January 04, 2013

Thinner by Stephen King

I wasn't really a big fan of this book, which puts me in the minority.  I like a lot of King's other works, Different Seasons and The Shining were terrific.  But this one left a lot to be desired for me.

Billy Halleck is a local lawyer who has more than just a few pounds under his belt.  He's fat.  Or at least he is until he's cursed by a gypsy after running over one of the clan.  The problem is he got away with the manslaughter, and the man wanted revenge.  So now Billy is losing weight at an alarming rate and there's nothing he can do to stop it.  Short of finding the gypsy and reasoning with him, Billy is going to die.

Billy is not a sympathetic character.  He whines and moans and blames others for his problems.  In fact, I don't really see any growth in him at all until perhaps the very last chapter of the book, and by then it was too late for me to really care for him as a character at all.  And then there's the gypsies.  They're pretty much stereotyped and not in a kind way at all.  In fact, there weren't any redeeming characters in this book at all.  No one to root for, which aside from a cheap thrill doesn't really make the book worth reading.

I do have to say that the descriptiveness of the writing was very good and up to King's usual standard.  You can't complain that it wasn't filled with horrifying detail or scenes that you could absolutely picture through the description.  But when broken down the plot just didn't hold up because of the stereotyping, lame attempts at humor using racist jokes, and other flashy tricks with no real substance.  This could have been a great book for showing a man trying to do right and correct things to make his suffering go away; but instead you have him whining and blaming everyone else the entire time and ending up just the way you predict he will at the end.

I'll still read King's books, he's got some decent stuff out there and few clunkers like this one.  But I can't say that I'd recommend this particular book to anybody.

Copyright 1985
318 pages

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