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A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film | [Jean Shepherd]

A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film

The holiday film A Christmas Story, first released in 1983, has become a bona fide Christmas perennial, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. Its affectionate, wacky, and wryly realistic portrayal of an American family's typical Christmas joys and travails in small-town Depression-era Indiana has entered our imagination and our hearts with a force equal to It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.
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Publisher's Summary

The holiday film A Christmas Story, first released in 1983, has become a bona fide Christmas perennial, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. Its affectionate, wacky, and wryly realistic portrayal of an American family's typical Christmas joys and travails in small-town Depression-era Indiana has entered our imagination and our hearts with a force equal to It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (297 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jason G. Taylor Flowery Branch, GA USA 12-18-12
    Jason G. Taylor Flowery Branch, GA USA 12-18-12 Member Since 2012

    photogeek

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Random, but fun collection of stories"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, but only to those not easily offended by profanity.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The book is a collection of short stories, so there wasn't a grand finale.


    What does Dick Cavett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Dick has a gruff voice that takes a little bit of time to start to enjoy -- however, he voice does grow on you. The reading has background sound effect and intro music -- which does help add to the performance.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Each of the stories had their own charms. The famous "leg lamp" story and the "Easter ham" are my favorites.


    Any additional comments?

    The stories are just a random collection of short recollections that have very little to do with Christmas, with the exception of the BB-gun story. I actually like the movie better -- it somehow takes most of these stories and puts them in a related order leading up to the climax of the BB-gun story finale. Also, the movie is family friendly -- but this book is laced with plenty of profanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Libby SANDY, OR, United States 01-16-12
    Libby SANDY, OR, United States 01-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A Christmas Story Doesn't Disappoint"

    These stories are familiar to anyone who loves the movie of "A Christmas Story", but what's really great about the audio book is that we find out a lot of back story for the characters and situations that were combined for the screenplay to make a 2-hour movie. Some of the original stories take place at times other than Christmas, but the screenwriter did a great job picking situations that could fit into the Christmastime storyline and adapting them; hearing them more fleshed-out enriched our memory of the movie. The long story about the Bumpasses was really fun and rather un-PC. We learn more about the background of the Dad and how he won the Major Award. It was exactly the right length for a drive down from Seattle to Portland on Christmas Day (3 hrs, 20 m), so it was perfect for us. We really enjoyed hearing it and we could run the movie in our heads. Although it's too bad there was no recording of Jean Shepherd reading it, Dick Cavett was a very good substitute.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 01-02-12
    Lisa 01-02-12
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    "A great adult Christmas read"
    If you could sum up A Christmas Story in three words, what would they be?

    Funny - heart-warming - characters you can identify with


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Christmas Story?

    the famous leg lamp, of course


    What about Dick Cavett’s performance did you like?

    He really helps the story come to life; you can clearly picture each scene.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh


    Any additional comments?

    If you like the movie you'll love the book!...there is some language so not appropriate for little ears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Woodstock, IL, United States 12-20-11
    Stephen Woodstock, IL, United States 12-20-11 Listener Since 2007
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    "Classic christmasstory"

    A classic. If you liked the movie, you will love this audiobook. Dick Cavett seemed, at first, to be an odd choice, but he does a marvelous job. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Franks New York, NY United States 12-16-11
    Cynthia Franks New York, NY United States 12-16-11 Member Since 2006

    Sootyfootyput

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Make it a Christmas Tradition"

    This is a great listen. It is not the movie, but the performance by Dick Cavett is destined to be a legend in "kiddom." The subtle sound effects add a dimension to this that will delight both young and old. The book is a group of short stories that cover several types of special occasions; the "dogs stealing the holiday meal" incident is much funny in the book. Jean Shepherd is a superb writer. At 3 hours it makes a great Christmas Eve listen. Turn off the TV and the lights and listen while your own family Holiday magic surrounds you.

    The book is a group of short stories so you don't have to listen to them all and you don't have to listen to them in order. The "Red Rider BB Gun Story," is first.

    I found this gave me a greater appreciation for the film because the essence of each story is wove into one story in the film. I use it when teaching adaptation in my screenwriting classes because it's so well done.

    Listen to a sample and I know you'll want to download it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Hooksett, NH, USA 12-27-08
    Elaine Hooksett, NH, USA 12-27-08
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    "Dumb, Dumb, Dumb"

    and the title says it all...

    0 of 20 people found this review helpful
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