Just like all art, books reflect us. They reflect who we are, they reflect the world, and they reflect our true nature. They are living tomes which convey a beauty and a connection that cannot die. I read Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Classic Lit, Horror, and Non-Fiction.
There are two kinds of fear; horror and terror. "Terror is usually described as the feeling of dread and anticipation that precedes the horrifying experience. By contrast, horror is the feeling of revulsion that usually occurs after something frightening is seen, heard, or otherwise experienced. It is the feeling one gets after coming to an awful realization or experiencing a deeply unpleasant occurrence." Terror is seeing the blood on the wall, horror is seeing the masked man rip someone apart with a machete. Cujo is a prime example of terror. King uses foreshadowing and the supernatural to build up an unsettling feeling of anticipation. The money shots of the book, where Cujo is going to town, aren't the best parts, and aren't that scary. It's the anticipation and the long drawn out conflicts which are the real agents of fear.
King's characters are realistic and well done. You sympathize with many of them, but one of the most brilliant things King did in this book was making us sympathize with the monster. Parts of this book are from Cujo's perspective, and we find out what he's feeling as he goes through this horrifying transformation from loving family dog, to rabid monster. It adds another layer to the horror, since we get inside the mind of someone going mad with rabies.
If you're a fan of horror or want to start reading the genre, then you owe it to yourself to read Cujo. When I read it in 2008, the book affected me so much that I had to sleep with the lights on for a few nights and I became paranoid of bats and stray or wild animals. I can't give Cujo the full 5 out of 5 because the fear is something we do to ourselves. The fear comes from anticipation and by letting our minds run wild with the story. The terror is unsettling and that feeling is what really has the teeth in this book, not the actual horror. Cujo is entertaining, mature, well written, and above all, frightening.
And if you're not into horror, here's pig in a blanket. You're welcome.