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

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,940 Ratings  ·  247 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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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve
For many people, Christmas isn't Christmas unless you sit down to watch the "A Christmas Story" on TBS on Christmas Eve. We all know the classic lines: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." "Oh, fuuuddgge!" "He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny!" "I triple-DOG dare ya!" You might be surprised that only one of these phrases actually came from this book.

The book, like the movie, is the quintessential look at life in Depression-era Upper Midwest America. Back before the internet invaded our lives, bac
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Jessica
Dec 09, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Suzy
I love Jean Shepherd's reminiscences on his childhood in the steel mill country of northern Indiana. This grouping of stories, originally published in In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, were cobbled together to create the script for the classic 1983 movie A Christmas Story. Watching this has become an annual ritual for many of us. Shepherd's humor is laugh out loud and his writing is so vivid that you can picture the scene even if you've never seen the movie. If you are a fan of the movie, re ...more
Linda
Dec 15, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas, bio-memoir
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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Jennifer
Dec 14, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin Cataldi
Nov 15, 2015 Erin Cataldi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stout-stories
Simply the best Christmas tale. Why did I wait so long to read this?! I grew up loving the movie and being proud that it was written by a Hoosier who lovingly wrote about where I grew up (the "region"). Reading this collection of short stories (taken from another short story collection by Jean Shepherd) that inspired the cult classic Christmas movie, I was in awe of how truly funny it was. I literally laughed out loud on multiple occasions much to the annoyance of my cats. I can't praise it enou ...more
Kathy Worrell  ツ
I hate to admit this, but I think "A Christmas Story"the movie, is better than the book. I know, quite a rarity, but in my humble opinion, true.

Jean Shepherd wrote these five unrelated novellas. Someone then took them, poured them all into a bowl, stirred them around, and out popped a heck of a good movie.
Sara
I'm reading this again for the holidays. I love this book!
Tahleen
Dec 20, 2010 Tahleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny-books, essays
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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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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Mary
3rd read: 12/25/15
2nd read: 12/25/14
1st read: 12/25/13

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 cre
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Sarah Sammis
Oct 06, 2008 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Jean
Jan 03, 2009 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Hilda
Dec 13, 2014 Hilda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Juliette Simpson
A Christmas Story, by Jean Shepherd is a funny book about a boy named Ralph.

Ralph just wants to have fun. This Christmas, he thinks, I will get a red rider BB gun. When he finds out that there is no possible way he'll get it, he tries harder and harder. Through funny mistakes and possibilities Ralph makes his way to Christmas morning, hoping for the best.


I loved the movie, so when I saw this book I just needed it. Although some scenes or moments seemed out of place, I still loved it. I recommend
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Allison Brown
Dec 11, 2015 Allison Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book supports the movie.

There are events that happen in the book that will slightly change how I view the film now; Adding to Ralphie's story in a good way.

I could visualize Jean Shepherd narrating throughout my reading since Shepherd's voice (same voice narrating in the movie)... is so distinct.

If you love the movie - definitely read the book.
Jenna (Bookiemoji)
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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Heath
Dec 14, 2014 Heath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kersten
Jan 03, 2011 Kersten rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This was a fun read, some of the stories are slightly different than the movie, and honestly I think the movie is more enjoyable just because it is so fast passed and keeps things going. Though I am interested in reading more of Shepherd's work,
Denny Patterson
"A Christmas Story" is my all time favorite holiday movie. Christmas hasn't begun until TBS starts it's 24-hour marathon. So, I was a little surprised when I read this. Not only is this basically a collection of essays, but a lot of the popular scenes and phrases in the movie are not within the book's content. Yes, we have the red rider bb gun, the leg lamp, the Bumpuses, but Hollywood added in a lot of familiar details. In addition, the book's timeline isn't set only in December leading up to C ...more
William Redd
Dec 30, 2013 William Redd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novelizations
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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Lance Eaton
Sep 28, 2015 Lance Eaton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-09
The less serious pick of the month is one that I'm betting most people did not even know was a book first. Most people know A Christmas Story for the classic 1983 film that many of us relish watching around the holidays. Some may even know that it's a musical now too. But most, never knew it was a book first.

I really enjoyed the book. It's a collection of short stories rather than one singular text like the film and it's easy to see how they turned it into a film so seamlessly. It's not a case o
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Brad Barker
Jan 14, 2015 Brad Barker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
I just finished this book again, probably for the 10th time. Well, maybe not 10 times fully, as usually I read the first story which is the basis for the movie of the same name. As with other Christmas traditions in my family, I enjoy this audiobook every year. This year however, I made the effort to finish the rest of the book, as I may or may not do from one year to the next. If you're a fan of the movie, I believe you'll enjoy this book, although it should be noted that the book isn't an adap ...more
Howard McEwen
Dec 09, 2012 Howard McEwen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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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Delta
Jan 28, 2016 Delta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tower-teams-iv, 2016
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The story was nostalgic and charming. What I didn't like was the audio version of the story. Dick Cavett was monotone and the pacing was slow. But it was the audio production that got to me. It was so unnecessary and loud in some places. Plus, it was distracting when overlaying Cavett's monotone narration.
Jim
Dec 06, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
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
Dec 01, 2009 rytr_1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
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
Dec 25, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Droid16
Oct 03, 2015 Droid16 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Consistently funny, heartwarming and unique in its tone.
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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.
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