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4.6 out of 5 stars78
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2014
I have had this book in my library for close to twenty years without reading it. Don't ask me why, it just turned out that way. And here I am, in the year 2013, reading it on my Kindle of all things, even though I have two copies of the gosh-darn thing in paperback in two different editions, taking up space on one of my bookshelves. And what is more, it is by far the longest 'book' that I have ever read in e-book format. That is a review in its own right, but I will choose to continue. Because this is fun.

Anywho, the story goes like this: A young lad by the name of Arnie Cunningham is cruising the streets of his hometown with his pal Dennis ... When Arnie just happens to catch a glimpse of a vision of something that he never knew that he wanted. A 1958 Plymouth Fury sedan. The problem is, the car is a wreck, a rust bucket which shouldn't be on the road. And there is no way in hell that our Arnie can afford to fix it up. Dennis can see it for what it is but he cant make his pal Arnie see the wood for the trees. But Arnie buys it anyway. Because when Arnie looks at this particular Plymouth he doesn't see what everyone else sees. He sees a stud bucket on wheels. He sees success. He sees easy living. He sees everything he has ever wanted without ever realising he wanted it. In other words, the devil has come to Libertyville and he has set his sights on Arnold Cunningham's soul as his first possession.

Stephen King has always been a delight to read. In CHRISTINE, his writing is suspenseful, compelling and at times down right addictive. Given that the book was written back in the 1980s it still holds up remarkably well today. At times, CHRISTINE is shocking, but in a good way. You switch on the kindle (or open your book) and see an innocent and innocuous looking chapter that (so my kindle tells me) will take me 15 minutes to read but once you read this chapter you are faced with the choice of re-reading it for the simple joy of it, or rushing straight on to the next chapter even though it is a work day and it is well past your bed time. Personally, i tend to re-read them. His "shocking" chapters are classic Stephen King gore fests, which are gruesome, highly enjoyable rides of absolute terror and completely unexpected. Hence the shock factor. They can also be quite moving and emotional once your heart beat and blood pressure drop back to normal levels. And also once you have regained your grip on reality and your own sanity.

Seriously, reading CHRISTINE is like attending a master class in writing sophisticated horror fiction. As always with Mr King, his characterisation stands out like a lighthouse on full power being pelted by driving rain and heavy fog. His plot is sufficiently complicated and complex that the book never seems long despite its 746 pages. I have already mentioned its gore factor, the shocks and the unremitting terror in the second half. The only thing missing is a happy ending but if we had one of these we can't really say it is a horror novel, can we? But I shall answer that question when I have read the final page. But for now, I hereby award CHRISTINE by Stephen King a mandatory five stars out of five.

And so to the ending. The ending to this novel is perfect. It is brilliant, shocking and yet, heartbreakingly sad. But what else would we expect from the Master?

BFN, Greggorio.
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on 3 February 2011
My son who is Autistic (he has Asperger's Syndrome) carried this book around with him throughout his teenage years, most everywhere he went. I remember we replaced it a time or two with a new book when the old one started falling to bits! He may even have a copy to this day.

I was always amused as to why this book was so important to him, his fixation with it. And although I was familiar with the story and the film, I could never see why it was so special to him. Well, I never did really find out and so had to draw the conclusion that the fuss was about a car with a girls name.

Anyways, I have just read the book myself and I have to say I thought that it was just great. Okay, maybe a little long before any action really gets going, but at the end of the book I realised that every word is necessary if you are to fully appreciate the toxic atmosphere behind the story.

Christine, the car herself, brings mixed emotions. You love her and you hate her at the same time, even through the murderous rampages. Stephen King brings her to life on the pages of his book and you feel the need to see her, to touch her, to let your fingers trail along her shimmering body work. You almost feel like running out of the way when she revs her engine and leaps forward - for this is a car like no other. I got a perverse pleasure at the end of the book. Analyse that!

Yep I loved it. Only Stephen King can lead me through page after page of dry text, (eg, his description of a high school football game,) and I manage to get a thrill out of it.

Quality stuff. Very enjoyable.
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on 5 September 2002
Being a big fan of the film, I thought it quite neccassary that I read the book. Shocking.
The word passion springs to mind and that is pretty much what the book is about, a nasty little love triangle between Arnie, Christine and Leigh Cabot.
The film does the book no justice and I for one have now read the book twice and am still thrilled at the prospect of reading it again. My advice to anyone who feels that they should read it is: Book a week off work, listen to some 50s - 60s music and ENJOY!!!
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on 2 February 2010
Excellent, scary book. In some ways, it's as much about youth and identity as a haunted car. King excels with brilliant pacing, genuinely compelling writing and the sort of authorial voice that makes writing look effortless and forces you to keep reading.
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on 23 December 2012
Having read all of Stephen King's 1970s and 1980s novels, this is the least scary to me...I just can't believe in a possessed car! Still hugely entertaining though - peppered with King's customary humour (although no amusing bumper sticklers), ratcheting tension, interesting sounding American snack foods and believable characters.

I just re-read this after 10 years, and despite not being particularly spooked by LeBay/Christine, enjoy the late 1970s backdrop, convincing family tension/love in both Dennis and Arnie's families, and felt so sad seing Arnie's gradual change from nerdy nice guy to something entirely different. Could Arnie have changed what happened, was there any way he could have put a stop to it? I sense not.

