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A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film
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A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,216 ratings  ·  175 reviews
A beloved, bestselling classic of humorous and nostalgic Americana—the book that inspired the equally classic Yuletide film.

The holiday film A Christmas Story, first released in 1983, has become a bona fide Christmas perennial, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. Its affectionate, wacky, and wryly realistic portrayal of an American family’s typical Chris
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ebook, 144 pages
Published October 27th 2010 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,072)
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Linda
Every scene of the 1983 holiday film A Christmas Story is so thoroughly etched in my mind that I thought reading the story would be a bit of a letdown. Usually I'll read the book and skip the movie - such is not the case here - the movie finds its way into everyone's heart. "You'll shoot your eye out, kid," rings as clear as Ebeneezer Scrooge's "Bah, Humbug." Or maybe you just need to be a kid from the 50's to appreciate the pull of the Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range-model air rifle.

I p
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Jessica
The essays used as the basis for A CHRISTMAS STORY, as howlingly funny as anything in the film. A great little Christmas read, for fans of the film or simply for fans of great comic writing.

Reread, 2014: 6yo daughter has watched the movie every day since Thanksgiving, so I busted out the book in a day. Every year I think, I need to get his other books!
Tahleen
Most of you will recognize this title as one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. Okay, some of you might not agree with it being one of the greatest, since I know there are people out there who don't like it. But in my family it is a classic and we always have whatever channel is playing it for 24 hours on when we open presents on Christmas morning. I could quote it all day.

Even if you don't LIKE it, you are probably familiar with the story. 9-year-old Ralphie Parker wants an official
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Jennifer
When I found out that A Christmas Story, one of my favorite Christmas movies, was based on books written by Jean Shepherd I immediately went to my library and checked one out. I loved reading about the hijinks of his childhood. This book got me thinking about the quirkiness of all families and made me think about viewing some of my own family quirks (like our Norwegian Code of Silence) with humor instead of annoyance, embarrassment, etc. Kind of weird that I got a lesson out of a book that is me ...more
Michael
It may seem strange to listen to the audio book of "A Christmas Story" in January. Chalk it up to my learning a lesson from "A Christmas Carol" and keeping the spirit of Christmas in my heart all the year round. Or more to the fact that it was in at the library and I've alway been kind of curious to read/hear the original material that served as the basis for the popular Christmas movie.

It's always interesting to go back to the source material for something after becoming familar with it in anot
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Jean
This was a lot of fun, considering how we watch this movie many, many times each Christmas. It is a collection of essays that the movie was drawn from, so there are a few favorite scenes from the movie you won't find in the book and some scenes from the movie more fleshed out in the book. You could even pinpoint some of the great lines from the movie. The best part was the chapter on the Bumpuses which went into much more detail than the movie. The aftermath of the Lamp Incident had me in stitch ...more
Jenna Does Books
While a very nicely written and classic-sounding audio book, this is one case where I say "WATCH THE MOVIE." The familiar movie plot is all here as originally intended, but there's just something about that wide-eyed, bespectacled young boy and the interweaving comedic plot that works better on screen.

- The movie narrator is superior. Albeit the audio book reader is good, too, adequately speaking of a time lost to modern children.
- The movie feels more Christmas-y (Maybe b/c it IS more Christma
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William Redd
This book is a collection of short stories taken from the larger collection In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd. These are the stories taken from In God We Trust to create A Christmas Story, the movie that has become a Christmas staple. One day, I intend to read the original book, but I picked this one up cheap at a bookstore so I could have at least part of it. Might make reading this a Christmas tradition as well.

My first interaction with the stories in this collection was in
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Sara
I'm reading this again for the holidays. I love this book!
Mary
I love Christmas. The gifts, the food and spending time with family. One thing I look forward to each year is watching "A Christmas Story" - usually multiple times to the annoyance of said family.

In this year's stocking, my husband gave me a copy to read. So, on Christmas day, I spent a few hours with Jean Shepherd and his family.

Mr. Shepherd wrote several essays about his life in lower middle class America. These essays were compiled and created the screenplay for the movie. While the movie act
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Howard McEwen
I’ve had my fill of Christmas and it’s only the ninth of December!

