Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, without giving any spoilers away, we will be discussing Thinner by Stephen King. There is never a bad time to read one of the kings of horror but it just hits differently during spooky season. I have been on a huge King kick as of late and have recently enjoyed Carrie and Fire-Starter. Thinner was a fun, quick read and before we get started, I will be placing a trigger warning on it for violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:
Billy Halleck is a family man who is living the good life. He has a beautiful wife, beloved daughter, expensive home, and a great job as a lawyer. From this standpoint, he is the picture of success. Then, you look at the man who is being discussed and find out that he is very overweight and cruising dangerously to the heart attack zone. Constant binge eating has brought Billy’s weight to roughly two hundred and fifty pounds. Sure, he might say he’s on a diet but the empty snack wrappers and soda cans tell a totally different story.
Billy’s success in his small Connecticut town is a double edged sword. On one hand, he is making lots of money. On the other, his ins with judges and police officers helped sweep a crime that Billy is culpable of under the rug. Due to a bout of distracted driving, Billy ran over a wanderer whose caravan was camped in town. Instead of serving jail time, Billy got a slap on the wrist and his life went back to normal… So normal that he almost forgot about the ringleader of the fortune tellers and performers. His nose was suffering from necrosis and he touched Billy gently and whispered “thinner” to win justice for the victim.
Soon, Billy began to lose weight despite eating more than ever before. At first, it was nothing major and his scale stayed comfortably in the 240s. Then, the weight loss became rapid and within a few short weeks he lost forty pounds. Trips to the doctor and multiple tests confirmed that nothing was “wrong” with Billy medically. But, then again, a curse doesn’t show up on a blood test.
As Billy continues to go from dangerously overweight to dangerously thin, other strange phenomena is happening to the people involved in Billy’s courtroom coverup. The judge has inexplicably began growing scales and the chief of police has sprouted oozing, weeping pimples all over his body. They, too, were cursed by the caravan leader.
Time is running out and Billy has lost well over one hundred pounds in two months. He knows he will not find a cure at a medical facility that his wife insists on him checking into. So, he begins a road trip along the Northeast coast to track the wanderers down and get his curse lifted. Will he find them before the emaciation and arrhythmia in his heart kills him first? Read Thinner to find out!
Like Carrie and Fire-Starter, I had a great time reading Thinner. Was it my favorite Stephen King book that I have ever read? No. But, like all King books, it was a campy and fun page turner. I have always enjoyed King’s books not just for the horror but because of the humor! Stephen King has such a dry, silly sense of humor and so many lines in Thinner made me and Johnny laugh out loud.
Thinner wasn’t as much of a jump scare read as it was plain disturbing. “The Incredible Shrinking Man”, as Billy calls himself, is such a simple yet terrifying punishment. Most chapters in the book were marked by Billy’s new weight and reading his deterioration into a gaunt, skeletal man almost made me happy to have some areas of my body with extra padding lol.
While I liked the story line, I didn’t care as much for Billy as a main character as I have in other King books. He seemed to play the blame game for his situation a lot instead of taking full responsibility for running a woman over. And, although he didn’t serve time in jail like he should have, he let the whole issue slip his mind almost completely rather than feel any guilt for it. Not a good look!
I am going to rate Thinner with a seven out of ten stars. This is a perfect and fast paced read to get you into the Halloween spirit. Although it wasn’t as groundbreaking as other King books, I still recommend it!
What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah