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on January 14, 2013
The only thing lacking in this book is actual audio of Jean Shepherd. If you love his voice from his old radio broadcasts, you can imagine it sounding in your brain as you read his hysterically funny riffs on working class family life, school, being a kid in the 1940s - 50s. Wildly entertaining.
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on March 19, 2013
i was excited to read the original stories that inspired the movie. the book was cute and i laughed quite a few times. jean shepherd is a lil long winded and tends to pack in a lot of words when describing things but that made the story come to life even more!
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Wanting to read something with a Christmas theme, I selected A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd. The movie, A Christmas Story, was released in 1983 and has become more of a classic on television than it ever was in movie theaters. Most viewers don’t realize that many of the scenes from the A Christmas Story were actually from autobiographical essays in Jean Shepherd’s In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. This book consists of five essays that became part of the movie, A Christmas Story. Four are from In God We Trust, and one from Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories.

Growing up in a northern town in Indiana, young Ralphie lives with the Old Man, his mother, and his younger brother. As Christmas nears, Ralphie spends most of his time fantasizing about getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. But he also does the normal things a kid his age would do. He goes to school, he runs from bullies, he visits Santa, he checks out the toys in the local department store, he writes an essay about what he wants for Christmas, he eats in an automat, he receives stupid gifts from relatives, etc. The book took place in the 1930s, but as a kid growing up in the 1960s, it brought back a lot of Christmas memories from my own childhood.

What makes Jean Shepherd’s books so special are his self-deprecating humor and his powers of observation. How many of us remember the old Christmas tree lights connected to a mess of extension cords. “Occasionally in some houses a critical point was reached and one of these electrical bombs went off…” Or getting dressed in snowsuits that made it impossible to move once you were zipped in” Or fending off bullies at school: “Every school had at least five, and they usually gathered followers and toadies like barnacles on the bottom of a garbage scow. The lines were clearly drawn. You were either a Bully, a Toady, or one of the nameless rabble of Victims who hid behind hedges, continually ran up alleys, ducked under porches, and tried to get a connection with City Hall, City Hall being the Bully himself. I was an accomplished Alley Runner who did not wear sneakers to school from choice but to get off the mark quicker.” There are so many good laughs in A Christmas Story that it was a most enjoyable read.

After finishing A Christmas Story, I need to go back and read In God We Trust. I’m sure that it is also filled with many autobiographical gems.
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on December 28, 2015
This book has the beloved and familiar story seen in the movie, but there are stories I didn't recognize. I laughed out loud so often my friend is buying the book. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it too.
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on February 16, 2016
I love the movie and the book is just as great.
I was surprised that the book was the same as the movie but everything happened in different order. So the story was interesting and fun all over again.
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on November 25, 2011
Wonderful story of Christmas, set in Cleveland,OH, in about the 1950's, presented in narration form by an adult remembering his childhood experiences surrounding a particular Christmas season. The story is based on a composite of various short stories by story teller and author Jean Shepard, who also acts as the narrator of the movie.His voice and narration adds a special almost personal dimension to the movie. This movie, appealing to children and adults alike, with its unparalleled humor and touch of nostalgia, has become, during the past several years, a classic equal almost to "The Wizard of Oz" and "It's a Wonderful Life". We have watched "A Christmas Story" whenever it was featured on TV, and, when we discovered Amazon featured it in its Blue-ray collection, it was a MUST-buy. I am delighted with the added almost 3D sharpness in the blue-ray version. This movie is worth being in everyone's video collection!
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on September 25, 2009
These stories are great, and it's fun to see them all together in one production. I loved the film, "A Christmas Story", and it's interesting to see the similarities and the differences between the original stories and how they were adapted to fit the movie. However, it really wasn't necessary to add the sound to the reading. I felt like it was a cheap trick to try to get more people who saw the movie to buy this CD set, but it really detracted from the reading. I mean, I can accept that the book and the movie are different. I don't need the publishing company to add sounds that allude to the movie in order for me to be interested in the original stories!
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on January 28, 2008
Let me say first off that this is NOT the "Book of the Movie". Nor is it a single work, as the blurb on the cover may lead one to believe. This book is a compilation of the original wryly funny Jean Shephard short stories, that were developed by him into the classic film. These include the saga of the Red Ryder BB gun, naturally, the "Major Award", "Grover Dill" AKA "Scutt Farkus" and the Bumpuses; though one learns more about them, than just their hounds.
The whole book runs to only 130 pages, and is a perfect size for a stocking stuffer, or a gift for those folks one just doesn't know what to buy: work, "Secret Santas" etc. Recommended.
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on January 28, 2016
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The story was nostalgic and charming. What I didn't like was the audio version of the story. Dick Cavett was monotone and the pacing was slow. But it was the audio production that got to me. It was so unnecessary and loud in some places. Plus, it was distracting when overlaying Cavett's monotone narration.
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VINE VOICEon December 30, 2014
I remember listening to a few snippets of Jean Shepherd when I was a kid. He was a mesmerizing storyteller, who essentially invented talk radio and inspired an art form perfected by Ira Glass (This American Life) and Garrison Keillor. If you are interested in Shepherd, hundreds of his old radio shows are available on the internet archive website.

Shepherd's radio schtick was a lot darker than what appears in this book, which portrays his father and family life in much milder and lighter terms. The stories are extremely funny, and Dick Cavett does a good job filling in for the late Shepherd on the audio version of the book.

I've never actually watched the whole movie, but I do highly recommend this book.
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