Page To Screen: A Christmas Story stayed on the kid side of a coming-of-age book

In Page To Screen, we compare a movie to the book that spawned it. The analysis goes into deep detail about specific plot points—in other words, you’ve been warned.

Jean Shepherd’s In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash (1966) and Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story (1983)

Christmas is the day “around which the entire kid year revolved,” the writer and radio personality Jean Shepherd correctly notes, which is why it’s surprising that few works of art have captured that sense of anticipation. A lot of holiday movies feature young protagonists, but outside of A Christmas Story—co-written by Shepherd, and based on his writings—almost none tell a natural story (that is, sans a supernatural or other high-concept element) about how December gets more and more intoxicating as the 25th approaches.

A Christmas Story is mostly pulled from four pieces in Shepherd’s story …

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