The reason is after years of promising myself, I finally read Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. And my book club selection was A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film by Jean Shepard. The first created our modern Christmas. The second, well, the second was the basis for a gag-filled, funny movie. Both are touchstones of modern, American Christmases

I’m not a Dickens fan but in reading these two short
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Skylar Burris
I've watched A Christmas Story nearly every year since I was about ten, but until now, I had never read the collection of short stories upon which it is based. This book contains five short stories that were seamlessly integrated by the author to create the screenplay for A Christmas Story. Some passages were used line for line for the narration, and consequently I couldn't help but hear the movie narrator's voice as I read.

The narrator in these stories does indeed have a very distinctive voice
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Sarah Sammis
05/15/07
A Christmas Story is a series of semi-autobiographical short stories by humorist Jean Shepherd. They were first published in Playboy in the mid 1960s. These stories were later put together to make the very funny film of the same title in 1983. The book in its current form was published posthumously in 2003.

The short stories which now act as chapters are:

* "Duel in the Snow, or the Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid"
* "The Counterfeit Secret Circle Member Gets the Message, or the
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Heath
Can't believe it took me this many years to read the book on which my favorite Christmas movie is based. Like the movie, this is an utterly charming, cozy, and familiar novel brimming with nostalgia and the omnipresent joy and wonder of the Christmas season in kiddom.
Jim
This is one of the rare cases in which the movie is miles better than the book. For one thing, although the movie was theoretically set in Northern Indiana, what it showed was the Cleveland of my youth, including Public Square, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and the legendary Christmas toy displays in the windows of Higbee's Department Store.

That said, Jean Shepherd is interesting enough a comic writer that I would like to read some other of his works. In a way, A Christmas Story is cobbled
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rytr_1
Well, that was a lot of fun, as I knew it would be. I listened to the unabridged audiobook, read by Dick Cavett, who did a great job with it. This is not a scene-by-scene adaptation of the 1983 movie, but a selection of short stories that formed the basis of it. You get the Red Ryder air rifle, the fight with the bully, the parental battle over the lamp, and more. The sound effects and music are a nice touch, complementing the narrative without intruding upon it. Only regret: there is no sign of ...more
Dave
This is a compilation of four short stories by Jean Shepherd that made up the majority of the movie "A Christmas Story", though not all stories take place near Christmas (the movie changed the timing). The stories cover the Red Rider BB gun, Lil Orphan Annie Decoder Pin, Bullies, and the Bumpasses. It's a very funny collection of stories told in flashback of a young boy in Northern Indiana during the Depression. Fans of the movie should like this book.
Jennifer Lafferty
These short stories, which provided the basis for the popular holiday movie classic "A Christmas Story" are all very witty, clever and charmingly nostalgic! Jean Shepherd was a brilliant humorist.
Hilda
I'm a huge fan of the movie, it's an integral part of my Christmas tradition, so I was happy to read this book.

Shepherd's writing style is lovely, a combination of comfortable and sarcastic. The movie stuck pretty closely to the book, with a couple of minor changes to make it more holiday specific, so a lot was very familiar.

There wasn't a lot of character development, but I saw this more as almost sketch writing rather than story-telling, so that's OK. His language and descriptions however, we
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Kellyanne Lynch
The blasphemy and the hatred toward the Bumpuses (and people from Kentucky in general) really spoiled the book. About the last third of the book was steeped in hatred. It took all the mirth out of earlier tales and may well have spoiled the movie for me, unless I'm able to forget the book. Great scenes from the movie are also not int he book, like the exaggerated "Ho! Ho! Ho!", Flick's tongue getting stuck to the flag pole, and ALL of the wonderful Randy moments. Also, I'm not sure why this was ...more
La Coccinelle
I don't tend to read a lot of holiday-themed books. Even if I do, I usually end up reading them months away from the relevant holiday. I bought A Christmas Story last year when I found it for a good price, decided I would read it before Christmas rolled around again, and promptly forgot about it. I remembered I had it in my TBR pile just in time!

A Christmas Story is one of my favourite Christmas movies, so I was really curious to read the book. Although the book is comprised of five unrelated sh
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Seth Heasley
I'm just going to assume that you've seen A Christmas Story on TBS at some point. If you haven't, just tune to TBS (if you have cable, which I don't) on Christmas Eve, and you'll see it. Trust me. It's worth your time.

