I’m a huge Stephen King fan (Pet Sematary is my favourite novel, although I think I like his shorts best) but I haven’t read many of his earliest works – Carrie, Cujo, Firestarter, and until very recently, Christine. Never been much of a car person, so I think I was a little frightened off by the subject matter.
But continuing to play along with my friends’ reading challenge, and with the theme of a library find or a gifted book calling out to me (indeed, Christine is a book I gifted to myself out of my condo’s library!) I thought it was time to pull Christine out of the garage and really see what she could do out on the open road.
Without giving too much away regarding the plot of this 35-year-old novel, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t strictly geared towards gearheads. The events of the novel actually surround 17-year-old Arnie Cunningham. Arnie’s smart, bright and funny, a hard worker and a great student, but he’s also tragically unpopular and run over roughshod by every single person in his life – his teachers, his overbearing mother and father, even his everydude best friend, Dennis. That all changes the day he meets Christine, a rundown hunk of Plymouth junk rusting to death on a nasty old man’s lawn. Arnie HAS to have her, won’t actually listen to a word of Dennis’s reasonable counsel regarding her poor condition, her vile, greedy owner or the total shit fit his parents are sure to have if he attempts to bring her home. But bring her home he does, wildly overpaying for the red and white, 1958 Fury that will come to tear his tidy suburban life – as well as a good number of people! – to bits.
Thirty-five-year-old spoilers or no, we all know by now what Christine does – she’s the murder car! I think it’s one of those terms that just might be part of the pop culture lexicon by now. Even the back of the book jacket hammers home the elegantly horrific nightmare fuel that “Christine is no lady. She is Stephen King’s ultimate, blackly evil vehicle of horror.”
But Christine is about so much more than a homicidal car. I think it’s really a story about growing up, whether you’re an unpopular 17-year-old dork, that dork’s parents or the wretched old bastard who sold the dork a murder car. It’s a quest for independence, a love story, a tale of obsession. I liked it, even if I think King whiffed the ending. Good to know that literary quirk of his started early. 😉
If you’ve been following along with this Literary Inspiration series, you know I like to do a manicure to accompany whatever book I’ve recently finished reading. Here I was inspired by Petunia, a hot pink sanitation truck (her name is spelled out in giant gothic letters across her potbellied side) who gives Christine a run for her money. That’ll do, Petunia. 🙂