you're an innocent twelve-year-old kid. Steve Kemp, Donna Trenton's jilted lover, is a cretin. That's part of the reason why Cujo has always been my least favorite Stephen King novel - until now, that is. Having finally reread this book, I am quite bowled over by the experience. This is King at his most visceral, his most unrelenting, his most vicious. Dark doesn't begin to describe this novel. The ending was and is controversial (so controversial that it was changed - quite cowardly - in the film adaptation). Speaking of the film, it's important not to judge this novel by that adaptation - in the movie, young Tad is almost impossible to like because Danny Pintauro was just such an annoying child actor, and Cujo himself is little more than a monster because we don't get inside his increasingly disturbed head the way we do in the novel. The real Cujo is a good dog.

King has said he does not remember writing very much of this novel, that it was written in an almost perpetual drunken haze. It's ironic because Cujo is an amazingly sober read. Maybe the booze explains the brutality of the story, but I think not - like any great writer, King lets the story tell itself. What happens at the end of this novel just happens; King doesn't make it happen. That ending - actually, the whole book - opens up all kinds of questions about Fate and justice.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By cortney on July 12, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't think of any words to describe to you, the reader, how this book made me feel, but here goes anyway, because I like to be helpful.
To lump King into the limiting paradigm of "horror writer" is like blasphemy, and if you're going to read Cujo, you might as well toss it if you're going to think of it that way. King is not a horror writer, any more than Fitzgerald is a cheap, 10-cent paperback romance writer.
What King writes about is life--in all its bloody and dank, beautiful and mysterious glory. When I read Cujo I was terrified, and my hands even shook as I put the book down, finally finished at the end of the long night. But what terrified me the most is not the actual carnage, but the fact that this story is so real that the location might as well be Anytown, USA, and You, the Anonymous Reader Reading This Review, as the lead character.
King said himself that, like in Ripley's Believe it or Not, reality and the bizzare (read:horror) coexist at all times, and that the juxtaposition of the two is where terror originates. REAL horror is here in the real world, not in Nasfaratu, not in Freddy Kreuger or Jason, but in your own home, or worse--in your own mind. The story on its own is almost boring: a lovable 200-pound St. Bernard catches rabies. So why was I shaking, and why did I burst into tears after reading the ending? Better yet, why was I so moved that I took the time to write this review to convince you to read it for yourself?
Trust me. Read the book. I don't care if you've never met me. From one terrified reader with her head detached after reading Cujo to another reader contemplating buying it (that's why you're here, isn't it?), take my advice and get it. You won't regret it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Robinson on January 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cujo has become synonymous with any canine that is violent and dangerous. Unless you have read this masterpiece, you have no idea how dangerous this animal can be. Cujo, a massive St. Bernard, wasn't always like this - he used to love to run and play, and fetch like all good dogs. However, one day he stuck his head down a hole and is bitten by an animal that happens to be foaming at the mouth. IT isn't long until Cujo begins to feel the symptoms of the rabies. The story tells the horror of a young mother and her young son trapped in a stalled car by the dog. What makes this story interesting is it tells half the tale from the perspective of Cujo, and the reader gets the impression as he descends into madness that there is something more evil lurking within him than just rabies. It becomes a battle for survival as the people are trapped in a car with no food or water in the hottest heat wave to have hit Maine in many years. Read this book if you want to be scared - it gives a whole new meaning to the expression "bad dog"...

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J R Zullo on August 17, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Cujo" is one of the earlier works by Stephen King. I have known about the plot of this book for a long time, and although I have been fascinated by it and eager to read it, I managed to do it only now. The idea of a giant, rabid St Bernard attacking a woman and a child stuck in a car in during some of the hotter summer days is great. I thought the book would revolve around this basic plotline, and nothing else much. I was wrong.

"Cujo" is a simple-told story, but it has many layers and many subplots involved. Of course, the main part of the book is when Cujo is stalking Donna Trenton and her little child Tad in a broken-down Ford Pinto, while the temperature - well above the hundreds - is slowly depleting their strength. But why is Donna and her son trapped there? Who owns Cujo? How did he get rabid? Did Donna have a husband? Where was he? All these questions are answered in the book, and each one of them presents a very good subplot. Stephen King uses the entire first half of his book just to present his characters, what is happening in their lives and how they interact. Not to mention the setting. Castle Rock is one of the spookiest locations in recent literature - along with another known little town to Constant Readers, Derry, also in Maine. Stephen King takes his time to set the right atmosphere. And he does it very well.

Grade 8.8/10
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