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Christine est belle, racée, séduisante.

Elle aime les sensations fortes, les virées nocturnes et le rock n'roll des années héroïques. Depuis qu'elle connaît Arnie, elle est amoureuse. Signe particulier : Christine est une Plymouth « Fury », sortie en 1958 des ateliers automobiles de Detroit.

Une seule rivale en travers de sa route : Leigh, la petite amie d'Arnie…
Ce roman légendaire de Stephen King, rythmé par la musique de Chuck Berry et de Janis Joplin, a déjà pris place parmi les classiques de l'épouvante.

411 pages, Paperback

First published April 29, 1983

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About the author

Stephen King

2,529 books828k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,954 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,852 followers
April 4, 2023
Wanna be taken on a final ride on the highway to hell?

(Big)Boys and their toys
An average King, focusing on the relationship between teenage boys and cars, something often fetishized and, with other hobbies, leading to lifelong obsessions and special interests of many males. Of course, because it are boys and later man, there is also something pathological, if not somewhat sexual, because males just can´t do something without mental issues or erections.

Coming of age with much horsepower
The teenage drama outsider setting and the underlying question of why consumerism and status symbols won´t go out of fashion soon make it a King work in the line of novels he seemingly didn´t really invest that much finetuning in. That´s mostly the case if there is just one complex character vs a problem or the world with no metaplot and no fascinating, inner struggles. In contrast, his best novels have two or multiple character perspectives and sometimes even something like a premise and deeper meaning that must have suddenly appeared while he let the characters tell the story or, although he would never admit that because he likes to rant about planners, secretly plotted, planned, and storyboarded a bit.

Just if you´re into it
How enjoyable the novel can be is again highly subjective, just as Cujo might be a great read for dog enthusiasts, Christine is something for the car maniac feeling more than the usual pride about a fancy new vehicle, more driving the route towards developing unhealthy fixation and fetishism for a pile of metal. I am also not sure if this special group might not find it more appealing than horrifying what happens in this story. Not just the gore, but this intimate relationship, the human car fusion in the tradition of primitive, steampunk cyborg love that was maybe

Inspired by King being pretty high and drunk in the 80s
Cujo is one of his really bad works from that time, others are ingenious, and Christine is somewhere in the middle. It could have been accelerated with some storytelling nitro and finetuning, but King didn´t just produce en masse without care, his own fuel consumption immensely influenced the quality of his work. He freaking wrote Different Seasons, Pet Semetary, and It in this time period. What a freaking high titan of literature.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Kerstin.
13 reviews40 followers
July 19, 2007
I have a real guilty-pleasure, love/love realtionship with Stephen King books. I don't care how literarily unhip that is. Christine 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.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,985 followers
March 30, 2020
I am very excited to have finished this book! Future Matthew may look back and wonder why this is. So, for historical reference, this is the first book I have finished since the Coronavirus panic began. It is now Monday, March 30th and the last time I finished a book was Saturday, March 14th – and even the rest of March before that was slow because the panic was on its way! I am pretty sure this is the longest I have gone between finishing a book since joining Goodreads in 2012. I just haven’t been able to focus on reading at all. Two things helped with this one – it was a reread and it was an audiobook.

I do like these classic Stephen King novels. This one is not my favorite by any stretch, but it is so well known and truly embodies 80s era King. I wouldn’t suggest anyone start their King adventure here, but it is not a bad read if you have tried a few others already. As you may know, King has had a few demonic automobiles in his time (and even inspired his offspring to take after him with NOS4A2), but this is where it all began. A reread was a good idea because I have forgotten so much, even some of the biggest plot points like . I think that overall it was not quite as tight as some of his other early books – it drug in parts and that kind of made me think a bit of Firestarter, which is his lowest rated early novel for me – but once you get through the parts that drag, it’s a hell of a ride.

This book may also have the dubious honor of having a movie made of it that is better than the book. I am sure that there are many out there who will not agree with me, but, man, the John Carpenter movie is some really great 80s horror cheese. I remember watching this movie over and over again in my teen years. If you love the movie, you may not care as much for the book or if you thought the book was just so-so, don’t let that keep you from watching the movie!

Or, if you are lucky, you will love both!
Profile Image for Matt.
936 reviews28.6k followers
October 24, 2020
“I put my hands on the wheel and something happened…Even now, after much thought, I’m not sure exactly what it was. A vision, maybe – but if it was, it sure wasn’t any big deal. It was just that for a moment the torn upholstery seemed to be gone. The seat covers were whole and smelling pleasantly of vinyl…or maybe that smell was real leather. The worn places were gone from the steering wheel; the chrome winked pleasantly in the summer evening light falling through the garage door…Let’s go for a ride, big guy, Christine seemed to whisper in the hot summer silence…Let’s cruise…”
- Stephen King, Christine

The huge advantage to having come to realize Stephen King’s genius so belatedly is that I have a massive back catalogue to peruse. Without any great hurry, I’ve been picking off his novels – most of them classics – one or two per year. Even at this languid pace, however, I feel like I’ve completed the top layer, the crème de la crème of the King canon. Now I have to think a little bit harder about what I want to read next.

In all honesty, I did not feel any urgency to crack the covers of Christine. The story of a killer car, possessed of some kind of demonic force, did not tickle my fancy. Indeed, after seeing the film version, I thought the concept kind of silly. What’s so scary? I thought. Just get off the street! (Which is a tactic the characters in the film did not take to heart).

But I have learned to trust King, and even though nothing about Christine really interested me, I decided to take his 1983 tale about a 1958 Plymouth Fury for a spin.

Boy, is it good!

Despite being 526-pages long (gratuitous book-lengths being a King specialty), this is a stripped-down story. A love triangle, if you will, where boy loves girl, girl loves boy, and boy really loves car, irritating girl.