A little more than a year ago, I noticed a small book at Barnes & Noble on their Holiday Books display, titled A Christmas Story. Could I pass it up? Well, yes, I could. But I requested it from the library. Unfortunately, it didn't come through for me until January. So I return
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Stephanie Benson
Disclaimer: I listened to this instead of actually reading it.

To get in the mood of the Christmas spirit, I thought it would be perfect to read "A Christmas Story." It's movie counterpart is definitely more famous and ingrained in my mind since I was 5 years old. I was definitely hesitant about reading a book whose film has become so iconic.

In my opinion, this is one case where the movie is better than the book. While I thought the author wrote extremely well and his descriptions were so vivid,
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Jack
It was hard to rate this book. I'm too close to the movie. Like many people, I've been watching A Christmas Story at least once a year for as long as I can remember. As such, I'm not in a very good position to rate this book. But I wanted to read the stories, and the adaptation of books to film has long been an interest of mine.

First of all, it is really hard to read this and not pick out iconic lines you remember from the movie. Likewise, it is hard to have an objective view point on things tha
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Judy
I wish that I had read the book before I saw the film. Isn't that a constant refrain among readers? Anyway, I was sorting through books setting aside a mound of them to take to the Friends of the Library used book sale when I came upon this little jewel. I couldn't bear to give it away without reading it one more time. Ah, the memories. This good is a collection of some of Jean Shepherd's autobiographical writings that have been collected from a variety of sources. The tales of a boy growing up ...more
Mandy
The classic movie, A Christmas Story is not only my favorite Christmas movie, but one of my favorite movies of all time. Hands down, our family’s best Christmas tradition is our annual watching of A Christmas Story on Christmas Day. We started out with a VHS copy about 20 years ago, eventually graduated to the DVD version and it just doesn’t feel like Christmas Day until we’ve all settled on the couch to watch the classic movie.

A Christmas Story is a compilation of five stories by writer and rad
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Jason
Dec 21, 2013 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: humor lovers
Recommended to Jason by: My mother got it for me, but had never read it, so... I don't know that anyone did
Jean Shepherd wrote a series of semi-autobiographical essays, and put them in a collection entitled In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash in 1966. Four of those essays, and one other that was published in Playboy also in 1966, were used to make the now classic movie A Christmas Story. I've never read any of Shepherd's stuff before, and was hesitant to dive into the whole God We Trust book because while I'm a fan of humorous essays, diving into a large collection of them is asking a bit much, espe ...more
Colleen
We've owned this book for many years and given how much I love the movie (yes, I've even toured the house where they filmed it in Cleveland, Ohio), I'm surprised I haven't gotten around to reading it sooner. I hate to say this, since I love Jean Shepherd, but I don't think I was missing much. Not that it wasn't funny. I think that Shepherd did a wonderful job of tying these separate essays together to create a memorable screenplay for the movie. But the book is missing the cohesion and flow of t ...more
Steven
This book was a little disappointing--I actually believe that the film version is better in several respects. First, the unity of the story in the film--it's entirely a "Christmas Story" (mild spoiler alert here)--in the book the "turkey episode" actually deals with a ham and the event takes place at Easter. Also there was considerable ink spent on the hillbilly neighbors, the Bumpus's--which never appear in the film at all (only their dogs). Their absence from the film removes a considerable po ...more
Richard Kelly
Jul 13, 2012 Richard Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the movie
Fun book. Fun movie. They are very similar. Now I am not sure how good the books really was because I have such fond memories of the movie. So reading the book was more nostalgic than feeling excitement for hearing a new story. This is really more along the lines of a collection of short stories that feature the same characters. You have the BB gun story, the leg lamp story, the decoder story, the bully story, the new neighbors, and the Easter Ham. I'm not sure if the last two stories were in th ...more
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Was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep. With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is best known to modern audiences for the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated and co-scripted, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.
More about Jean Shepherd...
In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters A Fistful of Fig Newtons The Ferrari in the Bedroom Shep's Army: Bummers, Blisters, & Boondoggles

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