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 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…
“Vintage…breathtaking, awesome.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Truly gripping…some of the best writing King has ever done.” —Publishers Weekly
“Terrifying…King is a terrific storyteller!” —San Francisco Chronicle
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 2.10(d)|
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Sleeping Beauties (co-written with his son Owen King), End of Watch, the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Finders Keepers, Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and now an AT&T Audience Network original television series), Doctor Sleep, and Under the Dome. His novel 11/22/63—a recent Hulu original television series event—was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures. He is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
Date of Birth:September 21, 1947
Place of Birth:Portland, Maine
Education:B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970
Read an Excerpt
“Oh my God!” my friend Arnie Cunningham cried out suddenly.
“What is it?” I asked. His eyes were bulging from behind his steel-rimmed glasses, he had plastered one hand over his face so that his palm was partially cupping his mouth, and his neck could have been on ball-bearings the way he was craning back over his shoulder.
“Stop the car, Dennis! Go back!”
“What are you—”
“Go back, I want to look at her again.”
Suddenly I understood. “Oh, man, forget it,” I said. “If you mean that . . . thing we just passed—”
“Go back!” He was almost screaming.
I went back, thinking that it was maybe one of Arnie’s subtle little jokes. But it wasn’t. He was gone, lock, stock, and barrel. Arnie had fallen in love.
She was a bad joke, and what Arnie saw in her that day I’ll never know. The left side of her windshield was a snarled spiderweb of cracks. The right rear deck was bashed in, and an ugly nest of rust had grown in the paint-scraped valley. The back bumper was askew, the trunk-lid was ajar, and upholstery was bleeding out through several long tears in the seat covers, both front and back. It looked as if someone had worked on the upholstery with a knife. One tire was flat. The others were bald enough to show the canvas cording. Worst of all, there was a dark puddle of oil under the engine block.
Arnie had fallen in love with a 1958 Plymouth Fury, one of the long ones with the big fins. There was an old and sun-faded FOR SALE sign propped on the right side of the windshield—the side that was not cracked.
“Look at her lines, Dennis!” Arnie whispered. He was running around the car like a man possessed. His sweaty hair flew and flopped. He tried the back door on the passenger side, and it came open with a scream.
“Arnie, you’re having me on, aren’t you?” I said. “It’s sunstroke, right? Tell me it’s sunstroke. I’ll take you home and put you under the frigging air conditioner and we’ll forget all about this, okay?” But I said it without much hope. He knew how to joke, but there was no joke on his face then. Instead, there was a kind of goofy madness I didn’t like much.
He didn’t even bother to reply. A hot, stuffy billow of air, redolent of age, oil, and advanced decomposition, puffed out of the open door. Arnie didn’t seem to notice that, either. He got in and sat down on the ripped and faded back seat. Once, twenty years before, it had been red. Now it was a faded wash pink.
I reached in and pulled up a little puff of upholstery, looked at it, and blew it away. “Looks like the Russian army marched over it on their way to Berlin,” I said.
He finally noticed I was still there. “Yeah . . . yeah. But she could be fixed up. She could . . . she could be tough. A moving unit, Dennis. A beauty. A real—”
“Here! Here! What you two kids up to?”
It was an old guy who looked as if he was enjoying—more or less—his seventieth summer. Probably less. This particular dude struck me as the sort of man who enjoyed very little. His hair was long and scraggy, what little there was left of it. He had a good case of psoriasis going on the bald part of his skull.
He was wearing green old man’s pants and lowtopped Keds. No shirt; instead there was something cinched around his waist that looked like a lady’s corset. When he got closer I saw it was a back brace. From the look of it I would say, just offhand, that he had changed it last somewhere around the time Lyndon Johnson died.
“What you kids up to?” His voice was shrill and strident.
“Sir, is this your car?” Arnie asked him. Not much question that it was. The Plymouth was parked on the lawn of the postwar tract house from which the old man had issued. The lawn was horrible, but it looked positively great with that Plymouth in the foreground for perspective.
“What if it is?” The old guy demanded.
“I”—Arnie had to swallow—“I want to buy it.”
