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).


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…


29 thoughts on “Thinner by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

      1. Thanks for all this.

        Never be ashamed to pun – my message to the world.

        Pretty crap as messages go, but that’s what I’ve got.


  1. This book sounds okay. A little creepy, but okay. I haven’t read any Stephen King novels, but I’m planning on reading them very soon. My boyfriend says I surely have to read “Misery”. Which SK-books do you recommend?


    1. Misery is excellent (as is the movie), so is Bag of Bones, ‘Salem’s Lot, Pet Semetary, The Dead Zone, and the classics like The Stand and IT (but they are huge…). Avoid Cell, THe Tommyknockers, and Gerald’s Game for sure. Of the Bachman books, The Long Walk is my favorite.


  2. I was thinking that is was made into a film…sound like an interesting story..and when I read this “But that is just my opinion. Men around the world might weep with indignation at my statement.” I ROFLOL I think you are right!!!


    1. It’s a good novel, but not his best. And glad that bit worked for you, I was proud of that (I am also assuming I am correct, at least of the men I know). 🙂


    1. I once got into an argument with someone over the proper way to pronounce apricot. It’s with a short a, obviously! So we’ve all got issues. FYI, spiders are my kryptonite.

      I won’t eat avocados or guacamole because of the texture. Everyone says I’m missing out. Also, I can’t eat eggs because of what they inherently are.


      1. I know a lot of people who avoid foods based on texture, though I do love me some avocado. Can you eat baked goods and things with eggs in them? Is it just like eggs eaten as their own dish that bother you? Because life would be sad without cake.


      2. I’m fine with eggs baked in dishes. Because life without cookies and cake would be quite sad indeed.

        And in other news, apparently my conscience goes out the window for something sweet. If you ever getting chance to have a Nothing Bundt Cake Chocolate Chocolate Chip cake (there’s one 45ish minutes west of Chicago in Wheaton), do it, it will change your life. Best dessert I’ve ever eaten.


  3. Nice pun chica, ha ha! I read this one back when I was a wee lass and I adored it. Of course I was in jr. high and I loved anything, especially anything creepy.


    1. I have a sick love of puns. I strive for subtle, but this one was just too easy. I loved all the SK I read as a wee lass (I’ve always wanted to be Scottish to have an excuse to use this), maybe there’s a bit of nostalgia associated with it. I think because books are quite as accessible when you are younger (or at least when we were younger, in the pre-amazon days), you like the ones you do have more.


  4. I read this years ago, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the movie adaptation. I’m looking forward to reading it again for my SK project, though. I’ve forgotten a lot of the details.


    1. My SK project has been slow going as of late, but I’m still working though it. Next up is Needful Things (the beginning is slow…). I want to see the movie adaptation, I should just accept that I’ll always be disappointed. Under the Dome’s been no different…


      1. Among the many issues, I don’t know whether I’m more annoyed about Rusty outside the dome or Junior’s character. Tough call.


  5. I am slowly… ever so slowly… reading more of King’s work. (And The Dark Half is my favorite so far. Well, aside from The Green Mile.) I’ll probably pass on this, at least until I have more under my belt.


    1. I love The Dark Half, it’s one of my favorites. Bag of Bones is my personal favorite and you get an update on Thad Beaumont in it, I’d highly recommend it. Thinner I’d save for later, in regards to Bachman books, the best of the bunch is The Long Walk.


    1. Those two rank about the same for me. My issue particularly with Cujo is that none of the characters are really likable. Both the parents really bothered me in that one. So maybe start with Firestarter. Both have questionable movie adaptations. B-movie fun though…


  6. This is one case where I’ve seen the movie but never read the book. The movie (which I saw a long time ago) I remember as being creepy, but kind of kitschy at the same time. I’ve been interested to see if the book is better or not.


  7. I didn’t know this one had been adapted into a movie! I’ve been trying to decide which King to read next in the run up to Dr Sleep. I’ll be rereading The Shining but then it’s a toss up between this one, Bag of Bones and Lisey’s Story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: