Christine by Stephen King

(No Series)

Evil is alive in Libertyville. It inhabits a custom-painted red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury and the teenage boy, Arnold Cunningham, who buys it from the strange Roland LeBay.

Helped by Arnold's girlfriend Leigh Cabot, Dennis Guilder embarks to find out the real truth behind Christine and finds more than he bargained for: from murder, to suicide, and a strange feeling that surrounds Christine -- she gets even with anyone that crosses her! Can Dennis save Arnold from the evil that is Christine?

Finally I read this one. Great book and matches what I expected with the positive reviews. Plot-wise it follows much of the movie but there is a major difference. While the events are basically the same, the story behind it is altered majorly.  In the book Lebay is the one who made Christine alive and who was the real evil power controlling the car rather than being an evil, powerful car by itself. Lebay  was the previous owner who sells the vehicle to Arnie. He passes soon after and his spirit distorts the vehicle, which is already supernatural. It's confusing on how and it doesn't seem Christine had that bad of a history before being owned by Lebay. Their unhealthy bond seemed to spur each one further, empowering both more and more.

I prefer King's older writing style over his newer stuff. He kept it more compact, action driven, and easier with flow. Here it's no different but he seemed to commit a major strangeness. In the middle of the book he switches viewpoint! The book was told for over 200 pages in first-person point of view. Suddenly, out of the blue, he starts  switching character viewpoints! Bizarre, right? Never seen that before. It's almost like he wanted to write a first-person viewpoint and then decided after most of the book was done that it wasn't the best decision.  Then after page 350 or so, he then goes back again to Dennis as the main character and first point of view for the rest of the book to complete the ending.

Quickly paced with various ups and downs and a sad, bittersweet touch. Violence was powerful and thrilling, suspense tightly woven during chase scenes and lead ups, making this a complete horror story in every sense of the word.

A nifty ensemble of characters. Arnie was depressing but at the same time quite likeable. Dennis is a sympathetic enough hero of the tale, although he doesn't stand out too greatly, with Arnie being more interesting. Same for Leigh. The main focus of the book is triangles - Arnie, Dennis, Leigh - and Arnie, Lebay, and Christine. 

The ending held an exciting wrap-up, rounding the book off perfectly. Highly recommended for any King or horror fans who have let this pass them by.

Spoilers Dissection

I leave the book confused on the possession angle.  It seems LeBay made Christine alive somehow rather than how the movie shows it? 

Evidence the car is more Lebray than Christine by herself:

  • When Lebay's brother is telling Dennis during their first conversation about his brother's obsession with the car, he mentions that Lebay was always hunting for a car and finally ordered one and had custom things done to it like the paint job. This would indicate to me he ordered that style of car in a way he wanted, but that he never saw it in person prior, right?  So either the car was a normal vehicle and it began supernatural stuff with their link, or else the car he just happened to pick was Christine, already inhabited by evil.
  • If the second is true, then why would Christine let herself sit in a bodyshop or dealership? And, if she always liked to keep everything the same with her stubborn personality, why did she allow herself to be custom painted and then keep that paint job?
  • Also, instead of making the book about Christine, once LeBay was revealed as a spirit in the car, the book focuses on him as the main point for the duration, in control of Christine. It would seem because of that he is the driving force. Even the very end of the book now ends with "His undying fury," rather than "hers" like before. King changed it as readers learned more and read further.
  • If Christine was alive and changed the people's lives and absorbed them, so to speak, then why would she merge Lebray and Arnie? Why would she not leave him as he is and slowly change him into another version of himself?
  • If Christine just changes people and gets them addicted to her, that would explain Lebray, but it wouldn't explain Arnie merging with Lebray until Lebray was the main driving lifeforce behind the car. Otherwise, a previous owner would also have to be merged inside Lebray. And it's made clear with backstory that Lebray was always an evil sort of man, way before he met Christine. Christine didn't make him evil.
  • The last hang-up I have is, why did the car deteriorate so bad under Lebrays watch? I guess it did not have as much power or restoration before being purchased by Arnie? 
  •  Dennis seems to start finding that out at the end. So, again, that would mean previously Christine - before Arnie and Lebay merged, did not have as much power by itself? And that the merging of the two would make the car as alive as it was, which would again indicate they were the only owners ever of Christine....thus meaning it was Lebray again rather than Christine possessing him at first.

End Spoilers Dissection

   Book Quotes:

“Love is old slaughterer. Love is not blind. Love is a canibal with extremely acute vision. Love is insectile, it is always hungry.”

  “As soon as you have a child, you see your own tombstone.”


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