The old dude’s eyes gleamed. The angry look on his face was replaced by a furtive gleam in the eye and a certain hungry sneer around the lips. Then a large resplendent shit-eating grin appeared. That was the moment, I think—then, just at that moment—when I felt something cold and blue inside me. There was a moment—just then—when I felt like slugging Arnie and dragging him away. Something came into the old man’s eyes. Not just the gleam; it was something behind the gleam.
“Well, you should have said so,” the old guy told Arnie. He stuck out his hand and Arnie took it. “LeBay’s the name. Roland D. LeBay. U.S. Army, retired.”
The old sport pumped his hand and sort of waved at me. I was out of the play; he had his sucker. Arnie might as well have handed LeBay his wallet.
“How much?” Arnie asked. And then he plunged ahead. “Whatever you want for her, it’s not enough.”
I groaned inside instead of sighing. His checkbook had just joined his wallet.
For a moment LeBay’s grin faltered a little, and his eyes narrowed down suspiciously. I think he was evaluating the possibility that he was being put on. He studied Arnie’s open, longing face for signs of guile, and then asked the murderously perfect question:
“Son, have you ever owned a car before?”
“He owns a Mustang Mach II,” I said quickly. “His folks bought it for him. It’s got a Hurst shifter, a supercharger, and it can boil the road in first gear. It—”
“No,” Arnie said quietly. “I just got my driver’s license this spring.”
LeBay tipped me a brief but crafty gaze and then swung his full attention back to his prime target. He put both hands in the small of his back and stretched. I caught a sour whiff of sweat.
“Got a back problem in the Army,” he said. “Full disability. Doctors could never put it right. Anyone ever asks you what’s wrong with the world, boys, you tell em it’s three things: Doctors, commies, and nigger radicals. Of the three, commies is the worst, closely followed by doctors. And if they want to know who told you, tell em Roland D. LeBay. Yessir.”
He touched the old, scuffed hood of the Plymouth with a kind of bemused love.
“This here is the best car I ever owned. Bought her in September 1957. Back then, that’s when you got your new model year, in September. All summer long they’d show you pictures of cars under hoods and cars under tarps until you were fair dyin t’know what they looked like underneath. Not like now.” His voice dripped contempt for the debased times he had lived to see. “Brand-new, she was. Had the smell of a brand-new car, and that’s about the finest smell in the world.”
“Except maybe for pussy.”
I looked at Arnie, nibbling the insides of my cheeks madly to keep from braying laughter all over everything. Arnie looked back at me, astounded. The old man appeared to notice neither of us; he was off on his own planet.
“I was in khaki for thirty-four years,” LeBay told us, still touching the hood of the car. “Went in at sixteen in 1923. I et dust in Texas and seen crabs as big as lobsters in some o them Nogales whoredens. I saw men with their guts comin out their ears during Big Two. In France I saw that. Their guts was comin out their ears. You believe that, son?”
“Yessir,” Arnie said. I don’t think he’d heard a word LeBay said. He was shifting from foot to foot as if he had to go to the bathroom bad. “About the car, though—”
“You go to the University?” LeBay barked suddenly. “Up there at Horlicks?”
“Nosir, I go to Libertyville High.”
“Good,” LeBay said grimly. “Steer clear of colleges. They’re full of niggerlovers that want to give away the Panama Canal. ‘Think-tanks,’ they call em. ‘Asshole-tanks,’ say I.”
He gazed fondly at the car sitting on its flat tire, its paintjob mellowing rustily in the late afternoon sunlight.
“Hurt my back in the spring of ’57,” he said. “Army was going to rack and ruin even then. I got out just in time. I came on back to Libertyville. Looked over the rolling iron. I took my time. Then I walked into Norman Cobb’s Plymouth dealership—where the bowling alley is now on outer Main Street—and I ordered this here car. I said you get it in red and white, next year’s model. Red as a fire-engine on the inside. And they did it. When I got her, she had a total of six miles on the odometer. Yessir.”
I glanced over Arnie’s shoulder at the odometer. The glass was cloudy, but I could read the damage all the same: 97,432. And six-tenths. Jesus wept.
“If you love the car so much, why are you selling it?” I asked.
He turned a milky, rather frightening gaze on me. “Are you cracking wise on me, son?”
I didn’t answer, but I didn’t drop my gaze either.
After a few moments of eye-to-eye duelling (which Arnie totally ignored; he was running a slow and loving hand over one of the back fins), he said, “Can’t drive anymore. Back’s gotten too bad. Eyes are going the same way.”
Suddenly I got it—or thought I did. If he had given us the correct dates, he was seventy-one. And at seventy, this state makes you start taking compulsory eye exams every year before they’ll renew your driver’s license. LeBay had either failed his eye exam or was afraid of failing. Either way, it came to the same thing. Rather than submit to that indignity, he had put the Plymouth up. And after that, the car had gotten old fast.
“How much do you want for it?” Arnie asked again. Oh, he just couldn’t wait to be slaughtered.
LeBay turned his face up to the sky, appearing to consider it for rain. Then he looked down at Arnie again and gave him a large, kindly smile that was far too much like the previous shit-eating grin for me.
“I’ve been asking three hundred,” he said. “But you seem a likely enough lad. I’ll make it two-fifty for you.”
“Oh my Christ,” I said.
But he knew who his sucker was, and he knew exactly how to drive the wedge in between us. In the words of my grandfather, he hadn’t fallen off a haytruck yesterday.
“Okay,” he said brusquely. “If that’s how you want it. I got my four-thirty story to watch. Edge of Night. Never miss it if I can help it. Nice chinning with you boys. So long.”
Arnie threw me such a smoking look of pain and anger that I backed off a step. He went after the old man and took his elbow. They talked. I couldn’t hear it all, but I could see more than enough. The old man’s pride was wounded. Arnie was earnest and apologetic. The old man just hoped Arnie understood that he couldn’t stand to see the car that had brought him through safe to his golden years insulted. Arnie agreed. Little by little, the old man allowed himself to be led back. And again I felt something consciously dreadful about him . . . it was as if a cold November wind could think. I can’t put it any better than that.
“If he says one more word, I wash my hands of the whole thing,” LeBay said, and cocked a horny, callused thumb at me.
“He won’t, he won’t,” Arnie said hastily. “Three hundred, did you say?”
“Yes, I believe that was—”
“Two-fifty was the quoted price,” I said loudly.
Arnie looked stricken, afraid the old man would walk away again, but LeBay was taking no chances. The fish was almost out of the pond now.
“Two-fifty would do it, I guess,” LeBay allowed. He glanced my way again, and I saw that we had an understanding—he didn’t like me and I didn’t like him.
To my ever-increasing horror, Arnie pulled his wallet out and began thumbing through it. There was silence among the three of us. LeBay looked on. I looked away at a little kid who was trying to kill himself on a puke-green skateboard. Somewhere a dog barked. Two girls who looked like eighth-or ninth-graders went past, giggling and holding clutches of library books to their blooming chests. I had only one hope left for getting Arnie out of this; it was the day before payday. Given time, even twenty-four hours, this wild fever might pass. Arnie was beginning to remind me of Toad, of Toad Hall.
When I looked back, Arnie and LeBay were looking at two fives and six ones—all that had been in his wallet, apparently.
“How about a check?” Arnie asked.
LeBay offered Arnie a dry smile and said nothing.
“It’s a good check,” Arnie protested. It would be, too. We had been working all summer for Carson Brothers on the I-376 extension, the one which natives of the Pittsburgh area firmly believe will never be really finished. Arnie sometimes declared that Penn-DOT had begun taking bids on the I-376 work shortly after the Civil War ended. Not that either of us had any right to complain; a lot of kids were either working for slave wages that summer or not working at all. We were making good money, even clocking some overtime. Brad Jeffries, the job foreman, had been frankly dubious about taking a kid like Arnie on, but had finally allowed that he could use a flagman; the girl he had been planning to hire had gotten herself pregnant and had run off to get married. So Arnie had started off flagging in June but had gotten into the harder work little by little, running mostly on guts and determination. It was the first real job he’d ever had, and he didn’t want to screw it up. Brad was reasonably impressed, and the summer sun had even helped Arnie’s erupting complexion a little. Maybe it was the ultraviolet.
