Christine, by Stephen King – Bullies and Retribution


I’m a little over one hundred pages in. The world is building and the narrative engine is popping and grunting and coming to life. I, much like Arnie Cunninghham, will soon be possessed. 


Exceeding seven hundred pages, it would be hard for my discussion of the first hundred to really offer any spoilers beyond what a brief reading of the blurb would do, so you’ll be pretty safe reading on. The story goes like this: one day Arnie, a serially bullied and ridiculed pot faced teenager, spots an ugly, battered and broken, complete shit heap of a car for sale at the side of the road. At the time, Dennis, his only friend, tries to convince him not to waste all his wages on the car, to at least consider something better at half the price somewhere else – but Arnie is hooked and soon becomes worryingly obsessed with this rusted, eery Plymouth Fury.

If you have read Carrie, you’ll know how well King writes retribution. Power out of powerlessness, strength out of loneliness, the underdog takes a bite even if it may spell its last. Carrie, that abused girl, who turns on her bullies, I wonder if Arnie will do the same. His existence seems too painful, too miserable to miss out on some great retribution. He is the kid who is tripped in school hallways, who is punched and kicked and spat on for being different. But now something has him, it is an obsession with a car that creeps Dennis out, that is slowly changing Arnie into several different people. 

Will this darkness that Christine embodies take a hold of Arnie? Will retribution become cruel sport? I really hope so.