Stephen King’s newest tale, “Elevation,” was released October 30, 2018. It is a very short, heartwarming story constant readers can breeze through. After finishing this one, my knee-jerk reaction was “meh,” but after letting it marinate for a few days, I have actually come to like and appreciate it more. Read below for my full review!
“Elevation,” weighing in at only 146 pages, tackles themes of the more real-life horrors in today’s society. This novella is vastly different from King’s other works and if you go into it expecting his usual stuff, you will be disappointed. Go in with an open mind, however, and you will probably end up enjoying this one.
A short and truly beautiful little tale that leaves your heart feeling full and a smile on your face. “Elevation” is a touching story of acceptance and King shows how much it means to be selfless… especially in the divisive world we live in today.
“Not a wind, not even a high exactly, but an elevation. A sense you had gone beyond yourself and could go further still.”
I did enjoy this novel, my rating at the end may not reflect that, but in general terms it was a good story, it just had a few moments that left me shaking my head and other moments where I know King could have done things differently.
“Elevation” makes you think of his Richard Bachman story, “Thinner,” and it feels like it belongs in “Different Seasons.” For a short, somewhat spoilery synopsis, keep reading. If you just want to get to my rating, scroll to the bottom! Without further ado, lets get elevated.
King starts us off with the main character, Scott Carey, visiting a friend and former doctor, Bob Ellis, about his sudden weight loss. Scott is losing weight, but you can’t see it in his appearance. He is a man in his 40’s who looks like he should weigh 240 lbs., but he when he steps on the scale, it reads much less than that.
Scale malfunction, right? Wrong. No matter what Scott is wearing or holding, no matter what scale he uses, it reads the same numbers, and these numbers are decreasing by the day. With no answer to his mysterious affliction, Scott decides to accept his new weight-loss program and live his life anyway.
Next door, Scott’s new neighbors are a married lesbian couple with two dogs who regular leave presents in his yard. Scott confronts his new neighbors about this and one of the women takes this as Scott being intolerant of their relationship like the rest of Castle Rock.
The women, Diedre McComb and Missy Donaldson, have opened a new restaurant in town, Holy Frijole, and, due to their marriage, it isn’t doing well. Castle Rock is a very conservative town and Scott, seeing his neighbors are being stigmatized, tries to help.
Scott attempts to befriend his new neighbors and even stands up for them at another local restaurant. Diedre continues to give him the cold shoulder, but Missy befriends Scott and apologizes for her wife’s demeanor.
“Scott hung up, thought about what giving things away meant – especially things that were also valued friends – and closed his eyes.”
Castle Rock hosts an annual Turkey Trot, 12k around Thanksgiving. Scott enters the race and makes a wager with Diedre. If he wins, her and her wife must come to his house for dinner. Diedre was an Olympic runner before an injury, but she still is excellent at the sport.
Scott’s weight loss has continued to progress, but the muscles he gained from being a man weighing 240 are still there; carrying a body that now weighs barely over 100 lbs. He feels very light on his feet. At the end he catches Diedre and she is so shocked, she falls. Scott could easily win the race at this point, but instead he helps Diedre up, and she wins.
A picture is taken of Scott helping Diedre to her feet and it is plastered in every local paper. Scott’s selfless act inspires the other residents of Castle Rock to join the rest of the 21st century and accept the married women for who they are. After the race, business at Holy Frijole is booming.
“The only thing harder than saying goodbye to yourself, a pound at a time, was saying goodbye to your friends.”
Diedre, Missy, Dr. Bob and his wife join Scott for dinner. Here he tells all of them about his continuing weight loss and how he believes “Zero Day” is coming soon. “Zero Day” is the day Scott believes will weigh nothing.
The rest of the novel quickly goes through Scott’s life as a figurative leaf in a windy park. We see flashes of how Scott’s weightlessness affects his everyday activities. This section is very sad and a few moments had me close to tears. Scott’s character, admirable from the start, is even more so here at the end solely due to his ability to accept his affliction and still attempt to make the best of it.
The novel ends with Diedre, Missy, Bob and his wife literally letting Scott float into the sky where he lights off a load of fireworks. Talk about going out with a bang. The ending, as heartbreaking as it was, was a tad cheesy for my liking, but it was the best way to send this story off.
Overall, I enjoyed this little tale. I really liked Scott as a character, but to me he was the only one that was fully fleshed out. The social justice and political aspects bogged down the very intriguing and somewhat intense journey of Scott’s decreasing weight.
I feel like King could have gone way further into the affects of Scott becoming weightless, but I understand why King wrote a novel like this and released it now. It is something everyone should read and take to heart. America needs to look at someone like Scott and take extensive notes.
ANYWAY, in the end, I am giving this novel a three because it just wasn’t quite enough for a four. It was very close though, mainly because of the message and the uplifting nature. I do recommend everyone check out “Elevation.”
3 out of 5