Sunday, March 18, 2012
Constant Reading Project: Christine
Released: April 29, 1983
Screen adaptations: 1983, directed by John Carpenter
Connections to other works: This isn't the only time King has written about a creepy car, but that doesn't mean any of them are connected. Interestingly enough, Christine and From a Buick 8 are both set in Pennsylvania.
First of all, look at that cover. Is that bad ass or what? Ignoring the now traditional SK font, the bottom half of this cover is just about the coolest thing ever. If you are a King fan and happen to date or be married to a woman named Christine, get this tattooed on you NOW.
OK, let's get serious. 1983 turns out to be a hell of a year for King. We'll have two more books from that year to talk about. Christine the movie hit theaters before the end of the year. In the afterword to Different Seasons, our previous book, King made two comments that have become standard quotes. He called himself the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries and said critics believed he could publish his laundry list and it would be a best seller. When one person floods the market as King did in the early '80s, it's easy to belive King's perception of himself and his work.
Now, about the work. Christine is another coming of age story. Teens growing up, falling in love, making and losing friends ... and listening to music. The copyright page(s) are loaded with permissions for the lyrics that top every chapter. Some about cars, some about love, some about death. One must remember that King is a populist. While the copyrights are given to writers and labels, lyrics are tagged to the band/singer who made the song popular. This creates a running soundtrack for the book. Personally, I'd love to see more books with soundtracks. (Another book that needs a soundtrack: Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, but that's a different post.)
Christine follows a format we're getting familiar with in King's work. A supporting character tells the main story. So while it's told in first person, it's not told by the protagonist. It's a style that allows for clearer perspective when the main character is going mad.
One last thing: Christine is set in the fictional town of Libertyville, Penn., which just happens to be next door to Monroeville. Christine is dedicated to Monroeville's most famous denizen, George A. Romero and Chris Forrest Romero. George and Steve were doing a little movie called "Creepshow" not too long before Christine was released.
I'll be reading a 503-page Signet paperback. According to the copyright page, it's the 47th printing of the book. Incredible.