Thoughts on "Thinner"

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Rrty

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2007
1,286
3,981
#1
I was over at the "Rolling Stone" site looking at a reader's list of top-ten Stephen King books (I believe this was a companion piece to the recent interview). It truly amazes me that "Thinner" isn't on the list. "Misery" is -- which is sort of a Bachman book, if I recall correctly -- but not "Thinner."

"Thinner" is one of my favorite books. And it also is a relatively quick read. You would think this would have a big following among the younger set who might want to get into Stephen King. It's an easy entry point, perhaps not as easy as "Carrie," but easy.

Going back to that "Rolling Stone" list, I would have taken out "The Dead Zone" and replaced it with "Thinner." With confidence, and no regrets.

"Thinner," like "Misery," is fun because it focuses on one character trying to get out of a bad situation. Those types of stories are always cool, and I'm not sure if people will know what I mean but this, but they always help to make readers identify with the protagonists because we've all been there in a sense; obviously, we haven't grappled with the supernatural or a crazed fan, but we may have had a bad time paying the bills or dealing with problems at work -- at those times, it almost feels like we're under the gun and have to sit down and construct internal monologues to figure out what we are going to do next to solve the problem (a recent book I read that reminds me of this is Bentley Little's "His Father's Son" -- that was a great book). You sort of don't get the same feeling with a sprawling tome like "The Stand" or "It."

I enjoyed the movie version as well -- haven't seen it in a while, and I haven't read the book in a while, but I believe in both there is a pretty dark killing of someone in a vehicle that was sent to watch the gypsies, and I have to say, I did not expect the movie version's depiction to disturb me, but if I recall correctly, it did surprise me in that regard -- and I'm wondering if we need a remake, or, maybe even better, how about a series? Dark, like "True Detective." Maybe it could even try to insinuate it's all in Billy's head, he's thinning himself out because of a mental illness, guilt, whatever. Who knows, but I think something needs to bring this book to the current generation's attention.
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,657
206,917
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#4
I might be wrong about this, but I thought King had at one time said "Misery" was going to be a Bachman book until his pseudonym was revealed due to circumstances beyond his control (this then lead to the "Dark Half" concept, if I recall).
You may be right - those does sound familiar actually :hmm:
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
80,997
307,738
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#5
...he stated in the Rolling Stone interview that Misery was a "book about cocaine-Annie was cocaine"....and Rrty?...you are correct...I found several sources saying:

When King was writing Misery in 1985 he planned the book to be released under the pseudonym Richard Bachman but the identity of the pseudonym was discovered before the release of the book.
 

krwhiting

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2015
258
1,069
51
#9
I liked his reference to himself. "...you sound like it's a Stephen King novel..."

I agree that Thinner is a well-written story. I also agree about the situation fear. "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation," so most of us can get into a story where some overwhelming problem is bearing down on us and we don't know how to deal with it. It's life.

Kelly
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
15,668
91,909
USA
#10
I picked up that it was Stephen King within the first chapter.

I remember calling my sister and saying C'mon now! This is Stephen King!
No one can describe eating at a 7-11 .. I don't remember exactly where .. and describing microwave food that way.

He was busted .
HAHA! I thought much the same way. His phrasing was a dead give away. It's the same in In The Tall Grass (with Joe Hill): it's very clear in nearly every section who wrote what.
 

krwhiting

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2015
258
1,069
51
#13
This is the kind of writing, and honest moral clarity, that brings me back again and again to King (it's from Thinner):

"...I guess we've all got a streak of one hundred percent gold-plated bastard in our natures, tangled up so tightly with the good part of us that we can never get free of it."

That's true-to-life.

Kelly
 

krwhiting

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2015
258
1,069
51
#14
Just finished Thinner. That is one dark story. One of the things I enjoy about King is that you never know how the story will end. Sometimes the good guys win, sometimes they lose. Sometimes they win but at a terrible cost. And sometimes there aren't any good guys. Makes for great suspense.

Kelly
 

blunthead

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
80,756
195,332
Atlanta GA
#16
Prior to its being replaced by Lisey's Story, The Dead Zone was the one Steve always said was his favorite because it felt the most to him like a novel.
I read somewhere that he recommends The Dead Zone as the starter sK novel. I don't remember his reason for choosing it, but I found it interesting to hear since that was the one I'd personally chosen for that purpose.

I feel fondly for Thinner. It's another example of you-never-know-what-you'll-get-with-sK. Sometimes his ideas seem so unsurprising, as if obvious that someone would think of them. They make sense to write, sometimes. Sometimes not so much, but nonetheless fascinating.
 

blunthead

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
80,756
195,332
Atlanta GA
#18
Just finished Thinner. That is one dark story. One of the things I enjoy about King is that you never know how the story will end. Sometimes the good guys win, sometimes they lose. Sometimes they win but at a terrible cost. And sometimes there aren't any good guys. Makes for great suspense.

Kelly
I'm one CR who doesn't condemn sK's endings. I believe the endings are probably the hardest part of a story to decide about, and sK has yet to really disappoint me. I was taken by surprise at Cell's ending, when it did, but not in that I thought it shouldn't have ended the way it did.
 

krwhiting

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2015
258
1,069
51
#19
Thinner is good but there's an undertone of meanness in this one that is rarely seen in King's others works. By the end I felt little sympathy and even less empathy for all the characters. Quite unusual for a King book.
I hear what you're saying, but I felt both. Because I could see how such a situation could warp a person who was unprepared to face it. How it could draw out the nasty in me. It's the only thing we get to control: how we face the trials of life. We can't control the trials, only what we do in response. But trials can twist someone out of shape if they let them. It takes hard work not to (like Halleck's mental struggle once Genelli takes things in hand; or his steady devolution about his wife). It reminds me of Father Brown, when one of his friends, referring to a murderer he caught said, "I could never imagine doing such a thing!" And Father Brown responds with, "I can." That famous saying, there but for the grace of God go I, speaks to this reality. I have a lot of criminal clients and being able to empathize with their poor (and yes, evil) decisions and how they got to them is important. Knowing I'm capable of anything keeps me on my toes.

Kelly
 
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