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3.5 Stars.BIG fan of Stephen King, but not so much of CHRISTINE Reading a 700 page book.especially one written by SK usually does not bother me in the least, but CHRISTINE was just too long.too wordy.was expectingwicked deeds than the movie.The storyline IS creepy good with a possessed red 1958 Plymouth Fury.her deadlights and moldering stench.on the prowl seeking justice from anyone who dislikes her.so best stay out of her way.Besides a feared CHRISTINE, there s a great cast of teen characters, bullies, weird parents and an evil presence from the beyond to keep things rolling along AND, as in many KING novels, you ll find a variety of dark nightmares, hear many a cool oldie from the 50 s and 60 s and take a ride to the submarine racesyou re an oldie like me if you remember that one Not a favoritefor me , but NOT bad either. Fans of the Netflix series Stranger Things who might be unaware of how freely the creators sampled 80s pop culture right down to the title font need look no further than three novels by Stephen King one I ve read Firestarter , one I m reading this month It and one I ll review now Published in 1983 the same year that Stranger Things takes place Christine is an often haunting and at times bittersweet tale about growing up specifically, that time when adulthood threatens to detour cherished friendships and careen others off Dead Man s Curve Coincidentally, this tale includes an antique car possessed by evil.Unfolding through the fall of 1978 and into a bitter New Year in the fictional town of Libertyville, Pennsylvania, Christine is divided into three parts, the first and third narrated by Dennis Guilder, a twenty two year old reflecting on his tragic senior year of high school Captain of the football and baseball teams and All Conference swimmer, Dennis is best friend to Arnie Cunningham, a childhood friend whose road detours into oily skin, chess and derision by many of their peers The meek only child of two academics at Horlicks University, Arnie takes a bold but troubling step toward adulthood while cruising with Dennis in his 75 Plymouth Duster.Arnie falls in love at first sight with a 1958 Plymouth Fury he spots rusting in a yard Dennis sees only a lemon, but is unable to convince his friend to walk away from it With a nest egg built from his summer job with the Penn DOT on a road crew, Arnie leaves a cash deposit with the car s owner, a nefarious coot with a bad back, lewd disposition and forked tongue named Roland D LeBay the old timer refers to the junker as Christine Believing his friend is being suckered, Dennis is taken aback by how enad Arnie a gifted machinist who has never owned his own wheels is of the red and white street rod, which Arnie begins calling Christine Dennis is certain that Arnie s parents, particularly his controlling mother, will scotch the deal.That s it,I thought, now feeling a little sad as well as upset They ll beat him down and LeBay will have his twenty five dollars and that 58 Plymouth will sit there for another thousand years or soThey had done similar things to him before Because he was a loser Even his parents knew it He was intelligent, and when you got past the shy and wary exterior, he was humorous and thoughtful and sweet, I guess, is the word I m fumbling around for.Sweet, but a loser.His folks knew it as well as the machine shop white soxers who yelled at him in the halls and thumb rubbed his glasses.They knew he was a loser and they would beat him down.That s what I thought But that time I was wrong.After witnessing Arnie fire the first shot in a rebellion against his parents, Dennis grows wary of Christine Returning with Arnie to purchase the rustbucket from LeBay, Dennis climbs behind the wheel and receives a flash of the decaying car restored to new, and speaking to him Let s go for a ride, big guy,Christine seemed to whisper in the hot summer silence of LeBay s garage. Let s cruise He suddenly finds himself not wanting to walk in front of the car Watching Arnie drive away in it, Dennis witnesses LeBay break down in tears Holding firm that the old bastard has ripped his friend off, Dennis is told that he doesn t know half as much as he thinks he does.With the sun going down, Arnie and Dennis are able to reach Darnell s Do It Yourself Garage, where cigar chomping interstate trafficker Will Darnell has cornered the town s automotive needs He takes advantage of Arnie, overcharging him for the stall and the tools the teen will need to restore his wheels One of Arnie s classmates, a menacing hulk named Buddy Repperton, works at the garage and starts to harass Arnie, but when Repperton smashes one of Christine s headlights, Arnie fights back and bloodies him Darnell fires Repperton and realizing he might be able to use a kid like Arnie, offers him a job making deliveries Dennis warns his friend not to fall into debt with Darnell, but Arnie becomes hostile to any attempts to separate him from Christine.Dennis begins having bad dreams about Christine Learning that Roland LeBay has passed