In anybody else's hands this tale would have been ridiculous, but SK makes it vivid, funny and bittersweet all at the same time. Not his best, but light years ahead of most other horror writers IMO.
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on 8 July 2013
Christine was the first Stephen King work I read, and it's lucky that it served as my introduction to Mister King, because it's rather good. This is a great character piece, with two well-drawn and sympathetic central figures (Dennis and Arnold), teenage males whose friendship begins to fray as one of them starts to obsess over a car - namely a red 1958 Plymouth Fury known as Christine...

The main weakness with this story, as so often with King, is the conclusion, which is fairly ridiculous and drags on longer than necessary. But that shouldn't stop you reading Christine. For the most part, it's a thoroughly enjoyable ride...
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on 19 February 2014
Are you that kind of person who names their car?

Arnie Cunningham is a geeky teenager and it is fair to say he is not one of the popular kids in school. Whilst walking home with his friend one day he spots on old and beaten car (a 1953 Plymouth Fury ) in the driveway of a grumpy old man's house who is wearing a back brace, Roland LeBay. Arnie is strangely drawn to the car and wants to ask the owner if the can buy it. His friend thinks he is mad as the car is old and rusty and if at all drivable, will probably need lots of work and investment. But Arnie wants this car - named Christine - and buys it off LeBay. Arnie hardly gets the car home, its that old and beaten. He eventually gets Christine the car into a local dodgy garage where the owner allows him to put the car in a corner and to work on it as long as he keeps quiet.

Arnie starts to work on the car to repair it, but something is not quite right. Friends and people in the garage notice that the repairs on the car appear somewhat random and sometimes the car seemed to have improved overnight without anyone working on it. It's almost as if the car is reversing to it's glory days. But it's not only the car. Arnie's friends also start to notice a change in him. The previously shy and geeky teenager is becoming initially more confident and cocky but than more and more strange. He also seems to be taken on physical characteristics of LeBay. Than he manages to go out with the popular pretty girl in school. And Christine is not happy, in fact, Christine is not happy with anyone who is involved with Arnie.
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on 30 September 2012
This is one of Stephen King's early novels and is somewhat more of a typical horror story than a lot of his other work.

The plot revolves around a typical American High School geek, Arnie, who becomes obsessed with his car (the titular Christine), which seems to have a life of its own.

The first and final sections of the book are told in the first person from the point of view of Dennis, Arnie's jock best friend; whilst the middle section is told in the third person and follows a number of different characters. This works well to a point (as Dennis is in hospital for the middle part of the book so obviously wouldn't be able to know what was going on outside), but I found it did distance me from the story a bit, and I would have liked to have seen things from Arnie's point of view as well.

I read this quickly and did enjoy it, but on the whole I did find it quite predictable, and not particularly scary. Perhaps because it's so old now the plot has somewhat seeped into popular culture (I've never seen the film version but still had a pretty good idea of the general plot before I started the book), however I also think the fact there is no uncertainty as to what is happening lets it down a bit. In the middle section we see clearly that Christine does have a supernatural life of her own, personally I would have liked it if this were not revealed until later in the book, and the reader was left unsure for longer if this was just in the minds of Arnie and Dennis.

Not one of King's best, but not his worst either, this is an enjoyable, pulpy read.
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So my great "Stephen King" reread began here with Christine...a book I have read several times and each time I love it more. One of Mr King's earlier works, it is also one of his most chilling. Arnie Cunningham, high school geek, bullied teenager and best friend to Dennis, spots an old broken down car for sale..and immediately falls in love. Love leads to obsession. But this car is not just any car....this is Christine.

Stephen King really is a master storyteller. THE master storyteller. Everyone knows the teenage years can be formative, tough, hard to cope with especially at school, dealing with parents and what they want for you - all that stuff that every one of us has to go through. First love. Remember that? In "Christine" that is very much a theme. Arnie's love for his car and later for a girl. And watching him deteriorate as Christine and her previous owner take over his heart and soul is scary and heart wrenching. Dennis tries to save him...and himself...but can we ever really do that? This novel I think in the minds of many is very much filed under "Horror". And I suppose in this case it is...BUT thats not all it is. Not by a long long way. Mr King as always takes the most normal of everyday things - in this case a car - and turns it into a metaphorical journey through that time of our lives that can affect our whole future. Brilliantly done. As always.
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on 14 September 2012
This is one of King's best books. It's driven by a brilliant but basic idea: a haunted, homicidal car which gradually takes over the life of a lonely teenage boy. But the clever thing about this novel is they way that it is told. Split into three parts, the book tells the story from the point of view of the boy's best friend, Dennis, in the first and third sections; the middle section is narrated in the third person.

This is a long book, but it is never boring. King takes his time in carefully painting a picture of small-town, lower-middle-class American life. The characters are all well developed over the opening few chapters, so we feel that we know them almost intimately by the middle of the book. King has that knack of being able to think and feel like a teenager, Dennis's narration sounds just like it comes from a typical 17-year-old. And the hopes, fears and insecurities are all beautifully laid bare. But this is, at the end of the day, a horror story; and the tale is brilliantly told. King allows the tension to slowly build throughout the book until we reach a terrifying denounment.

This book was quick made into a film in the mid eighties. But the novel is much better.
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