Review: ‘Christine’

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Christine

by Stephen King

  • Date finished: Sept. 2, 2013
  • Genre: Fiction, Horror
  • Year: 1983
  • Project: n/a
  • Reading List: Fall 2013
  • Grade: A
  • Thoughts upon finishing:

It’s back to school time, which means one thing: it’s time for a good ol’ classic American horror tale. Seriously though, you have to say that something about Stephen King’s Christine screams classic Americana: flashy cars, girls, nerds and football players, and chapter headers appropriately titled “Teenage Car Songs,” “Teenage Love Songs” and “Teenage Death Songs.”

Because I’m not a car person, reading Christine was never high on my priority list, though when it was the last Stephen King on my shelf I hadn’t read yet, I figured why not. I still don’t care very much about the cars, but I will say that Christine has all the right elements of of a classic horror story. Teenage nerd buys beat-up classic car from a creepy old dude, becomes obsessed with fixing it up, and while he slowly becomes less nerdy, the car reveals its true self: a monster that has obsessions of its own.

I don’t have too terribly much to say about Christine other than I enjoyed it. It was a great book to bring on a work trip, as it sufficiently distracted me from the fact that I flew to Birmingham, Alabama by myself. The book skips along at a good pace, has the right amount of gross-outs and violence, balanced by King’s ability to lend his characters real emotion and humor – making them into real people, not just flat characters.

But that’s really King’s gift; his books are certainly “out there” and his motifs have now become stock horror standbys (children of the corn, anybody?). His stories work time and time again because he knows how to tap into what really scares us, and then find ways to weave those emotions into a far out tale that feels disturbingly like reality. Plus, I’m not going to lie: a supernatural car that hunts people like dogs and runs them down in the street until their guts are nothing but ribbons …. that’s really scary.

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