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Review: "Elevation" by Stephen King


This very short novel works nicely and falls into a convenient niche in the monolithic writings of King. It appears In this last decade that King has found a spot for warmth and goodness. The premise flips one of those old switches that King loves to turn on from time to time. Here our main character, Scott, is losing weight but staying the exact same size. From 230 pounds he slowly and steadily loses more and more weight, every few days. As the book continues he's virtually lighter on his feet, can jump further, higher but does not stop losing. 210, 175, 168, 154, and lower, and lower still. No spoilers to be presented here. The heart of this quick read does not reside in this somewhat horrible premise. It focuses on friendship, fairness, bigotry, prejudice, close-minded small town thinking and the efforts of honest, good people to make things better. Doesn't sound much like King but it works oh so well. This is a character sketch of a good man trying to see his way through a very hard time while helping others. It is ultimately about our connections with each other and also ultimately how those connections can never hold despite the love we share. There is some hokum here as there always is with King's books. Some characters are ciphers and cliches. Some are caricatures. But the main players tend to be nicely drawn despite the brevity. I savor when King allows himself to go the distance and not tie up the ends of his stories in little brightly wrapped packages of happy endings as he has had a tendency to do over the last decade. "Elevation" takes a middle road. This little bundle ends up, not quite a Hallmark card, but it very well may pull a heart string. Not the usual take away from a King work, but satisfying and I recommend it.