Monday, October 06, 2008


The stock market has me thinking about a book I read back in college. Thinner is a 1984 novel by Stephen King, the last novel published under his Richard Bachman pseudonym until the release of The Regulators in 1996 (the initial hardcover release of Thinner even included a fake jacket photo of "Bachman"). Set in 1980s New England, Thinner focuses on an obese lawyer named Billy Halleck, who has recently fought an agonizing court case in which he was charged with vehicular manslaughter after receiving a handjob from his wife Heidi while driving, causing him to run over an old woman who was part of a group of traveling Romani people. Thanks to the judge, who just so happens to be a close friend of Billy's, Halleck is acquitted. As Halleck leaves the courthouse in his affluent Connecticut town, the old woman's ancient father strokes his cheeks and whispers one word to him: "Thinner." The word, and the old man's behavior, startle Halleck. From this point on, Halleck quickly loses weight (about two pounds a day); the loss becomes more and more rapid as he realizes the Romani man has cursed him.

The novel deals with social issues such as materialism and how people gain and express power within their daily life. The Romani curse provides ample opportunity for numerous musings on the nature of guilt. Justice is also a heavy theme throughout, including the chapter titled "The Scales of Justice."

While my weight loss has not been as extreme as two pounds per day, I've definitely become thinner over the past few weeks....starting out as the successful result of my back-to-school fitness program but morphing into the stomach ailment that befalls me at tax time and huge stock market declines. Let's hope it turns around so I can eat the apple cider donuts I picked up yesterday with our pumpkins at Alstede Farm in Chester.


cube said...

I read this a long time ago. Not one of King's best, but luckily, it was a thin book ;-)

Ken Armstrong said...

I remember being left all alone in London with this book for a day (years ago) I read it when I ate, sat and lay down. I thought it was quite gripping then, 'haven't looked at it since.

It went on to become easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen.