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'Elevation' Book Review

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

“Not a wind, not even a high, exactly, but an elevation. A sense that you had gone beyond yourself and could go farther still.”

This has been a difficult book for me to review. Thanks to the length I was able to read it in a day, but then I opted to sleep on it before attempting to put my thoughts down in words. I'm going to try now, and hopefully what you read here will make some lick of sense.

Elevation is a novella that takes us back to Castle Rock, Maine where we meet Scott Carey, a web designer who has slowly been losing weight... and yet still appears at his usual 240. He is undergoing no physical changes that one can see. In fact, he'll weigh the exact same on a scale whether he's naked, or fully clothed and carrying two 20lb dumbbells in each hand. His friend, Doctor Bob, can't explain this anomaly and Scott refuses to go elsewhere to be examined, afraid of being defined as a freak and spending the rest of his days being poked and prodded by the government.

Scott is also dealing with his thorny relationship with new neighbors, Deidre (DeeDee) and Missy. They own a Mexican vegan restaurant in the Rock, and it's not doing so well. It seems the locals have some issue with the two women being married, and it's affecting their business. As Scott realizes his weight loss will eventually, probably, mean death, he reaches out to the two women. Missy is responsive to Scott, but DeeDee has no interest in being friends.

I won't give any spoilers, but this slowly begins to change during the Turkey Trot, a post-Thanksgiving marathon where Scott - looking quite robust still, but feeling physically great thanks to the mysterious dropping of pounds - makes a wager with DeeDee, who is a competitive runner. If he wins the race, she and Missy have to come over to his house for dinner - he'll cook. If DeeDee wins, he'll leave them alone for good.

The premise of Elevation is weirdly intriguing, and slightly frustrating. Being a longtime King fan, I had no trouble suspending my belief and accepting the bizarre situation Scott finds himself in, especially in a town like Castle Rock. I think taking a while to let this story fester helped this review, because I realized the supernatural element is what was holding me back from embracing the story for what it was supposed to be. A story about relationships, a story about being able to change, and embracing one's fate.

With only 146 pages, King created a rich set of characters, all of which I fully cared about by the time I finished. This is not horror by any means, but it's still King through and through. With today's political climate, it's wonderful to read such an uplifting (... pun intended?) story and I won't lie, the end made me a little emotional, as so many of King's stories do. I'm glad I finally got around to reading Elevation. Don't go into this novella expecting the macabre, and you might enjoy it as well.