Miscellanea, Reviews

Thinner by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

Let’s talk about weight.

Weight is, without a doubt, a heavy subject. (Sorry.) You could be overweight, underweight, or at a perfectly healthy weight, but I know very few people who are happy with what the scale says. I’m no different. I work out and am physically very healthy, but (sadly) I do not look like Jessica Alba, or realistically for me, Kristin Chenoweth. Would I love to lose five pounds? Of course. Do I wish there was some magical way to make that happen that didn’t involve me giving up bread, wine, and pasta? Definitely. But, as always, be careful what you wish for (and who you make angry).

Thinner

Billy Halleck, a severely overweight lawyer and family man from Connecticut, has recently been found not guilty of vehicular manslaughter. While driving home from the grocery store Billy, who was distracted by his wife (who was giving new meaning to autoeroticism), hit and killed a woman from a traveling band of Gypsies. The woman’s family member did not find Halleck’s acquittal fair, so he touched Billy’s cheek and whispered ‘thinner’. Although he’s always wanted to lose some weight (and deeply unsettled by the encounter), Halleck thought nothing of it. Until he began to lose weight. After he’s lost more than 90 pounds, the desperate lawyer tries to track down the traveling band of gypsies and get them to break the curse. This is a Stephen King novel; it’s your job to think up the most depressing ending possible. You might be right, but it’s more than likely that your imagined ending is a bit happier than the one that occurs.

‘Thinner’ was the last novel published under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman (at least while the pseudonym was still a secret). And I have to say it’s not my favorite of King’s novel. It’s dark and well written, but I found it too devoid of the humanity with which King usually writes. Granted, Billy is not a sympathetic character. He used his friend, a judge, to get away with what is essentially negligent homicide. While it was an accident, it is more important to pay attention to the road while driving than to the handjob your wife is giving you – it should not have been occurring while the car was in motion. But that is just my opinion. Men around the world might weep with indignation at my statement.

Now on to the important information – should you read ‘Thinner’? Sure, it’s not a bad book. It’s creepy, foreboding, and possesses the ability to make you squirm. However, I can give you at least ten other King novels you should start with first. I would mostly recommend this novel for those, like me, who are trying to read the complete works of Stephen King or have an interest in dark fiction with bleak, depressing endings. If you already are a King fan and want to know where this falls in the King spectrum, I’d say somewhere ahead of Blockade Billy and behind The Dark Half and The Long Walk, approximately on par with Christine. 3.5/5. ‘Thinner’ was made into a movie in the ‘90’s, starring Robert John Burke. Anyone seen it? Is it worth adding to my DVD queue. I’ve heard it was a decent King adaptation, but that’s not saying much.

Ice Cream

Billy eats whatever he wants whenever he feels like it. Six strips of bacon, three friend eggs, two English muffins, and juice are a normal breakfast for him. As today is National Ice Cream day, I am recommending said item to accompany ‘Thinner’ (specifically Apricot-Praline, as apricots are in season). It certainly won’t aid you in your quest to become thinner, but it will offset the bitter ending. If you can still eat while reading it…

1/2

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