away, Dennis accompanies Arnie to the funeral He introduces himself to LeBay s estranged brother, George, and managing a word in private behind his friend s back, Dennis shares his apprehension over the 58 Plymouth Fury George later reveals some troubling family history LeBay s fury was legendary He entered the Army at a bad time the 1920s working in the motor pool where he raged against the shitters he felt had it in for him In 1958, LeBay bought Christine and became obsessed with the car, keeping it even after his six year old daughter choked to death in the backseat and his wife committed suicide in it He believes that Arnie would be better off getting rid of the car And as if he had read my thoughts of a few minutes before, he went on I don t believe in curses, you know Not in ghosts or anything precisely supernatural But I do believe that emotions and events have a certain lingering resonance It may be that emotions can even communicate themselves in certain circumstances If the circumstances are peculiar enough the way a carton of milk will take the flavor of certain strongly spiced foods if it s left open in the refrigerator Or perhaps that s only a ridiculous fantasy on my part Possibly it s just that I would feel better knowing the car my niece choked in and my sister in law killed herself in had been pressed down into a cube of meaningless metal Perhaps all I feel is a sense of outraged propriety Dennis observes dramatic changes in Arnie His friend s skin clears up While none of the girls who ve known him as a pizzaface will take a second look at Arnie, a graceful transferring senior named Leigh Cabot is an exception Dennis watches as the Viking queen he would ve gotten around to asking out begins dating his friend instead At lunch, Dennis comes upon Buddy Repperton circling Arnie with a switchblade while the bully s lackeys Don Vandenberg and Moochie Welch cheer him on The two on three melee is broken up by the shop teacher Certain that Repperton meant to cut Arnie, Dennis rats him out for the switchblade, resulting in Repperton s expulsion He vows revenge.Arnie s transformation has an eerie parallel to the resurrection of Christine Darnell marvels at how expertly Arnie was able to get his car road ready without putting in the labor Introduced by Arnie at a football game, Dennis notices that Leigh is nocomfortable around Christine than he is Arnie s rebellion against his mother over the car intensifies and his father seems to reach a truce, paying for Arnie to park Christine at an airport garage instead of the house Repperton finds out where Arnie is garaging his wheels and with the help of Don and Moochie, trashes it Soon after, the boys are hunted down by the Plymouth Fury, which its victims recognize too late has no driver, or the corpse of Roland LeBay at the wheel.Leigh, who loves Arnie and would enthusiastically consent to sex if she didn t have to lose her virginity in Christine, is spooked by how precious her boyfriend is of his car She s saved from choking to death in it only by the grace of a hitchhiker she urged Arnie pick up on their way home from McDonald s Presenting him with an ultimatum, Arnie chooses Christine over Leigh Laid up in the hospital with a broken leg, Dennis bonds with his best friend s girl over the disturbing changes she s recognized in Arnie They connect the tragedy of Roland LeBay and the deaths in their town Christine They also become romantically entwined, wary that anyone Arnie is angry with has met a gruesome end on the road When he does find out, the teenage lovers have only one recourse The first idea had been Leigh s Molotov cocktails We would, she said, fill some wine bottles with gasoline, take them to the Cunningham house in the early morning hours, light the wicks Wicks What wicks I asked Kotex ought to do just fine, she answered promptly, causing me to wonder again about her high cheekboned forebearers , and toss them in through Christine s windows.The conceit of a 1958 Plymouth cruising the streets of America to the oldie but goodies of Chuck Berry or Richie Valens with a corpse at the wheel is laughable It doesn t even seem like it d be scary King seems to have backed into his plot by wanting to write about teens, rock n roll and cars, and realizing that cursed children or music had been done, reversed into the possessed car idea What makes Christine a fantastic novel is a quality that King has sustained from his earliest work Carrie, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Firestarter , which aren t about monsters chasing after characters but characters who realize they are the monster I noticeelements that keep drawing me back to King s work There s the change of seasons, for one Road conditions under freezing weather play a crucial role in this novel, as do Christmas shopping and New Year s Eve countdowns There are the characters often kids who know that monsters are in the lurk, but unable to convince adults, are forced to confront the threat themselves by improvising a plan, and thus, learning something about themselves and