“I’m sure it’s a good check, son,” LeBay said, “but I gotta make a cash deal. You understand.”
I didn’t know if Arnie understood, but I did. It would be too easy to stop payment on a local check if this rustbucket Plymouth threw a rod or blew a piston on the way home.
“You can call the bank,” Arnie said, starting to sound desperate.
“Nope,” LeBay said, scratching his armpit above the scabrous brace. “It’s going on five-thirty. Bank’s long since closed.”
“A deposit, then,” Arnie said, and held out the sixteen dollars. He looked positively wild. It may be that you’re having trouble believing a kid who was almost old enough to vote could have gotten himself so worked up over an anonymous old clunk in the space of fifteen minutes. I was having some trouble believing it myself. Only Roland D. LeBay seemed not to be having trouble with it, and I supposed it was because at his age he had seen everything. It was only later that I came to believe that his odd sureness might come from other sources. Either way, if any milk of human kindness had ever run in his veins, it had curdled to sour cream long ago.
“I’d have to have at least ten percent down,” LeBay said. The fish was out of the water; in a moment it would be netted. “If I had ten percent, I’d hold her for twenty-four hours.”
“Dennis,” Arnie said. “Can you loan me nine bucks until tomorrow?”
I had twelve in my own wallet, and no particular place to go. Day after day of spreading sand and digging trenches for culverts had done wonders when it came to getting ready for football practice, but I had no social life at all. Lately I hadn’t even been assaulting the ramparts of my cheerleader girlfriend’s body in the style to which she had become accustomed. I was rich but lonely.
“Come on over here and let’s see,” I said.
LeBay’s brow darkened, but he could see he was stuck with my input, like it or not. His frizzy white hair blew back and forth in the mild breeze. He kept one hand possessively on the Plymouth’s hood.
Arnie and I walked back toward where my car, a ’75 Duster, was parked at the curb. I put an arm around Arnie’s shoulders. For some reason I remembered the two of us up in his room on a rainy fall day when we were both no more than six years old—cartoons flickering on an ancient black-and-white TV as we colored with old Crayolas from a dented coffee can. The image made me feel sad and a little scared. I have days, you know, when it seems to me that six is an optimum age, and that’s why it only lasts about 7.2 seconds in real time.
“Have you got it, Dennis? I’ll get it back to you tomorrow afternoon.”
“Yeah, I’ve got it,” I said. “But what in God’s name are you doing, Arnie? That old fart has got total disability, for Christ’s sake. He doesn’t need the money and you’re not a charitable institution.”
“I don’t get it. What are you talking about?”
“He’s screwing you. He’s screwing you for the simple pleasure of it. If he took that car to Darnell’s, he couldn’t get fifty dollars for parts. It’s a piece of shit.”
“No. No, it isn’t.” Without the bad complexion, my friend Arnie would have looked completely ordinary. But God gives everyone at least one good feature, I think, and with Arnie it was his eyes. Behind the glasses that usually obscured them they were a fine and intelligent gray, the color of clouds on an overcast autumn day. They could be almost uncomfortably sharp and probing when something was going on that he was interested in, but now they were distant and dreaming. “It’s not a piece of shit at all.”
That was when I really began to understand it was more than just Arnie suddenly deciding he wanted a car. He had never even expressed an interest in owning one before; he was content to ride with me and chip in for gas or to pedal his three-speed. And it wasn’t as if he needed a car so he could step out; to the best of my knowledge Arnie had never had a date in his life. This was something different. It was love, or something like it.
I said, “At least get him to start it for you, Arnie. And get the hood up. There’s a puddle of oil underneath. I think the block might be cracked. I really think—”
“Can you loan me the nine?” His eyes were fixed on mine.
I gave up. I took out my wallet and gave him the nine dollars.
“Thanks, Dennis,” he said.
“Your funeral, man.”
He took no notice. He put my nine with his sixteen and went back to where LeBay stood by the car. He handed the money over and LeBay counted it carefully, wetting his thumb.
“I’ll only hold it for twenty-four hours, you understand,” LeBay said.
“Yessir, that’ll be fine,” Arnie said.
