Book Banning Not a Cure for Rabies

Daniel Pettee

Staff Writer

Take one of the biggest, most lovable breeds of dogs around. Give him rabies, cut him loose, and you‘ve got a recipe for terror.

“Cujo,” written by master of horror Stephen King, was banned in 1984 and 1985 by some schools in Alabama, Mississippi, New York and California for profanity and strong sexual content, according to gumbopages.com.

According to Google Books, “Cujo” was also challenged in Crook County High School in Oregon and Brooksville, Florida for profanity, violence, and sexual content.

The reasons given for banning “Cujo” shouldn’t be a surprise to fans of King’s work. However, the decision on whether a child reads one of his novels should be up to the child’s parents and no one else.

“Cujo” is set in King’s fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. The plot centers on two families, the Trentons and the Cambers, and the Camber’s Saint Bernard named Cujo who contracts rabies after being bitten on the nose by a rabid bat.

When Vic Trenton is away on business and his wife Donna needs some work done on her car, she takes her son, Tad, and drives to the isolated farm of Joe Camber, a local mechanic. When Donna arrives, Joe Camber and his neighbor Gary Pervier have already been killed at Pervier’s home by the formerly kind-hearted Cujo.

Camber’s wife Charity and their son Brett are away visiting Charity’s sister, so when Donna’s car breaks down in the Camber’s yard, she and her son are alone with the rabid 200-pound dog.

For three days, Donna and her son, Tad, are trapped in the oven of Donna’s small car during the hottest July in the history of Castle Rock. Donna desperately seeks escape from the maddened Saint Bernard and during an attempt to reach the house is bitten by Cujo.

King’s storytelling is, as always, hypnotic. The characters, including Cujo, whose perspective King writes believably, have real problems and emotions.

Whether you are a fan of King’s work or just enjoy being scared, pick up a copy of “Cujo” for a terrifying tale.

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