growing up There is the bittersweet taste of innocence being lost in some way that can never be recovered I feel myself becoming emotionally attached to the characters and invested in their wages again doom.As with some of King s doorstoppers Christine is only 120,000 words , the novel took me over a week to finish, but it occurs to me that some of the most memorable road trips are the long ones, the journeys where the destination is earned and felt I found the pleasure of delayed gratification wonderfully present in a longer novel, at least one with prose and dialogue as intimate as King s Nothing definitively supernatural occurs until page 238 and rather than spook the reader right off the bat, King writes about childhood using music, movies, sports, fast food and beverages and slowly builds the tragic relationships of his characters, ultimately to the point of poignancy Christine was adapted to film during the Stephen King Land Rush of 1983 1990, when a dozen of his novels, novellas or short stories were dragged to the screen Featuring Keith Gordon as Arnie, John Stockwell as Dennis, Alexandra Paul as Leigh, the movie was directed by John Carpenter, whose previous thrillers traffic in pulsating doom, but here, as a director for hire, goes through the motions of a killer car movie devoid of the teenage angst or desolate winter of the novel Its riches are those surrounding the kids and the car, with performances by Robert Prosky, Harry Dean Stanton and Roberts Blossom and the music of George Thorogood and The Destroyers, the best rock n roll ever featured in a Carpenter film. It took me over a week to listen to all 19 hours of this classic and it is still EVERYTHING.One of the scariest books ever, King was a master then and he still reigns today If I admitted that I probably enjoyed thisthan The Shining would that amount to sacrilege Good Review vs Evil Review Good ReviewThere isn t much I didn t particularly enjoy about the novel, except perhaps for one or two pacing issues Then again, the book is only about 500 pages, which is a lot less than some of those other King books It is incredibly creepy at times, which I found surprising, since the idea of a haunted car might seem a bit, well, corny It s everything but In fact, the story is a curious cross between true nostalgia and horror The musical theme prevalent throughout the novel, with references to songs about cars, was a nice touch In keeping with the theme, King also incorporates a lot of throwaway references to American muscle cars into the story so and so drives a 66 Camaro and the like It adds a nice touch of authenticity.The sympathetic first person narrative of Parts 1 3 was striking and I really felt for name withhold due to spoiler when things started going awry My horror had changed to a deep and terrible sorrow I suppose that is really what this novel is about, and Christine is just a vehicle for a bigger story about obsession and possession Terrible pun, I know, but unintended Evil ReviewOf course the warning signs were there the smell of decay every time I opened the book the fact that the book kept popping up everywhere I went and then, when my wife told me to choose between her and Christine I suppose it is a bit of a problem if you start rooting for the baddie in a horror novel, but the way Christine goes after those shitters varmints is righteous, man But seriously though, this is one cool book It happens to be scary too and there she it is. You never forget your first time, and the memories of my initial encounter with Stephen King when he lured me into the back of a 1958 Plymouth Fury and had his way with me are still clear over 30 years later.For the record, he wasn t gentle.I was a wee lad of 13 when this came out, and Stephen King had established his reputation as America s boogeyman after his breakout in the 70s I wasn t much of a horror fan and despite my increasing reading of grown up fiction had no interest in the King novels and movies that were freaking the adults out Then one day I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor s office and read a magazine article about King and his new book centered on a haunted killer car That sounds pretty cool, I thought After my appointment, I went to the library which was right around the corner from my doctor s office Ah, small towns I can t remember if I actually was able to get it then or if I had to put my name on the hold list I suspect that a new King novel probably had a waiting list In either case, I soon got my grubby little mitts on a copy and read my first Stephen King novel The countless hours since devoted to reading his work and the small fortune I ve spent accumulating his books over the years are a testament to how deeply the hook was set.Looking back now, that seems kind of odd because Christine is not my favorite King novel In fact, it d be well down my personal list after others like The Stand, The Shining or The Dark Tower series Still, it s a pretty good King novel and wasthan enough to put me on the King path that I ve been on ever since despite the