Book Review: Grease by Ron De Christoforo

Hi everyone! I do hope you’re all well! It’s review time again, and today, after becoming intrigued to do so after I learned of its existence, I am reviewing Grease by Ron De Christoforo – the novelisation of the stage show and movie of the same name.

Grease by Ron De Christoforo was initially published in 1978 by Pocket Books and is 220 pages long.

Grease, like the movie it is based upon, tells the story of a group of high school teens as they head back to school after the summer and begin to prepare themselves for adulthood while taking part in drag races (the car kind- not the fabulous drag queen kind) and dance competitions.

There isn’t much to say about the characters as individuals, really. The story is narrated by Sonny, for some strange reason, who isn’t even a central character in the movie.

All the expected suspects are present; we have Danny, Sandy, Frenchy, Kenickie, Rizzo and so on, plus a few others, like Sonny’s aunt and a girl called Marsha, whom I kept mistaking for Marty; it’s all a little confusing.

On the whole, all the characters are oddly written. Everyone appears to be a bully with no redeeming qualities; they are unrealistic and don’t match up well with their on-screen counterparts.

They also seem overly dramatic (I know, it’s Grease but still), and the dialogue doesn’t seem realistic. The constant use of ‘ehey’ at the start of almost every line of speech is irritating, as is the so-called humour, which is a bit forced and unduly over the top. In fact, the whole book feels over the top.

Writing Style
The novelisation feels off, though I can’t quite say why. It may have something to do with the fact that the story’s main character is a small role in the movie. Sonny isn’t in every scene in the film, so when it comes to the book, he is either shoehorned into a scene or relays what other characters have told him. Since the primary focus of the film and the stage show is the relationship between Sandy and Danny, you would have thought one of those characters would be narrating. But no.

The story also starts sooner than it does in the movie. In the book, we get to know a little more about Danny and Sonny as they take a trip to Sonny’s aunt’s bed and breakfast, which helps set things up a little since the movie’s ‘tell me more’ musical number is not present (the song helps set the backstory of how Danny and Sandy met in the film).

There’s also an odd little chapter that comes out of nowhere plonked right in the middle of the book, where the characters react to the death of Buddy Holly. It’s things like this that make the whole thing feel clunky.

Before reading the book, I wondered how the music would be novelised – if indeed it would be at all. And it is in there, but it’s handled awkwardly. For example, one of the stranger parts of the book is when Kenicky shows up with the car and sings/speaks greased lightning by himself while the others cheer him on.

Another thing about the book that stuck in my craw is how the author writes about women. Look, I know there’ll be people who’ll say, ‘it was a different time,’ and yes, granted, it was, but 1978 isn’t centuries in the past – it was only 45 years ago (not that women should be disrespected or objectified in any period, but that’s a rant for a later time). And the way the characters speak about Cha-Cha… perhaps I’m just too much of a snowflake millennial to appreciate the lad-ish banter. I don’t know.

Final Thoughts
This book is truly awful. There are so many things wrong with it that if I were to list them all, I would be typing all day. It’s remarkably over the top and tries incredibly hard to be as good as its screen counterpart, but it isn’t. I almost stopped reading it once or twice, but I persevered so that I’d be able to give it a fair review. If you love the movie, I’d recommend skipping this novelisation lest it tarnishes the story for you.

I am giving Grease 1/10.

Have you read Grease? What are your thoughts? Which version do you think is better, the stage show, the movie or the book?

As always, thanks for reading my review! I appreciate your time!

Until next time,


© 2023 GLT

Categories: Book Reviews, Reading

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