There are only four main characters: Dennis Guilder (a jock with a sensitive side); Arnie Cunningham (a pizza-faced outcast who is best friends with the loyal Dennis); Leigh Cabot (the pretty new girl at school who, for some reason, takes a shine to Arnie); and the titular Christine (a beat-up red-over-white Fury with personality).

We open with Dennis introducing us to his best friend, Arnie, a smart high-schooler hounded by bullies and his overbearing parents, with few friends, save Dennis. Within the first few pages, Arnie sees the rusting hulk of a car named Christine, and falls impossibly in love with it.

Or her.

With little logic or forethought, Arnie buys the car, starts to fix her up, and grows slowly obsessed with the vehicle, alienating everyone else in his life. At first, the fixation seems annoying, but relatively harmless. Soon, though, strange things start to happen. (It should not spoil anything to say that some of those things are deadly. This is Stephen King, after all). There are hints that Christine has certain powers, both over her own chassis, wheels, and windshield, and over the minds of others.

Christine is divided into three parts. Parts I and III are narrated in the first-person by Dennis; the middle section is told in the third-person.

Whatever the perspective, the prose is classic King. His Tarantino-esque penchant for pop-cultural references is on full display, especially the careful curation of rock-and-roll standbys that are quoted throughout.

Being classic King, I will add, is not always a good thing. If you have followed King throughout his career, he has a few nasty tics that carry over from one project to the next. It is one thing to rail on fat people and make incestuous observations; it is another thing to do this in multiple novels. At a certain point, it feels pathological. (In short: part of the reason this is 526-pages long is Dennis making weird asides about his sister’s breasts and his parents’ lovemaking).

King is known for creating his own hermetically sealed world in Maine, where Castle Rock, Jerusalem’s Lot, and Shawshank Prison exist across several titles. Christine is set in Libertyville, Pennsylvania, which is not the usual King stomping grounds. Nevertheless, he makes it real, and he makes it his own, right down to the detailed descriptions of every highway, road, and side-street.

Christine is set in 1978, and part of the fun for me is nostalgia for a time shortly predating my birth and childhood. Rock music is edgy, there are brown-sugar sandwiches for dinner, and people drink milk for refreshment (which is gross). Hand-in-hand with this Mayberry-like innocence is the shadow of Vietnam, the Arab oil embargo, and a country not entirely sure of its place in the world.

Typically, I do not like the supernatural. King’s novels work for me because he labors overtime to ground the fantastical in a believable reality so potent that you often forget the otherworldly aspect completely. It should go without saying that he accomplishes this feat in Christine.

The best pieces of art operate on multiple levels. That is especially true with King. For instance, his masterpiece, Pet Sematary, is not simply a spine-tingler about an Indian burial ground where dead things come back to life, but probably the best book ever written about death and loss.

In Christine, there is plenty of mayhem and graphic violence and a mystery with evil at the core of the riddle. Yet within these pages there is also a serious meditation on longing and desire, on growing up and losing yourself.

I was going to be a senior in high school next month, and…when school started again it meant the end of a long, quiet phase of my life. I was getting ready to be a grown-up…And I think I understood…that what really scares people about growing up is that you stop trying on the life-mask and start trying on another one. If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die…

King is the type of author who we will only fully appreciate once he is gone, and we start to look back over his output. It will suddenly occur to literary critics that they can’t name three Pulitzer Prize-winners, but they can name ten King novels they’ve treasured forever.

Christine is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. In many ways, the whole idea – a sentient car – is absolutely implausible, ludicrous, even laughable. However, in King’s utterly confident hands, it draws you in entirely. The goofy central conceit, the dated references, the contrived endgame, should have made this a joke. At best, Christine should have been filed on the so-bad-it’s-good shelf.

Instead, it is pure entertainment. Instead, it is unforgettable.
Profile Image for Annemarie.
250 reviews698 followers
July 23, 2019
I went into this book thinking I'd be giving it a high rating, and considering it was written by Stephen King - my favourite author - I'm not surprised at all that I was proven to be correct.

I feel like theoretically, this story could have been told in a much smaller amount of pages. After all, the premise isn't too complicated and it would have bee easy to rattle through all the events, just with the simple purpose of telling a scary story. But of course, Stephen King being Stephen King made this entire thing a lot more than a simple horror story and added a lot more depth to it. And that's exactly why he's my favourite writer! He made me fall in love with all the characters, even the ones I hated (yes, I am aware that this is a contradiction, but King develops his characters in such a fantastic way, you see the positive aspects of even the most evil beings, and thus, I can't bring myself to despise anyone 100%. They are all just so darn brillant and fascinating!).

I normally would find the concept of a murdering car ridiculous and too over the top (I'm not really into paranormal stuff and things like that), but once again, I noticed how King can write about the most unbelievable things in a most believable way. If there would have been a note at the end, telling me all of this had really happened, I would have accepted it without asking any questions. That's how good of a storyteller he is!

A highly entertaining and suspenseful read and a definite recommendation!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews986 followers
August 16, 2022
One of the many cornerstones of King's early career was, is, love of the American automobile, and Christine brings together a lot of his early themes - youth, coming of age, cars, friendship and horror! Even after re-reading this classic possessed car story, it is still one of my least favourite King novels. It's still a great tale, but not one that I'll revisit much, if ever again, unlike a lot of his better works. In getting a 7 out of 12 from me, it is far from being my lowest rated King - I just don't care about anyone in this book! For me, the thing I really do like about this book, is the classic cover of the edition I own :)

2016 read; 2003 read
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
499 reviews852 followers
October 11, 2016
Fans of the Netflix series Stranger Things who might be unaware of how freely the creators sampled '80s pop culture--right down to the title font--need look no further than three novels by Stephen King: one I've read (Firestarter), one I'm reading this month (It) and one I'll review now. Published in 1983--the same year that Stranger Things takes place--Christine is an often haunting and at times bittersweet tale about growing up; specifically, that time when adulthood threatens to detour cherished friendships and careen others off Dead Man's Curve. Coincidentally, this tale includes an antique car possessed by evil.

Unfolding through the fall of 1978 and into a bitter New Year in the fictional town of Libertyville, Pennsylvania, Christine is divided into three parts, the first and third narrated by Dennis Guilder, a twenty-two year old reflecting on his tragic senior year of high school. Captain of the football and baseball teams and All-Conference swimmer, Dennis is best friend to Arnie Cunningham, a childhood friend whose road detours into oily skin, chess and derision by many of their peers. The meek only child of two academics at Horlicks University, Arnie takes a bold but troubling step toward adulthood while cruising with Dennis in his '75 Plymouth Duster.

Arnie falls in love at first sight with a 1958 Plymouth Fury he spots rusting in a yard. Dennis sees only a lemon, but is unable to convince his friend to walk away from it. With a nest egg built from his summer job with the Penn-DOT on a road crew, Arnie leaves a cash deposit with the car's owner, a nefarious coot with a bad back, lewd disposition and forked tongue named Roland D. LeBay; the old timer refers to the junker as "Christine." Believing his friend is being suckered, Dennis is taken aback by how 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, I thought, now feeling a little sad as well as upset. They'll beat him down and LeBay will have his twenty-five dollars and that '58 Plymouth will sit there for another thousand years or so. They had done similar things to him before. Because he was a loser. Even his parents knew it. He was intelligent, and when you got past the shy and wary exterior, he was humorous and thoughtful and ... sweet, I guess, is the word I'm fumbling around for.

Sweet, but a loser.

His folks knew it as well as the machine-shop white-soxers who yelled at him in the halls and thumb-rubbed his glasses.

They knew he was a loser and they would beat him down.

That's what I thought. But that time I was wrong.

After witnessing Arnie fire the first shot in a rebellion against his parents, Dennis grows wary of Christine. Returning with Arnie to purchase the rustbucket from LeBay, Dennis climbs behind the wheel and receives a flash of the decaying car restored to new, and speaking to him. (Let's go for a ride, big guy, Christine seemed to whisper in the hot summer silence of LeBay's garage. Let's cruise.) He suddenly finds himself not wanting to walk in front of the car. Watching Arnie drive away in it, Dennis witnesses LeBay break down in tears. Holding firm that the old bastard has ripped his friend off, Dennis is told that he doesn't know half as much as he thinks he does.

With the sun going down, Arnie and Dennis are able to reach Darnell's Do-It-Yourself Garage, where cigar chomping interstate trafficker Will Darnell has cornered the town's automotive needs. He takes advantage of Arnie, overcharging him for the stall and the tools the teen will need to restore his wheels. One of Arnie's classmates, a menacing hulk named Buddy Repperton, works at the garage and starts to harass Arnie, but when Repperton smashes one of Christine's headlights, Arnie fights back and bloodies him. Darnell fires Repperton and realizing he might be able to use a kid like Arnie, offers him a job making deliveries. Dennis warns his friend not to fall into debt with Darnell, but Arnie becomes hostile to any attempts to separate him from Christine.

Dennis begins having bad dreams about Christine. Learning that Roland LeBay has passed away, Dennis accompanies Arnie to the funeral. He introduces himself to LeBay's estranged brother, George, and managing a word in private behind his friend's back, Dennis shares his apprehension over the '58 Plymouth Fury. George later reveals some troubling family history: LeBay's fury was legendary. He entered the Army at a bad time--the 1920s--working in the motor pool where he raged against the "shitters" he felt had it in for him. In 1958, LeBay bought Christine and became obsessed with the car, keeping it even after his six-year-old daughter choked to death in the backseat and his wife committed suicide in it. He believes that Arnie would be better off getting rid of the car.

And as if he had read my thoughts of a few minutes before, he went on: "I don't believe in curses, you know. Not in ghosts or anything precisely supernatural. But I do believe that emotions and events have a certain ... lingering resonance. It may be that emotions can even communicate themselves in certain circumstances. If the circumstances are peculiar enough ... the way a carton of milk will take the flavor of certain strongly spiced foods if it's left open in the refrigerator. Or perhaps that's only a ridiculous fantasy on my part. Possibly it's just that I would feel better knowing the car my niece choked in and my sister-in-law killed herself in had been pressed down into a cube of meaningless metal. Perhaps all I feel is a sense of outraged propriety."

Dennis observes dramatic changes in Arnie. His friend's skin clears up. While none of the girls who've known him as a pizzaface will take a second look at Arnie, a graceful transferring senior named Leigh Cabot is an exception; Dennis watches as the Viking queen he would've gotten around to asking out begins dating his friend instead. At lunch, Dennis comes upon Buddy Repperton circling Arnie with a switchblade while the bully's lackeys Don Vandenberg and Moochie Welch cheer him on. The two-on-three melee is broken up by the shop teacher. Certain that Repperton meant to cut Arnie, Dennis rats him out for the switchblade, resulting in Repperton's expulsion. He vows revenge.

Arnie's transformation has an eerie parallel to the resurrection of Christine. Darnell marvels at how expertly Arnie was able to get his car road-ready without putting in the labor. Introduced by Arnie at a football game, Dennis notices that Leigh is 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 first idea had been Leigh's--Molotov cocktails. We would, she said, fill some wine bottles with gasoline, take them to the Cunningham house in the early-morning hours, light the wicks ("Wicks? What wicks?" I asked. "Kotex ought to do just fine," she answered promptly, causing me to wonder again about her high-cheekboned forebearers), and toss them in through Christine's windows.

The conceit of a 1958 Plymouth cruising the streets of America to the oldie but goodies of Chuck Berry or Richie Valens with a corpse at the wheel is laughable. It doesn't even seem like it'd be scary. King seems to have backed into his plot by wanting to write about teens, rock 'n' roll and cars, and realizing that cursed children or music had been done, reversed into the possessed car idea. What makes Christine a fantastic novel is a quality that King has sustained from his earliest work (Carrie, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Firestarter), which aren't about monsters chasing after characters but characters who realize they are the monster.

I 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 (Christine is "only" 120,000 words), the novel took me over a week to finish, but it occurs to me that some of the most memorable road trips are the long ones, the journeys where the destination is earned and felt. I found the pleasure of delayed gratification wonderfully present in a longer novel, at least one with prose and dialogue as intimate as King's. Nothing definitively supernatural occurs until page 238 and rather than spook the reader right off the bat, King writes about childhood--using music, movies, sports, fast food and beverages--and slowly builds the tragic relationships of his characters, ultimately to the point of poignancy.

Christine was adapted to film during the Stephen King Land Rush of 1983-1990, when a dozen of his novels, novellas or short stories were dragged to the screen. Featuring Keith Gordon as Arnie, John Stockwell as Dennis, Alexandra Paul as Leigh, the movie was directed by John Carpenter, whose previous thrillers traffic in pulsating doom, but here, as a director for hire, goes through the motions of a killer car movie devoid of the teenage angst or desolate winter of the novel. Its riches are those surrounding the kids and the car, with performances by Robert Prosky, Harry Dean Stanton and Roberts Blossom and the music of George Thorogood and The Destroyers, the best rock 'n' roll ever featured in a Carpenter film.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews26 followers
May 23, 2022
Christine, Stephen King

Christine tells the story of a car apparently possessed by malevolent supernatural forces. A love triangle involving 17-year-old misfit Arnie Cunningham, his new girlfriend and a haunted 1958 Plymouth Fury. Dubbed Christine by her previous owner, Arnie's first car is jealous, possessive and deadly.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و دوم ماه می سال2014میلادی

عنوان: کریستین؛ نویسنده: استیون (استیفن) کینگ؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

رمان «کریستین» اثر «استیفن کینگ» درباره ی خودروی شیطانی است؛ در تابستان سال1978میلادی، زمانی که دانش‌آموز دبیرستان «دنیس گلدر» به همراه دوستش «آرنولد (آرنی) کانینگهام»، نوجوان خجالتی، از سرِ کار به خانه باز می‌گشتند، «آرنی» یک «پلیموث فیوری» ترک خورده قرمز و سفید سال1958میلادی را میبیند، که پشت یک خانه پارک شده، و برای فروش گذاشته شده است؛ با وجود تلاشهای «دنیس» برای جلوگیری از خرید، «دنیس» نمیتواند «آرنی» را دریابد، «آرنی» ماشین را که «کریستین» نامیده میشود، میخرد؛ «آرنی»، «کریستن» را به گاراژ «ویل دارنل» میبرد، و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/03/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews415 followers
February 11, 2022
Christine is a mean, clean killer machine. Woe to the person who tries to come between her and her man. Arnie happens upon Christine one summer day, and it is love at first sight. After restoring her back to her former glory, Arnie begins to turn into a sociopath. No longer the shy nerdy boy, Arnie now has a strut in his step. Three knuckleheads break into the garage and destroy Christine, but no worries. Christine is her own one-stop repair shop. She fixes herself and hunts down the knuckleheads to kill them all. Arnie learns the secret his car keeps. He is not fazed in the least because crazed stalkish Plymouth Furys come off the line every day. It is up to Arnie's friends to save the day.

Moral of the story is, don't come between a man and his car.
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,430 reviews3,346 followers
September 19, 2022

كنت في طريقي لأصبح راشدا. و أعتقد انني أدركت عندئذ أن ما يخيفنا هو النضج. هو انتهاؤنا من مرحلة تعلم كيفية الحياة – أي مرحلة الطفولة – و البدء بتعلم كيف نموت.
إن كنت قد شاهدت الفيلم المأخوذ عن الرواية فانسه تماما و تعال هنا لنحلق في آفاق جديدة و مختلفة تجعل أنفاسك محبوسة رغم ظنك أنك تعرف مسبقا ما سيحدث و لكنك ستكتشف كم كنت واهما. كالعادة يتلاعب بنا كينج بفكرة ليست جديدة تماما و ان كان قد تناولها بـ اسلوب قل أن تجده عند غيره.
الأبطال من وجهة نظري كانوا ثلاثة تماهى كل منهم في الأخر حتى صار الكل واحدا لا يقبل القسمة إلا على نفسه. العجوز ليبي الذي باع السيارة و المراهق آرني الذي اشترى السيارة و السيارة نفسها.
في بضع مئات من الصفحات التي ستلتهمها التهاما لا أستطيع إلا أن أتركك مع الرواية التي كلما هممت بإضافة كلمة أخرى ظننت أنني سأحرق الأحداث المتسارعة التي أرجو أن تستمتع بها.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
November 1, 2017
3.5 Stars.

BIG fan of Stephen King, but not so much of CHRISTINE. Reading a 700+ page book....especially one written by SK usually does not bother me in the least, but CHRISTINE was just too long....too wordy....was expecting more wicked deeds than the movie.

The storyline IS creepy good with a possessed red 1958 Plymouth Fury....her deadlights and "moldering stench"....on the prowl seeking justice from anyone who dislikes her....so best stay out of her way.

