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Thinner - Stephen King

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Author: Stephen King / Genre: Horror

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    9 Reviews
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      22.09.2009 18:30
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      The Worst Stephen King Book Ever I Reckon, And None Of Them Are That Good I Don't Think

      I've never heard of such a stupid plot for a book but something about the writing on the back of Thinner made me want to read it, I'm not mad keen on Stephen King because his books aren't as scary or thrilling as HE thinks they are but I thought I'd try this one because it's quite a short book and I thought if I got bored I wouldn't have to wait long until I finished the book.

      Billy is a professional man who has a wife he loves and a daughter they both adore. One day he runs over and kills an old gypsy woman and her husband puts a curse on him, just by touching his face and whispering "Thinner" the gypsy turns Billy's life upside down. Billy is a typical American man (no offence!) in that he eats too much and has got overweight but after the curse his weight drops scarily by sometimes 2 or 3 lbs a day.

      Eventually he looks like a walking skeleton and then sets out to find the gypsy to ask him to lift the curse.

      Sounds boring, huh? Yeah, it is. Proper boring. Billy wallows big time in self pity and the whole book is concentrated too much on him and that means that Stephen King has 300 pages to fill based on this one blokes thoughts. These thoughts are repeated over and over again and I noticed as I was reading that they are just written different so that the reader thinks they are getting original things on each page but it's just a retelling of stuff we already know.

      I liked Billy's wife and would have liked to know how she dealt with it but she's not hardly mentioned apart from when Billy decides in his head that he's going to put the blame on her for what happened. It does turn out that she was in the wrong as well but because of how the accident happened (i can't tell you that though because it's a bit of a bombshell as your reading) but then Billy stops taking any of the blame for himself and what his wife did wasn't without encouragement from him at the time.

      His daughter doesn't come into the book that much and I think she's only in to get some sympathy for Billy.

      It's just a stupid book from page one and I don't know how I managed to get through it to the end. One thing that proper bugged me was how quick Billy lost his weight and the fact that every now and again Stephen King would throw in a comment about how people were looking at him in disgust because he was so skeletal but there are very thin people all round us and we don't point and stare like that. I also reckon it would be impossible for such a fat man as Billy to get so thin so quick because I want to know where all his flabby stretched skin went.

      I know it's a work of fiction but the weight loss thing didn't make sense to me and I think the book should have been set over a longer period instead of making out that it was such a quick thing. There was no suspense in it and I didn't think it was a thriller either, it was just a very boring book that I couldn't wait to finish so I could start reading something better.

      It's available on DVD as well and I can't imagine how boring and stupid that film would look based on what I read in this book and other rubbish Stephen King films.

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      29.07.2009 14:41
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      A nice story, but I wouldn't call it a horror, and I wish the ending was slightly more exciting!

      I'll be the first to admit that of the Stephen King books I've read, I've been left slightly underwhelmed. But when my local library was refurbished, leaving the fiction shelves in a bizarre, hard-to-follow order, I somehow ended up at the horror shelves (which I'm not sure even existed pre-refurb) and decided to give him another try. This book was written under the name Richard Bachman.

      Thinner jumped out at me because, besides the fact it was easily the most colourful in the row with its bright orange spine, it wasn't ridiculously long. I tend to lose interest with books over about 400-500 pages, and the majority of his work looked pretty lengthy. I was also interested because it centres around a man losing a lot of weight, and let's face it, I'm sure many of us will hold our hands up to wanting to lose a few pounds.

      Let me tell you, nobody would want to lose weight the way Billy Halleck did. A wealthy, and extremely overweight, lawyer, he hits a gypsy woman with his car one day while distracted, shall we say, by his wife. The woman is killed, and he gets off the hook thanks to his lawyer and sometime golf partner Cary Rossington. The police aren't concerned with details such as breathalysing, either, as it means the gypsies will move on after the court case without them having to lift a finger.

      On his way from the courthouse, Billy is touched on the face by an old gypsy man with a bizarre skin affliction, who he assumes to be the old woman's husband. When he begins to shed a few pounds, he's pretty happy, but as it becomes more and more rapid he starts to worry something might be wrong, urged by his wife to see a doctor. Unfortunately, this isn't the kind of thing the doctor can cure, and his only hope is to track down the one who started his rapid decline.

      I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, finding it compulsively readable and with enough surprises to keep my interest. I can't say I found any of the characters particularly likeable, and at times didn't feel that I knew some of them well enough, but the story flowed well despite this, and besides Billy himself, we really don't need to get too involved with anyone else other than the gypsies.

      One thing I did notice, which I have read in other Stephen King books, was that he shamelessly mentions himself. For example, when he starts to connect the dots and wonder whether the gypsy man was to blame, he is told that he "sounds like something from a Stephen King novel". I just found this a little embarrassing and conceited if I'm honest, and it made me detach from the scene for a while, as essentially I had been reminded that I was reading a book, if that makes any sense at all.

