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It's a very powerful story, in part because it's not supernatural - while the tale features some extreme coincidences, it's still well within the realm of possibility, making it even more nightmarish (especially for parents of young children) than the vampires and demons in King's other novels.
The book depicts the stresses of marriage, the ups and downs of the workplace (with a darkly hilarious incident involving an ad campaign for heavily sugared and artificially-colored breakfast cereal - that bit had me roaring with laughter), and the seemingly trivial incident that leads to one affable Saint Bernard dog becoming ill with rabies. The dog's increasing suffering makes one very sympathetic to the poor thing, but when a woman and her young son are trapped in a hot car with the now-vicious, tormented beast lunging at them, things get seriously scary...
The novel ends with several levels of tragedy, including a coda describing the fate of the hapless rabbit that led poor Cujo to the encounter with the rabid bat that set off the entire story. But it also includes touches of hope, unexpected but welcome.
[The 1983 film was pretty good, though it did pull some punches that the book most definitely did not. There's a TV Tropes page about the book.]
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