Elevation

ElevationElevation by Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Released: October 30, 2018
Pages: 146
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Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Like in the other Stephen King short stories I’ve read, Rage and The Long Walk, the pitch for Elevation seems to be a thought-experiment with a story written around it. But that’s really the only thing Elevation has in common with those other two, or with any Stephen King book I’ve read, for that matter. Elevation is not thrilling, it’s not fast paced, and it’s not scary. It’s about a man who is experiencing some really strange things, who’s pretty sure that he’s going to die very soon, and about what he chooses to do with those last days. And somehow this story about the man facing death manages to be a through-and-through feel-good story.

I’m having a hard time… well… pinning down… my thoughts on Elevation. I found it to be perfectly unremarkable – it didn’t make me feel much, it didn’t make me think much, and it didn’t excite me. However, it did just about satisfy me. I liked it, but I know that I’ll probably forget about it within a few days (as opposed to a book like Rage which I didn’t like as much, but which I kept thinking about for a long time). The story also confused me in that it reads very much like a Stephen King story, but without any of the peril, thrill, suspense, or other things that I tend to associate with his stories. It’s not bad, but it also just kind of trots along until it ends. And it doesn’t leave behind much trace.

The book is good, and takes no time at all to read, so in that sense there isn’t much of a reason not to read it, but I also can’t think what this book provides that would make me recommend it to anyone. It’s a Stephen King story, so it had that going for it. It’s not true to his usual subject-matter, but it’s true to his style. It’s a compilation of interesting thoughts that are written down well, but the only thing that makes this book especially remarkable or even interesting is that it’s an uncharacteristically feel-good Stephen King story.

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