      I will also say that I have not yet read a Stephen King book that I have found remotely scary. It was a nice story, sure, but is it as "terrifying" as the cover said? Not at all. There is nothing terrifying about it, unless you the reader are an overweight lawyer who has mown down a gypsy woman and subsequently been touched on the face by an old gypsy man. How many of us does this apply to? Yes, exactly. The "horror" part of the drama is so slow to unfold, he loses weight, loses some more, loses some more, and yes things other things happen which keeps the story interesting, but we are so well used to the fact that he is on his way to dying if he doesn't find a cure that it is certainly not scary.

      The ending, which I won't give away of course, was a little predictable in some ways. While I didn't know what would happen should he finally catch up with the gypsies, it was obvious how he thought justice should be dealt, and almost made the climax of the book, the final two chapters, a little redundant.

      I did enjoy this book and it has encouraged me to give more of King's work a try. However, the ending was a disappointment, and this is a shame as I had so eagerly devoured the rest of the story. You can find Thinner for £5.49 on Amazon.co.uk, or in most good bookshops.

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        03.03.2009 12:27
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        A good effort in the Bachman/King collection

        Over the years I had gone through phases of being a big Steven King fan and reading all I can get my hands on, to the opposite end of the spectrum where I can go a couple of years without picking up one of his offerings. I wasn't actually aware when I picked this book up that it was a Steven King as it is written under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman, and author I knew literally nothing about. On closer inspection it became apparent that for a number of years King wrote under this alias - it is however quite clear to see how people could have joined the dots as the general writing style and morbid content is very similar.

        This book is based around William Halleck, a successful man living in a small town where the Country Club mentality rules, the people in power all help each other and it is a very much you scratch my back I scratch yours mentality. William or Billy as he is called throughout may have enjoyed success on a financial front, he may even have a loving family at home, but his major weakness is food - eating what can only be described as a monumental amount of food daily he has developed major health risks and is in danger of having his very comfortable life cut short by his own greed.

        One day while driving with his wife in the passenger seat she begins to conduct oral sex on him, at his moment of climax, clearly not concentrating on the road a gypsy girl steps out in front of his vehicle and he runs her over and kills her.

        Now, because of the local system and the way the town is run any ordinary man would be sentenced to a custodial sentence and that would be in, however, thanks to the local law enforcement and the local judge who are both on good terms with Billy he manages to walk away from his crime. On leaving the courtroom Billy in confronted by a very old gypsy man who while touching his face speaks the words 'thinner' before the two are separated; this understandably spooks Billy but he doesn't give it too much attention.

        Quite predictably Billy then begins to start losing weight, this comes as quite a shock as he is doing no form of exercise and he certainly is curbing his eating patterns, his wife is elated, the concerns about her husbands health begin to subside and Billy begins to behave in a much healthier way beginning to be able to do things that he has not managed in years, hill walks for instance. This is all well and good until Billy realises that he is still continuing to lose weight, he now begins to be a little bit more realistic about his predicament, speaking to local health officers and experts he tries to understand what is causing this rapid cause in his decline - what takes him a while to figure out and leaves him perplexed about how to resolve the situation is that he has been cursed!

        The story itself isn't exactly a great plot line, I mean a man getting thinner cannot really be that scary or command much attention when it comes to a whole book, but thanks to Kings writing you begin to understand just how dangerous this situation is, Billy having lost so much weight is just a mass of excess flesh and he has become the local freak while trying to resolve his situation having people stop and stare at him.

        It is a tremendously dark book, taking twists and turns along the way and ending in style that I had not expected, so if your a twist fan then this is a good possibility for you. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of horror fiction, it kept me interested to the very end and it restored my faith in Kings work again to the point where I will be making certain that I get through some of his more recent works when I have have finished the mass pile of books that I already have to go through.

        Priced on amazon at new for £7.99 with an average rating of four and half stars out of 5.

        Paperback: 352 pages
        Publisher: New English Library; New Ed edition (1 Feb 1986)
        Language English
        ISBN-10: 0450058832
        ISBN-13: 978-0450058837
        Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 2.2 cm

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          19.10.2008 14:45
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          Richard Bachman brings us another simple shocker

          One of his Richard Bachman Books. In his introduction he writes a note on why he published a few books under the name of Bachman, he concludes that he doesn't really have a good answer so it was lucky he didn't kill anyone!

          Something to remember, Richard Bachman was an angry young man, and while his writing style is similar they are generally much less 'happy' than Stephen King's, almost all of which end well.

          This book is typical of Bachman, short, simple, and scary. The plot is about a man who runs over a gypsy women and then is the target of a gypsy curse.

          Dying, he tracks down the gypsies to confront them and make his case.

          I fell in love with Bachman's books before I did King's. They are all very good, simple reads. Just don't be assuming they finish with the words 'and they all lived happily ever after', prepared to be scared...enjoy!

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          12.12.2005 04:17
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          Poor literature, little grippy bits, but very predictable, very simple plot.... so unlike King!!

          A lawyer called Billy Haleck, whom is plaugued by the love of food runs over an old gypsy in his car, and uses his influencial friends to avoid the blame. He walks away from court a free man, but cursed by a scorned gypsy. As the book progresses, the man becomes delighted at losing weight,but as time goes on, and with his normal eating habits, he becomes worried. It seems the more he eats, the more weight he loses.

