Christine

Christine

Master storyteller Stephen King presents the classic #1 national bestseller of the ultimate vehicle of terror!“This is the story of a lover’s triangle…It was bad from the start. And it got worse in a hurry.” It’s love at first sight for high school student Arnie Cunningham when he and his best friend Dennis Guilder spot the dilapidated 1958 red-and-white Plymouth Fury for...

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Title:Christine
Author:Stephen King
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Edition Language:French

Christine Reviews

  • Kerstin

    I have a real guilty-pleasure, love/love realtionship with Stephen King books. I don't care how literarily unhip that is.

    was the first big-girl book I ever read--I was in the fourth grade and we'd just moved to California. I didn't have any friends or anywhere to go yet, so I spent my days poking around in the library, like any good nerd. I'd heard somewhere that Stephen King books contained scandalous curse words, so I picked it out of the library's King collection because the title

    I have a real guilty-pleasure, love/love realtionship with Stephen King books. I don't care how literarily unhip that is.

    was the first big-girl book I ever read--I was in the fourth grade and we'd just moved to California. I didn't have any friends or anywhere to go yet, so I spent my days poking around in the library, like any good nerd. I'd heard somewhere that Stephen King books contained scandalous curse words, so I picked it out of the library's King collection because the title resembled my own name. I would never have been allowed to check that book out, so I read the whole thing on the sly, curled up on a bean bag in the back of the library, shitting my pants, and unable to explain to my parents why I suddenly refused to go through the garage to take the bins out on trash day. Ah, youth.

  • Dirk Grobbelaar

    If I admitted that I

    enjoyed this more than

    – would that amount to sacrilege?

    There isn’t much I

    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

    King books. It is

    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 fac

    If I admitted that I

    enjoyed this more than

    – would that amount to sacrilege?

    There isn’t much I

    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

    King books. It is

    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

    and

    . 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

    for [name withhold due to spoiler] when things started going awry.

    I suppose that is really what this novel is about, and

    is just a vehicle for a bigger story about

    and

    . Terrible pun, I know, but unintended.

    Of 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

    I suppose it

    a bit of a problem if you start rooting for the baddie in a horror novel, but the way

    goes after those

    varmints is

    , man!

    But seriously though, this is one cool book. It happens to be scary too…

    …and there

    it is.

  • James Trevino

    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

    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:

    The second is the normal love triangle:

    :))

    The ending is classic King and if you have read one or two of his books you know what I am talking about. I hope we will see a sequel some day.

  • Joe Valdez

    Fans of the Netflix series

    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 (

    ), one I'm reading this month (

    ) and one I'll review now. Published in 1983--the same year that

    takes place--

    is an often haunting and at times bittersweet tale about growing up; specifically, that time when adulthood threatens to detour cheris

    Fans of the Netflix series

    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 (

    ), one I'm reading this month (

    ) and one I'll review now. Published in 1983--the same year that

    takes place--

    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,

    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 enamored 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,

    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 so.

    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,

    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.

    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 no more comfortable 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 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

    a fantastic novel is a quality that King has sustained from his earliest work (

    ,

    ,

    ,

    ), which aren't about monsters chasing after characters but characters who realize they are the monster.

    I notice more elements 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 (

    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.

    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.

  • Horace Derwent

    wait a sec, what in the actual-y ass!

  • Jason P

    Me: "Mom?....are you listening? The story is about a haunted car"

    Mom: "a what?"

    Me: "a car, mom - the story is about a haunted, evil car that can drive by itself, and it kills people. Because it's haunted."

    Mom: "a car can't do that...tell me a car can do that! You'd be lying."

    Me: "No, mom, I know a car can't do that, but this one can, and its killed a ton of people already. There's these two main characters,

    Me: "Mom?....are you listening? The story is about a haunted car"

    Mom: "a what?"

    Me: "a car, mom - the story is about a haunted, evil car that can drive by itself, and it kills people. Because it's haunted."

    Mom: "a car can't do that...tell me a car can do that! You'd be lying."

    Me: "No, mom, I know a car can't do that, but this one can, and its killed a ton of people already. There's these two main characters, right, and one guy's name is Arnie and his friend is Dennis - they go to school togeth..."

    Mom: "Oh yea, school is very important! I told your sister the same thing but she was all, "'I do what i want!'". Heh, now look where she is! Fast food....yeesh."

    Me: ".....uh...right. So...anyway, this mechanic, Roland D. Lebay, he sells the car whose name is Christine."

    Mom: "oh! Like the movie, right?! Maybe the two are the same!"

    Me: ".......yep...mom, the same. Can I finish telling you about the story, it's been almost thirty minutes."

    Mom: "ya, ya go ahead..."

    Me: " So Arnie and Dennis are strolling by Lebay's place when he sees a 1958 Plymouth Fury sitting outside all junked out. At first Lebay..."

    Mom: "So the car has the devil inside?"

    Me: "Yes"

    Mom: "Why's it there, who told the car to have the devil? Someone bad?"

  • Kemper

    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

    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

    is not my favorite King novel. In fact, it’d be well down my personal list after others like

    ,

    or

    series. Still, it’s a pretty good King novel and was more than 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 gets more suspicious 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 a more human 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 the more mundane 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

    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

    , 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,

    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

  • Lyn

    I once saw a comedian who said something to the effect that Led Zeppelin could sing “Mary had a little lamb” and make it feel dark and evil and threatening. Then with a passable imitation of Robert Plant he went on to sing the children’s song but in the fashion of a 70s metal band. Funny.

    So too, can Stephen King tell us about a haunted car and have what would seem to be an absurd notion come alive with terror and dark menace. Remember

    , his 1981 novel about a rabid dog who terrorizes a town?

    I once saw a comedian who said something to the effect that Led Zeppelin could sing “Mary had a little lamb” and make it feel dark and evil and threatening. Then with a passable imitation of Robert Plant he went on to sing the children’s song but in the fashion of a 70s metal band. Funny.

    So too, can Stephen King tell us about a haunted car and have what would seem to be an absurd notion come alive with terror and dark menace. Remember

    , his 1981 novel about a rabid dog who terrorizes a town? He stretched that idea out into a pretty good book. It’s in the way he tells the tale; he guides us down a pedestrian path, seemingly normal and uneventful and then points out uncommon objects along the way, ramping up the creepy factor until by the end we are caught – hook line and sinker – and he is already pulling us out of the water, flailing and scared and believing in his black magic hoodoo.

    Christine, King’s 1983 homage to Springsteenesque car culture, is such a tale. It’s about a scary, haunted car, yes, but also its about teenage angst, and relationships, and group dynamics. It’s about winners and losers and the games we play with each other and about how honest we can be to others and with ourselves. It’s about the distinction between childhood and maturity, about boys and men and the lines we cross when we accomplish growing up. Its about good and evil and right and wrong. It’s about obsession and mortality.

    King is scary because he describes everyday life, but through a glass darkly, illuminating that part of the tale that he knows will strike a chord in us, will make us consider our own lives, our own souls, and ask some uncomfortable questions and accept some difficult truths.

    Or it’s just about an evil, haunted car and it’s fun to read.

    Made into a film in the same year by John FREAKING! Carpenter, this has all the right Stephen King elements to make this one of his more entertaining novels.

  • Carol

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