Besides a feared CHRISTINE, there's a great cast of teen characters, bullies, weird parents and an evil presence from the beyond to keep things rolling along. AND, as in many KING novels, you'll find a variety of dark nightmares, hear many a cool oldie from the 50's and 60's and take a ride to the submarine races. (you're an oldie like me if you remember that one.)

Not a favorite (for me), but NOT bad either.

May 27, 2021
Let's face it. When you're into an exceptional Stephen King novel, and the story mentally has you within it's claws, there really is no putting that book down, no matter how loud real life is calling you back. I remember such a time, when I was reading Pet Sematary. I was entirely engrossed, almost in a pathetic sort of way, rushing out of work, only to sit in the car after working hours, just so I could get my fill. Oh, and fuck, I certainly got my fill.

Christine was a rather mixed bag. It wasn't as good as say, The Shining, or Pet Sematary, but it definitely wasn't as diabolical as The Outsider.

I think the initial issue I had here, was the length. A 700 page book usually doesn't worry me, but this was way too long for Christine. There were many chapters, but just not enough substance for me. I was expecting graphic descriptions of twisted events, you know, the stuff that keeps you awake at night. Unfortunately, and I despise saying this, but some of this book was just too soft for my tastes.

Thankfully, there were some particular scenes that made my skin crawl, and caused me to race through the pages, and I got that "Classic King" feeling. It's amazing when that happens. But then, a few pages later, things go kind of quiet, and I was left hanging. I suppose in reality, a possessed car, didn't scare me as much as I thought it would.
Profile Image for Gareth Is Haunted.
326 reviews48 followers
May 3, 2023
One hell of a ride. Maybe the ride of a lifetime.
‘Son, you’re probably too young to look for wisdom in anyone’s words but your own, but I’ll tell you this: love is the enemy.’ He nodded at me slowly. ‘Yes. The poets continually and sometimes wilfully mistake love. Love is the old slaughterer. Love is not blind. Love is a cannibal with extremely acute vision. Love is insectile; it is always hungry.’

Previous to reading this book I had seen its movie adaptation on multiple occasions and what an enjoyable movie it would is. Because of this, I had been putting off reading this novel due to the fact that I felt like I knew the storyline through and through, how very wrong I turned out to be.
This story isn't just about Christine, the famous red and white '57 Plymouth Fury from the movie.
It is more of a story about friendship, family and growing up, plus also of deep obsession and yearning. This novel is like a swiss army knife, with so many different tools at its disposal.

'And I think I understood then that what really scares people about growing up is that you stop trying on the life mask and start trying on another one. If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.'

The story is told in three different parts, mostly narrated by one character throughout. King manages to use this format to absolute perfection, which made this an extremely endearing, personable, authentic and detail-rich experience with which my words can't quite do it justice.
There were moments in this book where I felt transported back in time by the writing, I could see what he was describing and sense the nostalgia of the era seeping off the pages. King also managed to conjure up some moments of intense and almost overpowering tension and dread within the pages of this book.
Similar things could be said for the exceptional character development and the social commentary which runs throughout this novel, it all comes together to build a bigger and more vivid picture of the times and events within this story.
Often during reading a book of this length there are moments where I tend to get bored or even switch off in some ways but this was one of a very small number which had me completely hypnotised and immersed in its world.

'On the far verge of Squantic Lake, some ten miles away as the crow flies, a young man who had gone out for a cross-country ski by starlight heard the sound and suddenly stopped, his hands on his poles and his head cocked. Abruptly the skin on his back prickled into bumps, as if a goose had just walked over his grave, and although he knew it was only a car somewhere on the other side – sound carried a long way up here on still winter nights – his first thought was that something prehistoric had awakened and had tracked its prey to earth: a great wolf, or perhaps a sabre-toothed tiger.'

An absolute stone-cold masterpiece. I didn't just read this story, I LIVED IT!
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,969 followers
February 29, 2016
You never forget your first time, and the memories of my initial encounter with Stephen King when he lured me into the back of a 1958 Plymouth Fury and had his way with me are still clear over 30 years later.

For the record, he wasn’t gentle.

I was a wee lad of 13 when this came out, and Stephen King had established his reputation as America’s boogeyman after his breakout in the ‘70s. I wasn’t much of a horror fan and despite my increasing reading of ‘grown-up’ fiction had no interest in the King novels and movies that were freaking the adults out. Then one day I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and read a magazine article about King and his new book centered on a haunted killer car.

“That sounds pretty cool,” I thought. After my appointment, I went to the library which was right around the corner from my doctor’s office. (Ah, small towns...) I can’t remember if I actually was able to get it then or if I had to put my name on the hold list. I suspect that a new King novel probably had a waiting list. In either case, I soon got my grubby little mitts on a copy and read my first Stephen King novel. The countless hours since devoted to reading his work and the small fortune I’ve spent accumulating his books over the years are a testament to how deeply the hook was set.

Looking back now, that seems kind of odd because Christine is not my favorite King novel. In fact, it’d be well down my personal list after others like The Stand, The Shining or The Dark Tower series. Still, it’s a pretty good King novel and 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 Christine rank higher in the King pantheon? A couple of factors drag it down. At the time it was published this was King’s longest book other than his epic novel The Stand, and that one was about the end of the world so some wordiness wasn’t out of line. Some of the bloat that would often characterize his later work was beginning to creep into this one. The set-up of Arnie and Dennis’s history and Arnie’s status as the unlucky geek of their school goes on too long. Also, the character of Dennis is just a little too good to be true. Not every teenage boy is a raging sociopath, but after a while I did find it hard to believe that a good looking star athlete with plenty of girls chasing after him would really be best friends with the school misfit as well as a loving and respectful son to his parents.

Then there’s the fact that while the destruction of Arnie’s personality is a big chunk of the book the actual bloodshed comes at the wheels of Christine, and while King writes several gruesome death scenes and creates some very creepy moments it’s still just a car. Even with magical evil powers you still think you could get away by just going into a tall building and waiting until it runs out of gas.

Despite the elements that keep it from being considered among his best work, Christine is still a good example of what King does best by mixing human weakness with supernatural elements to create a story that keeps you turning pages.

Also posted at Kemper's Book Blog
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
554 reviews1,093 followers
February 22, 2014
If I admitted that I probably enjoyed this more than The Shining – would that amount to sacrilege?

Good Review vs Evil Review

Good Review
There isn’t much I didn’t particularly enjoy about the novel, except perhaps for one or two pacing issues. Then again, the book is only about 500 pages, which is a lot less than some of those other King books. It is incredibly creepy at times, which I found surprising, since the idea of a “haunted car” might seem a bit, well, corny. It’s everything but. In fact, the story is a curious cross between true nostalgia and horror. The musical theme prevalent throughout the novel, with references to songs about cars, was a nice touch. In keeping with the theme, King also incorporates a lot of throwaway references to American muscle cars into the story: “so and so drives a 66 Camaro” and the like. It adds a nice touch of authenticity.

The sympathetic first person narrative of Parts 1 & 3 was striking and I really felt for [name withhold due to spoiler] when things started going awry.
My horror had changed to a deep and terrible sorrow…
I suppose that is really what this novel is about, and Christine is just a vehicle for a bigger story about obsession and possession. Terrible pun, I know, but unintended.

Evil Review
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 Christine

I suppose it is a bit of a problem if you start rooting for the baddie in a horror novel, but the way Christine goes after those shitters varmints is righteous, man!

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

…and there she it is.
Profile Image for James Trevino.
68 reviews35.7k followers
November 15, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Jeff .
912 reviews708 followers
December 7, 2018
Stephen King has sure gotten some mileage out of this whole “possessed-by-evil��� thing. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve read The Shining this year wherein an abusive drunk is taken over by the Evil that is a hotel and it just seems that way.

Anyway back to my original misbegotten and flawed theme: Evil’s out there and according to Stephen King it’s very possessive.

In this book, of course, you’re dealing with a car, but not just any car – a car that’s been possessed by Evil. King kind of loses the chain of evil in this one. For the longest time, I assumed that Christine was the originating source of evilness, but as my favorite Mah Fah, Stepheny, pointed out and upon further reading of the actual book, it became sort of apparent that the car was in fact possessed by its original owner, who in turn possessed (I take a shot of something every time I type the word “possessed” or any form of the word, so bear with me) poor Arnie Cunningham in an effort to continue railing against “the shitters” of the world.

It takes a long, long time before Christine, no matter who’s driving (or not) the damn car, to actually start running punks down and grinding them into hamburger and the narrative structure kind of sucks – Dennis, I was truly hoping you’d fall victim to Christine at some point, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

This was a decent read with a fairly decent resolution. I mean how many ways are there really to get rid of a possessed (hey, there I go again, bottoms up) car.

Is it me or does somebody else wish that Christine was just over the horizon and ready to chase down the two hoodlums pictured above?


Plus, a geographic sports lesson for Mr. King. This book was written back in 1983, when sports teams where usually broadcast on the local UHF station (as was the case with the Phillies), so why (or more relevantly, how?) would Dennis and Arnie be regularly watching the Philadelphia Phillies when the book takes place a few miles as the raven flies from Pittsburgh? Pennsylvania is a fairly big assed state from east to west and Pittsburgh has its own baseball team – they’re called the Pirates. This was a small detail that probably effected only me and I don’t know what possessed (*gulp*) me to even bring it up.

Evil, Jeff? Were you possessed by evil?

This was a buddy read with Daytona Dan 2.0, Aston Martin Ashley de la Hufflepuff, Speed Demon Stepheny, Tailgating Trish and le Grand Prix Ginger - the anti-“shitters”.
Profile Image for Brett C.
805 reviews181 followers
May 2, 2021
I enjoyed this story about a supernatural and haunted car. Stephen King did a good job of laying it all out with character development, the backstory, and delivering progression of the story. The story revolves around a car, Christine, that is bought by a young and naive teenager. The teen, Arnie, quickly became obsessed with Christine.

As the story progresses, both undergo a transformation. Arnie went from being a nerdy low self-esteem type to taking on personality traits and mannerisms of a 1950s Greaser. The car, a 1958 Plymouth Fury, in the beginning was a beat-up rust bucket that barely ran. The car had a mysterious way of repairing itself and taking on a dark and sinister persona. Eventually Arnie and Christine become inseparable and evil overtakes both.

I enjoyed this dark story that had elements of horror and the supernatural. I would recommend this to any Stephen King fan. Thanks!
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
January 10, 2018
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 Cujo, 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.

October 4, 2022
I am still making my way through all of Stephen King's works and this was the next on the list. This is a bit of an infamous book for a King with a lot of people who really don't like it.

I actually enjoyed this book a lot. This is kind of a slow-burn and I can see why people might say it's too long but I loved the way the character's were developed over the pages and how relationships were forged and destroyed. I think Stephen King does such a good job of creating doom and suspense throughout this book too. We have some gory moments too and pretty heavy hitting descriptions of mental health and depression which took me by surprise.

As we read this book we delve deep into the mind of a troubled boy and those who surround him, we feel sorry for our main character Arnie as we see him slowly slipping away from everyone who ever loved him. I don't think this book was too long and I don't think it's a bad book at all! I have never read a book quite like this one and I think it was pretty special. I doesn't get 5 stars for me because I didn't find myself really rooting for anyone and I think we could've had a more spectacular ending, but it was a really fun time and it didn't feel like a long book really.
Profile Image for Jason Pereira.
194 reviews24 followers
March 20, 2016
My re-telling of the story "Christine" to my sixty-five year old immigrant mother, enjoy:

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?"

At this point I gave up and walked out of the room

This has been, My re-telling of the story "Christine" to my sixty-five year old immigrant mother. Hope you enjoyed.

Profile Image for Trish.
2,016 reviews3,436 followers
October 26, 2018
This is the story of Christine, a custom-painted red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury. You'd think that the story about a car didn't warrant a novel of a whopping 529 pages or that at the very least it would be boring and bloated. But this is Stephen King.

Arnie, an acne-ridden teenage outsider, one day sees a car and it is love at first sight. Despite the financial burden, despite his parents' and friend's protests, he buys the car off the grumpy owner and starts working on her it. Slowly but surely, "Christine" transforms back to her its' old glory. Just as slowly but surely, Arnie changes as well. Not just visually, he also gets more confident - and more angry. Are those changes more connected to the car than anyone could ever believe?

Well, this is Stephen King so we already know the answer. ;)

School bullies and crooks, oppressive and downright terrorizing parents, hormones driving one crazy - and a single-minded car with her its' undying love. But what exactly is driving Christine? That is the question, isn't it? Don't all the great poets say that lovers become one? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Much of the book is told from Dennis' (Arnie's best friend's) point of view. That was refreshing as well since I haven't read too many books from first person perspective. It also added a sort of more authentic tone to what essentially is a very fucked up coming-of-age story. Again: it is Stephen King after all. *lol*

It really surprised me how much I enjoyed this novel. Not just the school bullies and drug-smugglers getting run over (and yes, I enjoyed the bloody deaths, of course), but the overall story - the characters (I love to hate most King characters), the creepy atmosphere ... it was really fun and exciting from start to finish.
Profile Image for carlos carroll.
166 reviews297 followers
October 27, 2020
Sin darme cuenta, este se convirtió en uno de mis favoritos de King.
¿Por qué? La idea de un auto malvado, pese a ser bastante ilusa, es muy interesante, y Stephen King le sacó buen provecho a dicho tema.
Que Christine, el auto, sea quien nos arma el ambiente de terror, es, en cierto punto, muy novedoso. El arco por el que pasa Arnie está bien trabajado, no se vuelve loco o malvado de un día al otro, y eso es algo que me encanta.
Leigh es de mis personajes favoritos, ella junto con Sadie, de 22/11/63, son mis crushes literarios. ¡Las amo!
Las escenas de muertes son increíbles, muy bien trabajadas y extremadamente agobiantes, en el buen sentido.
Christine aparece en la lista de mis villanos favoritos, brilla por sí sola. Es despiadada y controladora, celosa y macabra, se pueden sacar decenas de adjetivos para describirla.

Al principio le puse 4 estrellas porque la historia se pone un poco lenta en el segundo tercio, pero, pensándolo mejor, no creo que deba quitarle una estrella por eso, tal vez media, pero ya saben cómo se califica aquí en Goodreads.
Profile Image for Cody | CodysBookshelf.
739 reviews229 followers
October 1, 2019
2019 Update

I’m finally upgrading this one to four stars, y’all. This isn’t deep, meditative King; Christine is greasy and bloated and repetitive and features one of King’s most appallingly bland characters in Leigh Cabot. But damn, the ride is fun. The motor under this story’s hood purrs. Written when King was just becoming a bonafide literary rockstar, this one oozes style and confidence. It shouldn’t work, and it sometimes doesn’t . . . but I can finally (mostly) overlook this iconic novel’s flaws.

Read for ‘ghosts’ in Halloween Bingo.

2018 Update

I stand by my 3-star rating. This is King at his greasiest, his most shameless. But what this novel lacks in depth it makes up for in atmosphere. The image of Christine, that scorned lover, roaming the chilly streets of Pittsburgh late at night is amongst King’s most iconic.

2016 Review

Stephen King is a man of numerous literary skills, and he's my favorite author. He's written some of my all-time favorite novels, period (Duma Key and The Dead Zone immediately spring to mind), but he's also written a few clunkers along the way. It's understandable — the man has been in the writing game for over four decades now, and they can't all be winners. In fact, I'm thankful for the stories I'm not so keen on because they make the home runs all the more rewarding. I can probably count on one hand the books by King I consider to be genuine losers (and we will get to those in due time) . . . Christine ain't one of 'em. Yes, I only gave it 2 and 1/2 stars, but I don't think it's a loser. It's a novel that sits comfortably in the middle of the road — it isn't bad thanks to King's incredible writing, but isn't phenomenal (or even good), either.

This was the novel that made me a Constant Reader (as King so affectionately calls his dedicated fans) years and years ago, but I hadn't ever taken the time to reread it. Perhaps I knew deep down that it wouldn't stand up to a reread and close look as so many other King works do — and I was right. I loved this book when I read it for the first time. I zipped through it in a day, breathless, anxious to see what happened next. I was in the clutches of King's prowess. This reread took a solid week, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at cliched dialogue or scares that . . . well, aren't so scary (the corpse of someone who won't be named returning over and over inside Christine is supposed to terrify, but all it did was give me the giggles). Psychological terror scares me — not gross-out. The brutal self-examination of Jack Torrance in The Shining or Carrie White's desperate longing to fit in . . . those are situations that pull on my heartstrings and nerves, so when unfortunate events happened to those characters I was scared and deeply empathetic. King tries similar tricks here — Arnie being bullied throughout is a definite callback to the locker room horrors of Carrie, and his obsession with Christine brings to mind Jack's love affair with the Overlook Hotel — but it all comes off as a middling, been-there-done-that affair. There isn't anything brought up in this story that hasn't been done before — and better! — by SK. By this point in King's career he was a multi-million dollar success, high on fame and cocaine, and perhaps Christine was the first time editors were afraid to really cut the fat off the writing. The story — larded with cliché after cliché, often spinning its wheels — could have worked well in twenty or thirty pages as a short story but instead is bloated at over 500 pages, making it King's second largest novel to date at the time of its release in 1983. I can't completely explain it, but one gets the feeling of King giving in to all of his excesses here.