          He hires a friend to try persuade the gypsy to lift the curse before it's too late....


          I'm sorry but this book didn't do much for me, i felt dissapointed to have read something so poor from Stephen King.

          I don't know what section this book would be in, if i was the bookshop owner, i'd probably store it in a section nobody ever looks in. An embarassment to have but part of my collection, strictly for the fans, but be warned it's nothing exciting and not that scary.

          i'm sorry i couldnt write much, and i give King credit for writing an entire book about it,especially as i struggled with one page!!

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            01.08.2001 22:55
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            If you're new to Stephen King this is definately the place to start. 'Thinner' is definately, well, thinner, than most of King's work which tends to take the form of 700 page plus epics ('Insomnia', 'Desperation'), and is also surprisingly easy to read. A considerably overweight Billy Halleck is beginning to loose weight quickly, too quickly considering his indulgent eating habits. His family fears cancer, he fears something worse - the curse of a visiting Gypsy. The curse in question was an act of revenge after Halleck hit and killed one of the Gypsy's relatives with his car whilst engaging in a somewhat inappropriate act with his wife, Heidi. The majority of the novel charts Halleck's attempt to track down the Gypsies and stop himself from withering away, and with a little help from a friend a soloution to his problem is found (I'm giving away nothing here, read the book). Just as the story looks set to draw to a reasonably straightforward conclusion, King throws in an ingenious, thought provoking twist that will have readers reflecting for some time after finishing the book. This novel definately has a slightly different feel to most of King's other books (the fact that it was written under the name Richard Bachman might have something to do with this)and some die hard Stephen King fans may find this a touch to simple and straightforward for their tastes, but I found it an engrossing read. A short, sharp and to the point tale of unconventional justice and paying for your actions.

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              19.01.2001 03:35
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              Another Stephen King book which is a bit on the thin side, but unlike “The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon” it has a story line more like what you would expect of Stephen King. It’s basically about a very lawyer called Billy Halleck who was confident that the area in which he lived in would soon be free of those pesky Gypsies as the patrol guys were on to them the day they arrived. He never thought for one minute, whist in his car along with his wife he would be hitting one and fatally injuring them with his car, then again he would never have thought his wife, who was quite prude, would endure a sexual act upon him whilst he was driving. Needless to say the Gypsy leader wasn’t happy, especially when it was his daughter that was killed, so he put a curse on Billy and also on the others who helped Billy go unpunished. The curse on Billy was “Thinner”. Billy lost a little weight at first but then his weight loss soared and all the time he knew it was the curse. He decides to track down the Gypsy gang and get the elder to take off the curse. He does so successfully with a lot of help from a client of his who is a big time “mafia type” He gets to speak to the elder but only by terrorising the group saying he has put a white man from town curse on them. Only to find the elder cant take it back but there is another way…….. But you don’t want to know that! Thais book has everything going for it, it’s entertaining, it’s short and it’s full of twists and is a typical Stephen King masterpiece, what more could you want?!

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                11.11.2000 05:57
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                Slim Faster, the miracle diet! Stephen King approaches something he normally leaves well alone in this book, although he does it in his normal style. Everybody knows that along with the gypsies come myth and magic, but not everybody believes in it. Billy Halleck, the main character was in a not unwelcome compromising position whist driving his faithful car down a street he drives downs all the time. The last thing he expected was to find one of the gypsies crossing between parked cars, just a few feet from the crossing, without looking for cars, and just stepped out. Obviously he hit and killed her. Rapped with guilt, he find himself just getting a slap on the wrists, one because the police officer and the Judge was his golfing partner. The aging father of the elderly gypsy who got killed decided to get his own justice and curses the extremely overweight Billy with the curse of thinner. After loosing an extreme amount of weight, Billy finds his hatred turning towards his wife who deserves some blame. He hunts down the gypsies to get the curse removed and plans his revenge on his wife at the same time. If you like happy endings, then steer clear of this book. It’s a brilliant, entertaining book, I just couldn’t put it down.

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                  20.08.2000 16:22
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                  It took me a little over a week to finish this book, which is darn good for me, it's a little different than most of his other books, some people will probably like that, since sometimes it can take about 300 pages for the action to start happening. Throughout the course of this book, we are faced with characters dealing with moral dilemas(nice cars those dilemas!). The book's main character, Billy Halleck, accidentally kills an old Gypsy woman in the road while his wife is performing a certain sexual act on him. Then the woman's father curses him, he starts to lose loads of weight until he's nearly a human skeleton, but no one believes that it is the gypsy's making The overall moral message of the book is 'You are responsible for your own actions'! and is certainly entertaining, although slow in some parts but stick with it! This is an exciting and riveting book for anyone with a shred of emotion or mental capacity. I recommend you buy this book at all costs, you won't be disappointed! nb. just don't watch the film - it's dire!!

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                • Product Details

                  A gypsy curse leads a man to extreme measures.

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