“I’ll just go in the house and write you out a receipt,” he said. “What did you say your name was, soldier?”
Arnie smiled a little. “Cunningham. Arnold Cunningham.”
LeBay grunted and walked across his unhealthy lawn to his back door. The outer door was one of those funky aluminum combination doors with a scrolled letter in the center—a big L in this case.
The door slammed behind him.
“The guy’s weird, Arnie. The guy is really fucking w—” But Arnie wasn’t there. He was sitting behind the wheel of the car. That same sappy expression was on his face.
I went around to the front and found the hood release. I pulled it, and the hood went up with a rusty scream that made me think of the sound effects you hear on some of those haunted-house records. Flecks of metal sifted down. The battery was an old Allstate, and the terminals were so glooped up with green corrosion that you couldn’t tell which was positive and which was negative. I pulled the air cleaner and looked glumly into a four-barrel carb as black as a mineshaft.
I lowered the hood and went back to where Arnie was sitting, running his hand along the edge of the dashboard over the speedometer, which was calibrated up to an utterly absurd 120 miles per hour. Had cars ever really gone that fast?
“Arnie, I think the engine block’s cracked. I really do. This car is lunch, my friend. It’s just total lunch. If you want wheels, we can find you something a lot better than this for two-fifty. I mean it. A lot better.”
“It’s twenty years old,” he said. “Do you realize a car is officially an antique when it’s twenty years old?”
“Yeah,” I said. “The junkyard behind Darnell’s is full of official antiques, you know what I mean?”
The door banged. LeBay was coming back. It was just as well; further discussion would have been meaningless. I may not be the world’s most sensitive human being, but when the signals are strong enough, I can pick them up. This was something Arnie felt he had to have, and I wasn’t going to talk him out it. I didn’t think anyone was going to talk him out of it.
LeBay handed him the receipt with a flourish. Written on a plain sheet of notepaper in an old man’s spidery and slightly trembling script was: Received from Arnold Cunningham, $25.00 as a 24-hr. deposit on 1958 Plymouth, Christine. And below that he had signed his name.
“What’s this Christine?” I asked, thinking I might have misread it or he might have misspelled it.
His lips tightened and his shoulders went up a little, as if he expected to be laughed at . . . or as if he were daring me to laugh at him. “Christine,” he said, “is what I always called her.”
“Christine,” Arnie said. “I like it. Don’t you, Dennis?”
Now he was talking about naming the damned thing. It was all getting to be a bit much.
“What do you think, Dennis, do you like it?”
“No,” I said. “If you’ve got to name it, Arnie, why don’t you name it Trouble?”
He looked hurt at that, but I was beyond caring. I went back to my car to wait for him, wishing I had taken a different route home.
What People are Saying About This
“Vintage King…breathtaking…awesome. Carries such momentum the reader must force himself to slow down.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Dazzlingly well-written.”—The Indianapolis Star
“Terrifying…King is a terrific storyteller.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Truly gripping…some of the best writing King has ever done…the master has returned with a vengeance.”—Publishers Weekly
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book along with "Pet Sematary" and "The Shining" are two of Stephen King's best novels. I already have "The Shining" on my Nook, but would really like to add "Christine" and "Pet Sematary" to my growing e-book library. Please make them available as e-books soon.
King has done it again! This book is OUTSTANDING, every little thing about it.. You'll fall in love with the characters and That Cherry-Red Plymouth Fury. It's got everything a true horror novel needs. The movie is also a must-see.
I found this to be one of Stephen Kings less descriptive novels. He quickly set the scenes characters and the plot and got things moving quickly. So quickly in fact that once it grabs a hold of you buckle up and enjoy your ride along with Arnie and Christine.I have read many of Mr. Kings works however only a few have I read more then once. This is one that I have. Other Stephen King books getting the second and some third reads are Salems Lot Firestarter Misery and The Shining. Mr. King is a wonderful author though at times he can get extremely descriptive.If you like horror then don't forget to read this book.
I'm rating tyhis hardback first a half-star higher because I see more clearly the writer's intent. Age comes and perspective changes.
