We all remember our first car; mine was a 1998 Ford Explorer. Before that I shared with my parents or my brother, but that feeling of when the car is your and yours alone is a pretty great feeling. Eventually, that Ford Explorer did what Fords that were made during that time did; it crapped out on me. I put so much money into that car, so for it to do that to me I took it personally. I started to view the car as a nemesis. Now, of course a car can’t be evil, but what if it could? For Arnie Cunningham that’s exactly what he had to deal with in Christine.
On his way home from work one day, with his friend Dennis Guilder, Arnie spots a beat up 1958 Plymouth Fury aka Christine. Arnie decides he has to have it. After some haggling and having the previous owner, Roland D. LeBay, hold the car for him for a little while Arnie buys the car. He takes it to a local do-it-yourself shop run by a man by the name of Will Darnell – who is rumored to use his garage for illegal activity.
The more Arnie works on the car the more closed-off and humorless he becomes. He also seems to be getting more attractive, with his acne clearing up and he is becoming more confident. It starts to appear that the more work he does on Christine and the better the car starts to look the better he looks.
Shortly after, LeBay passes away. At the funeral Dennis meets LeBay’s younger brother, George. He tells Dennis about his brother’s violent past and that he was always angry and blamed “the shitters” for everything that went wrong in his life. George also tells Dennis that Roland’s wife and daughter both died in the car at different times.
Well, as time goes by Arnie starts taking on some of the personality traits as Roland. Dennis also notices that Arnie has started doing odd jobs for Darnell.
So by the time that Christine is fully restored, Arnie has started dating the new girl in town, Leigh Cabot. During a date, Leigh chokes on a burger only to be saved by a hitchhiker. While choking she noticed the dashboard lights seemed to becoming glaring green eyes staring at her. She realizes that her and Christine were competing for Arnie’s affection.
After getting the bully kicked out of school, the bully finds where Christine is parked and vandalizes it, almost to the point where it is just scraps, so Arnie gets back to work on it. Once it is magically healed, a string of mysterious car-related deaths start to occur.
Becoming obsessed with Christine, Arnie and Leigh break up. Leigh and Dennis start dating sometime after that and one night Arnie catches them. That sends Arnie into a rage and with both of them suspecting what is happening with Arnie and Christine, they devise a plan to destroy Christine once and for all.
I love the story of friendship in this book. Even with all the shit that was going on there were still moments where Arnie and Dennis were the best of friends and really cared about each other. There are times where the book seems a bit overlong and the other character relationships are just off. At times Dennis will be talking about how awful Arnie’s mom is, but then will say something about her acting like they had never baked pies together or laughed together. With all of the weird things in this book I have to remind myself that this was in the midst of Stephen King’s biggest cocaine and beer days. I also wasn’t crazy about the ending. It left me unsatisfied. I don’t know what I was expecting…I just wanted something else, I guess.
Length: 526 pages
Favorite Quote: “As soon as you have a child, you see your own tombstone”
Niles’ rankings of Stephen King books:
- Mr. Mercedes
- ‘Salem’s Lot
- The Shining
- End of Watch
- Gerald’s Game
- Finders Keepers