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Review – Thinner by Richard Bachman


by Richard Bachman
309 pages
Published 1984

I don’t know why, but I decided I wanted to read a scary book. I think it had something to do with not being able to stay up for the whole 24-Hour Read-a-Thon, and I thought if I’d had a scary book, then surely I would have been able to stay awake. So I asked my friend, Jessica, for what she would recommend I read by Stephen King that wasn’t supernatural (i.e. it couldn’t have ghosts, demons, or anybody possessed). Thinner was on that list and I snatched it up from the library.

*Sidenote: This book is so old (“How old is it?”) that it has the little pocket on the very first page of the book with due dates stamped in. I totally remember that’s how books used to be checked out.

**Second Sidenote: Richard Bachman was a pseudonym that Stephen King used for a while…so I’ll just say this was written by Stephen King, since Stephen King’s name has way scarier connotations than Richard Bachman.

Thinner is about Billy Halleck, a really fat guy who accidentally kills a Gypsy woman with his car. You’d never guess (or maybe you would) why Billy was distracted while driving, but it made me snicker. Okay, okay, I’ll tell you, since this isn’t really a spoiler: *whispering* his wife was giving him a hand job. HAHAHA!! I know, right? Billy’s angry through much of the book because HE gets punished but it’s his WIFE who distracted him and nothing happens to HER.

Anyway, I’m totally distracting myself.

So Billy kills this old Gypsy woman, and he’s put on trial but is acquitted. Shortly after he’s acquitted, an old Gypsy man walks by him, caresses Billy’s face with his finger, and says, “Thinner.”

Creepy, right?

And Billy’s totally stoked when he starts losing weight, which he’s half-heartedly tried to do in the past, and now the weight is coming off effortlessly! Huzzah! But then Billy gets worried that is doesn’t matter what he eats, he’s still losing weight, so he goes to a doctor who’s kind of a friend and the doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong but doesn’t seem too concerned because it’s not like Billy’s emaciated yet. Then Billy gets this idea that he should check on the other people involved, so to speak, in the vehicular manslaughter, like the cop who did the investigation and the judge who let Billy off the hook, and each person involved is going through some horrible physical transformation that doctors can’t figure out. ACK!

So Billy sets out to find the Gypsy man who did this to him, knowing it’s between that and death, and hopes the Gypsy man can reverse this…curse. Billy hopes the Gypsy man can do something, after all, he still has a wife and daughter, and certainly a little bit of groveling never hurt anyone.

As far as the writing goes…meh. Not so much. I’ve read one other Stephen King book (The Green Mile when it was coming out in novellas, one by one) and I don’t remember the writing exactly, but I certainly don’t remember not liking it. Let’s just say that the writing didn’t suck me in, and as the story was a little slow going in the beginning, I was impatient for some action. The story was good, though like I said, it was slow going in the beginning because you don’t learn about the other cursed people for at least 75 pages, but once you learn about those people…oh, there’s no stopping the story.

And the ending! Holy cow, I was reeling from that for DAYS.

Rating: 84 out of 100

What’s your favorite Stephen King book?

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