By all rights, Christine shouldn't work. A haunted car? Are you kidding me?But it does work and it works very well. King pulls it off the way he makes all his outrageous shockers work. He grounds the supernatural shenanigans firmly in a narrative stocked with believable characters and the attention to every-day detail that gives me the ability to believe that a possessed '58 Plymouth Fury can drive on its own, hunting its enemies.Of course, Christine doesn't start the book stalking the streets, looking for prey. In the beginning she is a rusted out wreck, for sale in a weedy yard. Misfit Arnie Cunningham sees her and must buy her. His friend (and our narrator) Dennis Guilder tries to talk him out of it, but is rebuffed.Arnie hauls Christine to a garage and begins the restoration. Right off the bat, Christine has forced a wedge between Arnie and Dennis. She has also caused an uproar in the staid Cunningham family. And is it Dennis' imagination or is the web of cracks in Christine's windshield shrinking?Christine works because the killer car is not the sole focus of the tale. At times it could almost be an allegory for addiction as we start with a nice but troubled kid who gets into something beyond his control. At first Christine is actually good for Arnie, he gains self confidence, though friends could see he is heading for trouble. Before long though he is devoting all his time and money on her.This is a Stephen King tale though, so there is more going on than a teen causing upset within a family. There's a reason Christine's a Fury. She can strike down her enemies with great vengeance. The section of the book where that happens, the second section switches to third person narration and shows what Christine is capable of.One chapter, in which a bully named Buddy Repperton has a run-in (you¿ll pardon the pun) with Christine, is one of the single best pieces Stephen King has ever written. If you can put the book down midway through that twenty page chapter, you are stronger than me.It¿s just so well done. He manages to make Christine creep up not just on Buddy, but on me as a reader as well. When Christine attacks it is like something out of Jaws. Even though you as a reader know what is going to happen, King's writing keeps you glued to the pages, needing to find out how it will happen.The structure of the book did strike me as strange. It is broken into three large sections. The first and third section are narrated by Dennis Guilder. The second section is a third person omniscient narrator.I can understand the use of the two narrative styles. Dennis' sections made me feel personally involved and helped to give the story emotional weight. The second section of the book had to be written third person as there is now way Dennis could have known all the details required. So I understand it. But reading the book, it felt... inelegant. If we are reading the book as a record of something Dennis lived through, I wonder if the second section couldn't have been presented in an epistolary format. As if Dennis had pieced this section together from various accounts/newspaper sources/etc.Oh well. The narrative shifting aside, this was an excellent use of King's strengths. He managed to pack in the tension and scares of a horror story and invest them with the believability and depth of feeling to make me care about what would happen.He came to me with an idea that I never thought would fly and proved me wrong. Excellent book. Recommended.
It was one of the first novels that I've read and the most memorable one. Every page of the novel was a big joy.
This book is such an old and familiar favorite that it's hard to put a review together for some reason. This latest reading is either number 3 or 4 (probably) and while I remembered most of it, there was enough missing to give me some nice little jolts along the way (especially in the final garage scene).When it first came out I was 15 and it was the 3rd or 4th King book I read. I remember a lot of disdain over it not just because he was a "cheesy horror writer", but because the damn thing was about a haunted car. How hokey, right? Well in lesser hands it might have been. Putting it another way, Christine herself was just a vehicle for a larger, more poignant story (groan at the pun if you must).Like everything else he writes, Christine is about friendship and the many ways it can be threatened. The friendship at the nucleus of the novel is Dennis and Arnies's. In just about the best prologue I've ever read, Dennis explains a few things about the story he's going to relate, and also tells us about being friends with Arnie. At the opposite end of the book, in the epilogue, he says that while he thought about ditching his loser buddy, he never did because he needed Arnie to make him, Dennis, better. Between the ant farms, schlock horror movies, tree-forts, acne and mustard on Wonderbread sandwiches, there was real affection there. Later Dennis admits it was love. In my review for Duma Key I remarked that the narrative pulled me along, but I also dreaded it. Christine is the same way.At 350 pages, here's what I noted - Christine's killing spree is the least interesting part of the book for me. It's the indirect destruction that makes the story. Thinking about Dennis and Arnie and their friendship, now in its death throes. Arnie and his parents' somewhat unhealthy, but functioning, family unit is also in shambles. Then there's Arnie and Leigh; what could have been is more painful that what truly was. Lastly, Arnie and Christine, under a few layers of delusion Arnie knows what she's doing to him. He's not surprised when LeBay shows up to cruise. He wants out, but she won't let him.Dennis does what he can, but in the end Christine has her way. We aren't given explanations; her malevolence just