Thinner by Stephen King is about a man named Billy Halleck who had a normal life. He was employed as a lawyer with a wife named Heidi and a daughter named Linda. One day, when he and his wife were driving, an old gypsy woman stepped in front of his car. Billy was distracted and accidentally killed her right in front of the woman’s father, Taduz Lemke. Since Billy was a lawyer, he knew the police chief and the judge involved in his case. Both the police chief (Duncan Hopley) and the judge (Cary Rossington) overlooked some key factors in the accident and Billy was allowed to walk. This seemed like the end of this whole debacle until Billy was touched by Taduz Lemke on the courthouse steps and Lemke whispered one word: “Thinner”. The book follows Billy as he loses close to 150 pounds and shows the consequences of not paying attention to the road.
One thing I really like about the book is how King developed his characters but I was frustrated with the way he ended the book. Billy spent 100 pages of the story trying to track down Taduz Lemke so the old gypsy man could remove the curse. When Billy finally did track Lemke down, it really seemed like he was going to escape the horrible weight loss spell and everything would go back to normal. That was until Lemke told him that he needed to pass the curse onto someone else in the form of a pie in order to truly get rid of it. Billy’s true colors were revealed when he gave the pie to his wife who was so happy to finally have him home. This of course didn’t go unpunished. After Billy went to bed, his daughter Linda came home and she ate the pie with Heidi. When Billy woke up he was devastated to discover that his daughter had gotten caught up in his plan to murder her mother. He then ate the rest of the pie, effectively killing himself. Instead of using this unfortunate story to spread a meaningful message, King turned an average dad into an disloyal cold blooded killer who murdered his entire family before killing himself. This along with other immoral moments in the story did not sit well with me.
Another key moment in this story was when Billy discovered that Ginelli (the man who had helped him convince Lemke to lift the curse) had been murdered by Lemke’s great-granddaughter. Instead of reacting with horror or even showing any emotion at all, Billy just got in his car with the poison pie and drove away, unaffected by the gruesome sight. This again highlighted the fact that Billy had morphed into a detached and overall uncaring person. This book would appeal to an audience who loves an author who engages in great character development but doesn’t need a happy ending to a story in order to think it’s a good book. I feel like the main character Billy really came to life but in a very sadistic way, so much so that he wasn’t himself by the end. I felt a personal connection to Billy’s daughter Linda partially because she was 14 but more so because I liked how she knew what loyalty is. Through the entire story, she was blindly loyal to her father because she loved him. She in many ways was the only character with honest morals. In the end Linda, along with her mother, were punished for trusting Billy who Linda had never been anything but nice to. This symbolizes what the world does to naive people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I like her way of thinking and believe that if people possessed the morals she did we would live in a better world. But at the same time if more people allowed themselves to be led by loyalty, there would be more people getting hurt or worse by the bad people like the one Billy turned into. Either way she was the only character that I actually liked by the end.