This audio production of A Christmas Story gathers together in one hilarious volume the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. Here is young Ralphie Parker's shocking discovery that his decoder ring is really a device to promote Ovaltine; his mother and father's pitched battle over the fate of a lascivious leg lamp; the unleashed and unnerving savagery of Ralphie's duel in the snow with the odious bullies Scut Farkas and Grover Dill; and, most crucially, Ralphie's unstoppable campaign to get Santa, or anyone else, to give him a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Who cares that the whole adult world is telling him, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid"?
The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story, previously published in the larger collections In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories, coalesce in a magical fashion to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and tickle the funny bone.
© Jean Shepherd; (P)2004 Random House Inc. Random House Audio, a divison of Random House, Inc.
For many people, Christmas isn't Christmas unless you sit down to watch the "A Christmas Story" on TBS on Christmas Eve. We all know the classic lines: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." "Oh, fuuuddgge!" "He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny!" "I triple-DOG dare ya!" You might be surprised that only one of these phrases actually came from this book.
The book, like the movie, is the quintessential look at life in Depression-era Upper Midwest America. Back before the internet invaded our lives, back before satellite/cable TV, heck, even before black-and-white-rabbit-ears TV, the primary means of entertainment was radio, which people listened to every evening: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, and Red Ryder. I don't have to explain the overwhelming desire that Ralphy has for the Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle, all because of this radio show.
It might surprise many that the book has little in common with the Christmas movie. The book moves through five interrelated stories, starting with the BB gun story, and progressing through the months after Christmas, ending with the Bumpus Hounds stealing the EASTER ham and the family going to the "Chop Suey place" for their Easter dinner. Kind of a letdown. Shepherd wrote the screenplay to the movie, and he incorporated the stories of the secret decoder ring, the leg lamp, the bully, the Bumpus hounds, and of course, the Red Ryder BB gun, into a coherent and sensible script. I'm glad he wrote it this way; it makes for a much better Christmas tradition and taste of Americana.
The narration by Dick Cavett was pretty good, but there were instances in which his voice was simply overwhelmed by the sound effects. Yes, sound effects. Christmas carols, jingling bells, hounds baying, the kitchen sink gurgling, all of it got in the way. At first, it was cute, but as the book progressed, the sound effects guy got carried away.
I really only recommend this book (and narration) for those that are interested in where the classic Christmas movie originated. This is one of those very rare cases in which I can say, the movie is better than the book.
this is a must listen for me during the holidays, much like watching the movie version, rudolph, elf. a feel good story with more tales than the movie.
This is a short audible book for about three hours of listening. It was very entertaining!! the reader did an excellent job telling the story!! The story itself entertained me immensely!! I thought it was fun to hear this original story that the movie is based on. The movie is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Enjoy!!
Jean Shepherd's writing has to be experienced to be believed. I couldn't imagine a better narrator for A Christmas Story than Dick Cavett. He captures the spirit of the tale perfectly. The other short stories in the collection are very good, as well, although none rises to the level of A Christmas Story. A truly inspired tale, every bit as charming as A Christmas Carol.
I really didn't think I would like the book, since I did not especially like the movie, but the book was soooo much better than the movie. Explains things better and has things in it than the movie did not.
I didn't like the film, and was surprised that the book had a lot more in it than what was in the movie. An interesting listen for any time of year.
We listened to this book during out holiday travels. The beginning was funny, but drug on from the midpoint on.
when he shot the BB gun.
I was expecting the whole book to be funny after having heard so much about the movie. I was disappointed in the last half of the book.
I was born in N Indiana, and moved when I was 7. I often wondered why my parents were the way they were. I understand them better now. BBs do not always hit the eye. I do remember wearing knickers on the way to school.
I have never been an aficionado of the movie, but wanted to hear the book to see whether maybe I was missing something. It was okay, but I don't want to listen twice. I would neither recommend nor discourage a friend to read the book.
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