occasional rocky patches I still remembered being surprised at how relatable the story was The way I d heard adults talk made me think that the entire book would be a bloodbath Instead, I was shocked to see that King actually focused most of the early part of the book on a couple of small town high school guys who didn t seem any different from the older teens I knew I remember thinking that this was the first book I d read that had people living in a way that seemed familiar to me That s why when the horror started creeping in from the edges it made it that much worse.Geeky loser Arnie and high school stud duck Dennis have been friends since they were children As they re getting ready to start their senior year, Arnie spots a For Sale sign on a rusting piece of shit 1958 Plymouth Fury nicknamed Christine by its owner, a nasty old bastard named Roland LeBay Despite Dennis s best efforts to talk him out of it, Arnie insists on buying Christine which puts him at odds with his academic parents, especially his domineering mother who has managed to control every aspect of his life to that point.As Arnie works on what seems to be a miraculous restoration job on Christine, he becomes increasingly obsessed with the car and angry at the world Dennis was uneasy about the vehicle from the beginning and getssuspicious as his best friend seems less and less like himself When people who crossed Arnie start turning up dead via bizarre vehicular homicides, Dennis s dread of Christine leads him to believe the impossible.It d be easy to dismiss this as the book about the evil car, but like most good horror there s ahuman theme lurking in the story In this case it s about how childhood friends can drift apart and how inexorable that can be in some circumstances Dennis and Arnie wouldn t be that much different than anyone who gets wrapped up in the changes that adulthood is about to lay on them only to look up and realize that the person who always used to be at their side has gone their own way That s a sad fact of life that King uses as the foundation of the book only he uses a murderous car as the wedge he drives between them instead of themundane distractions that usually do the job.The other hook that he hangs the story on is based on the old nerd gets revenge fantasy Despite Arnie s sweet nature he s so incapable of standing up for himself that even Dennis finds him pathetic at times When Arnie develops a backbone and begins dating the prettiest girl in school you can t help but root for him even as you know that the cause of these changes is Christine and therefore can t be a good thing.With all this going for it, then why doesn t Christine rank higher in the King pantheon A couple of factors drag it down At the time it was published this was King s longest book other than his epic novel The Stand, and that one was about the end of the world so some wordiness wasn t out of line Some of the bloat that would often characterize his later work was beginning to creep into this one The set up of Arnie and Dennis s history and Arnie s status as the unlucky geek of their school goes on too long Also, the character of Dennis is just a little too good to be true Not every teenage boy is a raging sociopath, but after a while I did find it hard to believe that a good looking star athlete with plenty of girls chasing after him would really be best friends with the school misfit as well as a loving and respectful son to his parents Then there s the fact that while the destruction of Arnie s personality is a big chunk of the book the actual bloodshed comes at the wheels of Christine, and while King writes several gruesome death scenes and creates some very creepy moments it s still just a car Even with magical evil powers you still think you could get away by just going into a tall building and waiting until it runs out of gas Despite the elements that keep it from being considered among his best work, Christine is still a good example of what King does best by mixing human weakness with supernatural elements to create a story that keeps you turning pages.Also posted at Kemper s Book Blog Stephen King has sure gotten some mileage out of this whole possessed by evil thing Or maybe it s the fact that I ve read The Shining this year wherein an abusive drunk is taken over by the Evil that is a hotel and it just seems that way Anyway back to my original misbegotten and flawed theme Evil s out there and according to Stephen King it s very possessive.In this book, of course, you re dealing with a car, but not just any car a car that s been possessed by Evil King kind of loses the chain of evil in this one For the longest time, I assumed that Christine was the originating source of evilness, but as my favorite Mah Fah, Stepheny, pointed out and upon further reading of the actual book, it became sort of apparent that the car was in fact possessed by its original owner, who in turn possessed I take a shot of something every time I type the word possessed or any form of the word, so bear with me poor Arnie Cunningham in an effort to continue