is like the moon. Dennis himself is an unlikely teenager; thoughtful, modest, supportive, but makes for a good hero. He's likable, decisive and has a good heart. People naturally turn to him to help protect Arnie and he almost takes up his Knight persona without complaint. Was his football injury Christine's doing? The way things spiraled out of control while he was sidelined sure makes it seem like it. It was funny that he ended up a teacher, it's like a tic with King, making everyone a teacher.The supporting cast is perfectly pitched. We have Arnie & Dennis's families; Dennis's definitely the more average clan complete with a mildly antagonistic sibling relationship (I think King was fantasizing his perfect relationship there), while Arnie's hyper-competitive mother Regina rules hers in a take-no-prisoners kind of way which does not bode well. Dennis is a BMOC and always coming to Arnie's side to fight his tormentors. The name Buddy Repperton is a hard one to forget. He encapsulates the perfect teenage, American thug. Hard drinking, hard driving, domineering and dull-witted. Arnie stood no chance, but managed to stay alive with Dennis to help. Once Christine decided to pitch in though, the tables were most thoroughly turned. In one of the best set up scenes in the book, she stalks Buddy like a tiger, moves in for the kill and then like many a cat, plays with him a while before finishing him off. The emotional tension of those lights in his rear-view mirror is almost unbearable, but in a delicious way. Buddy is such a villain that we want him gone, even if it's Christine doing the getting. Even crusty old Will Darnell grows on you despite your better judgment.On the surface it might seem a silly tale, a haunted car, whoopee; but this is o
Christine is not one of Stephen King's greatest works by any means, but it is still a good story with moments of real suspense and terror. I feel that one of King's biggest short-comings with this novel was having the tale told by a future Dennis. To me, this takes away a lot of suspense from some of the most tense scenes in the book because the reader is being told the tale by a character who is involved in a near-death experience, therefore revealing that the narrator survived his experience. As far as I'm concerned, one of the things that makes reading a King novel so compelling is that as a reader one can never be entirely sure which characters (if any) will survive whatever ordeal they happen to be faced with. By having one of the main characters narrate the tale, King has taken away the uncertainty about whether or not Dennis will survive.Other than that qualm, the only other nit that I have to pick with Christine is that at times the narrative gets a bit long winded. In my opinion, this novel is perhaps 100 to 150 pages longer than it really should have been. I enjoy Kings rambling style and long winding road to the climax, but some smart editing here and there could have tightened this tale up considerably and really improved the vehicle (pun intended) of building up the sheer terror of the story.All in all, though, this is a really good tale about friendship, love and the forces of evil that appear to shatter all that is good.
Some good writing, but borders on the silly at times.
I personally did like the book. Stephen King is an amazing (AMAZING) horror writer and I enjoy most of his works. It a bit slow but, if you read more it becomes fast paced. This book is a thriller about a 1950 cherry red Plymouth Fury who is possessed. I know but King really pulls it off. I'm a Herbie fanatic and I thought this book was like MADE FOR ME! There is times of love, times of suspense, and times of pure crazy. Christine takes geeker Arnie to care all about the car and is very jealous when he kisses Leigh. This book is very driven dangerous Christine and beautiful Leigh butt heads when geeky Arnie and football buff Dennis do. It's interesting and quite a read.Must have?Depends, if you like Herbie or posessed cars...No, really it's a great read for about anyone.- Paulina
This isn't my favorite by a long-shot of King's novels. I'd name The Shining and Salem's Lot as his scariest, It (despite all its many flaws) the most moving and Cujo the most harrowing among those novels by King I've read. Unusual among the King novels I've read because much of it--the first and third parts--are told first person by Dennis, a friend of Arnie, a teen who will come to possess--and be possessed--by "Christine"--a red Plymouth Fury--a demonic automobile. That might sound cheesy--and that certainly describes the laughably bad movie made from the novel, that evokes nervous laughter in parts which should be moving. The novel is better--readable and affecting in parts, with well-developed characters and an unusual monster in a crazy killer car. I remember finding Arnie's deterioration poignant and scary. But somehow the book doesn't for me hold together as well as other King books I've enjoyed. Maybe because the supernatural rationale doesn't seem as logical as most. I know--possessed cars logical? But I didn't like the connection with LeBay. One review I read on Amazon put a finger on part of why it was unsatisfying. In the book the car magically fixes itself rather than Arnie being the one to fix it. The reviewer said he would have thought it more effective if Arnie had put in the work and not just devotion--that then in a sense Christine would be returning the favor in protecting him. A review (not sure if the same one) also said they thought it a disconnect to give the car a feminine name and personality and then have it possessed by a male ghost. King often fashions his horrors out of real-life. And given the horror is composed of the love affair of a boy and his car, I think those criticisms are on the money.
Never really grabbed me. I found the story slow and dull, and not particularly terrifying. No where near as good as some of his other stuff. I was tempted to put it down several time.
This was the first 'adult' book I ever read. I remember loving every page.
Took me a bit to get into this - chapter 8 at least, but once I did I liked it far more than I thought I would - mostly b/c I had unfond memories of the movie. There are some Stephen King books that are so riveting that I can't put it down and end up being sleep deprived for a week - the Stand comes to mind. This was not it. It wasn't that compelling. It was really good though. Dennis, the loser of his high school, falls in love with a homicidal possessed car. Now, if that sounds nuts, it is. Through in a real girl, a great best friend, a maniacal old man, and you have yourself a horror novel. It's funny though because now that I'm an adult and a parent, I think I felt much more for the horrors that the parents experienced in this book than I did for Dennis himself.
Started off slow. Ending was great
One of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I felt safer watching the film than reading about it! King's classic nightmare story is a one-way path to hell. A people-crushing car, Christine is old and rickety--at first--but more alive and evil than the darkest of human beings. Thankfully, we have Dennis to ride with. He is an eighteen-year-old laid-back guy, easy to talk to, yet smart enough to play it safe with Arnie, his very best friend since the beginning of grade school who, gradually at first and then scarily quickly, falls victim to the car's possessive powers. You know something's not quite right when Arnie insists on buying the clunker and then devotes nearly all his time to it, but the way things go is slowly unnerving. Yet, it isn't until the last third of the novel that you just about jump out of your skin as everything culminates into a frightful collision course. I had to wait to finish this book until someone was at home--there was no way I was going to read it all alone!
My first steven king book and i loved it! The suspense was amazing. This book is horrifying and full of suspense. Great book to read for middle school readers! # read christine
Yes I'm a Stephen King fan and this book is just another reason why. This book was a million times better than the movie but a lot was still the same. The reason I loved this so much is because though the car should be the primary focus, King doesn't let you lose sight of the importance of the friendship between Arnie and Dennis. This was just a really good book. It was thick, but not nearly as big as a lot of other Stephen King books. There was also a lot of point of view switching, but somehow King kept things smooth without confusing, or even annoying the reader. It was so GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!
he is a master at weaving their stories together. Christine spends so much time droning on about the few characters involved that I actually didn't care for any of them deeply. I had no real liking for anyone; they could have all died and I wouldn't have been surprised and Christine/Roland D. LeBay didn't instill any terror in me as the villain. Nothing of particular note stands out in this one for me. It was readable but too slow and drawn out for my tastes. The ending to this book though is different from previous ones to this point as while there is a finite ending, much more so than ever before there is a real impression that the evil still exists and more of the story is out there to be told. I always look for connections while reading with King's multiverse, but didn't find anything related to previous books here.
I liked this book. It's not outstanding, and I wouldn't read it again (too many other King books to read), but I enjoyed it and had no major complaints.
This book was for my brother. I originally read it when it first came out. My copy is so old I'll probably buy a new one when the 30th anniversary book comes out.
My first Stephen King novel and I was not disappointed great story line better than the movie allot more substance to the story in contrast with the film more suspense in my mind than horror awesome book.