So . . . Okay, yeah, I'm not a big fan of the novel. Why would I give it 2.5 stars? Why not just slap a single star on it and call it done? What did I like about it? As I mentioned before, King's writing makes this story an enjoyable ride even if the characters are flat at best and the conceit (a haunted car? really?) is . . . silly, to be charitable. This is a story from the man who brought vampires to New England — and made them so believable! — in 'Salem's Lot. He made clowns terrifying for generations in IT. He made the thought of telepathy unnerving, almost maddening, in The Tommyknockers. And . . . . King makes the idea of a haunted car seem almost plausible here, and by the story's end the reader will have come to love Christine in a weird sort of way. She's a possessed, scorned, and jealous lover who only wants what she feels is hers. Not to mention she's a pretty darn cool car!

As well, I really enjoyed Arnie's gradual descent into obsession and possession out of a desperate attempt to escape his boring, loser life — he thinks of his life that way, anyway. Arnie's arc is nothing short of a tragedy, perhaps one of King's most heartbreaking and lonesome character pieces. Arnie's loneliness is palpable, his yearning for love and freedom stark and electrifying. King writes gradual descent into insanity really well and always has.

There is a lot more I could and should say about this novel, but I'm trying to cut it short here. Christine is a totally okay novel, but it's certainly nothing special. King once said he's the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries, and while I almost never agree with that sentiment . . . I have to agree with him when it comes to this book. It's a big and greasy story with no nutritional value whatsoever, but it's a lot of fun to consume. King's love of cars and rock and roll is on full display here, and he gets all the mileage he can out of it. The characters — aside from Arnie at times — feel like cardboard cutouts, with Dennis and Leigh being the worst. This is a story with a lot of problems (Dennis is an annoying and sexist narrator, the random POV shift from first person to third is weird and confusing, the forced love triangle between Dennis, Leigh, and Arnie is tiring to read, et cetera), but it has a lot of heart and seems to know it's just a goofy, pulpy '80s horror story and doesn't try to be anything more. This is certainly not King anywhere near his best, but it's okay. It is a story about a haunted car, so you get what you pay for. I wouldn't recommend it to newcomers, but it could be a fun read for established fans.

King connections:

Christine shows up in several later novels and stories from King, such as IT and 11/22/63.

A fellow in this story bears the last name Trelawney, a name that sometimes pops up throughout King's fiction.

Favorite quote:

“Maybe that’s one of the ways you recognize really lonely people . . . they can always think of something neat to do on rainy days. You can always call them up. They’re always home."

Up next:

I'll either backtrack and cover Different Seasons or go forward with Pet Sematary . . . stay tuned!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
October 26, 2018
If re-reading it now, by today's lens, one thing has become utterly clear.

Christine is a YA novel.

I mean, sure, Talisman and parts of the Shining are, too, but this is a bonafide Young Adult territory. We have High School outcasts, a huge page count of sporting events, first love, and standing up to be your own person against what your parents think right.

Yes. Rebellion, jealousy, and an ancient evil possession made up of pure wrath.

In other words, another average YA novel.

Vrrrooom. Vrrrooooooom. Vrrrrrooooooooooooooom!


Seriously, though. King even manages to turn all those sports and car maintenance bits into something fantastic even though I generally couldn't give a cat's fart over them in general. Arnie, Dennis, and Lee made the whole thing worth it. :)

Oh, and all the music references blew me away back during my first read, so I took the time to check them all out when I was 14. No need to do that now, of course. But KNOWING the music makes quite a lot of difference this time. :)
Profile Image for Michael Sorbello.
Author 1 book258 followers
September 13, 2022
Arnie Cunningham was born a doormat. His narcissistic mother dictating everything he was allowed to love and do. The guys at school using him as a punching bag. The girls laughing at his ugliness. Everyone walked all over him and took advantage of his shy and polite demeanor. Everything changes when Arnie meets his first love, and that first love is a car named Christine.

Christine makes a man out of Arnie, bringing out a level of confidence, charisma and lovability he never knew he was capable of. His life changes for the best. He starts dating the prettiest girl in school, becomes the talk of the town and finally learns to spread his wings. Unknown to him, however, the previous owner of the car was a vile man with a history of violence and death. His spirit lives on in the only thing in the world he ever loved; Christine. After Arnie learns to make friends and charm girls, Christine becomes jealous of her new boyfriend's growing social circle. Anyone that dares come between her and Arnie is just waiting to be crushed by the cruelty of her metal body.

I've heard a lot of people say this is one of Stephen King's worst books, and I couldn't disagree more. It has everything I loved about his early works. A tragic protagonist you can't help but root for, the harsh nature of coming of age, friendships and family being tested to their absolute limits, rock-and-roll music playing a role in the overall nostalgic tone, and the eerie sadness that comes from growing old and understanding how broken people and the world can be. I saw a bit of my younger self in Arnie, so his story may have impacted my enjoyment of the book more than the average reader.

The line between how much Arnie is changing because of the hellish rollercoaster of emotions and events he's constantly going through, and how much he's being influenced by the demonic seductress Christine is heavily blurred. Even when he's pushed into saying and doing terrible things, I couldn't help but feel for him and want the best for him. Christine is a cautionary tale about obsession with material pleasures as a means of escaping pain and hardship, and the possession those things can hold over your growth and happiness without you even realizing it. Arnie's transformation over the book is heartbreaking and his constantly spiraling character development is what made it such a chilling and emotional read for me.
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