railing against the shitters of the world.It takes a long, long time before Christine, no matter who s driving or not the damn car, to actually start running punks down and grinding them into hamburger and the narrative structure kind of sucks Dennis, I was truly hoping you d fall victim to Christine at some point, but it just wasn t meant to be This was a decent read with a fairly decent resolution I mean how many ways are there really to get rid of a possessed hey, there I go again, bottoms up car.Is it me or does somebody else wish that Christine was just over the horizon and ready to chase down the two hoodlums pictured above sigh Plus, a geographic sports lesson for Mr King This book was written back in 1983, when sports teams where usually broadcast on the local UHF station as was the case with the Phillies , so why orrelevantly, how would Dennis and Arnie be regularly watching the Philadelphia Phillies when the book takes place a few miles as the raven flies from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is a fairly big assed state from east to west and Pittsburgh has its own baseball team they re called the Pirates This was a small detail that probably effected only me and I don t know what possessed gulp me to even bring it upEvil, Jeff Were you possessed by evil This was a buddy read with Daytona Dan 2.0, Aston Martin Ashley de la Hufflepuff, Speed Demon Stepheny, Tailgating Trish and le Grand Prix Ginger the anti shitters. Christine is Stephen King at his best I am not kidding it is my favorite book of his Dark Tower fans, be gentle.Christine is an old Plymouth that Arnie Cunningham decides to buy and repair He gradually gets in love with his car, and, as Christine is repaired, Arnie also changes, becoming darker and taking on some personality traits of Christine s former owner, Roland LeBay.The book s other main character is Dennis, Arnie s friend, who witness all these changes Now the story may sounds silly, but this is King we are talking about The books is heavily character driven Arnie s arc is incredible to witness His gradual turning from a loser nerd to a smuggler eventually is mind blowing Dennis was also an interesting character, but a bit less so The books is also a good reference point for anyone who loves a good love triangle Yes, there is a love triangle here Actually, there are two the first one is the HELL LOVE TRIANGLE view spoiler Arnie Christine Leigh hide spoiler I went into this book thinking I d be giving it a high rating, and considering it was written by Stephen King my favourite author I m not surprised at all that I was proven to be correct.I feel like theoretically, this story could have been told in a much smaller amount of pages After all, the premise isn t too complicated and it would have bee easy to rattle through all the events, just with the simple purpose of telling a scary story But of course, Stephen King being Stephen King made this entire thing a lotthan a simple horror story and added a lotdepth to it And that s exactly why he s my favourite writer He made me fall in love with all the characters, even the ones I hated yes, I am aware that this is a contradiction, but King develops his characters in such a fantastic way, you see the positive aspects of even the most evil beings, and thus, I can t bring myself to despise anyone 100% They are all just so darn brillant and fascinating.I normally would find the concept of a murdering car ridiculous and too over the top I m not really into paranormal stuff and things like that , but once again, I noticed how King can write about the most unbelievable things in a most believable way If there would have been a note at the end, telling me all of this had really happened, I would have accepted it without asking any questions That s how good of a storyteller he is A highly entertaining and suspenseful read and a definite recommendation ^READ EBOOK ↚ Christine ⇥ Master Storyteller Stephen King Presents The ClassicNational Bestseller Of The Ultimate Vehicle Of TerrorThis Is The Story Of A Lover S Triangle It Was Bad From The Start And It Got Worse In A HurryIt S Love At First Sight For High School Student Arnie Cunningham When He And His Best Friend Dennis Guilder Spot The DilapidatedRed And White Plymouth Fury For Sale Dubbed Christine By Its Original Cantankerous Owner Rusting Away On A Front Lawn Of Their Suburban Pennsylvania Neighborhood Dennis Knows That Arnie S Never Had Much Luck In The Looks Or Popularity Department, Or Really Taken An Interest In Owning A Car But Christine Quickly Changes All That Arnie Suddenly Has The Newfound Confidence To Stick Up For Himself, Going As Far As Dating The Most Beautiful Girl At Libertyville High Transfer Student Leigh Cabot Even As A Mysteriously Restored Christine Systematically And Terrifyingly Consumes Every Aspect Of Arnie S Life Dennis And Leigh Soon Realize That They Must Uncover The Awful Truth Behind A Car With A Horrifying And Murderous History Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned, And Heaven Help Anyone Who Gets In Christine S Way