Stephen King doesn’t always write horror stories with gore and fear. Sometimes his stories are the horror of “what if.” In Elevation, he explores what would happen if a man kept losing weight even when his body shape didn’t change. It’s an odd thing to consider horror or perhaps fantasy. But that’s the mind of Mr. King for you.
Scott Carey is a tech guy. He’s been sitting in front of his computer designing complex web sites long enough to have a few extra rolls in the tummy. And yet, as the book opens, he’s discovering that the number on his uber-accurate scale keeps going down. Because his muscles are developed to haul around a heavier man, he’s suddenly in better shape with no particular effort. Still, it troubles him.
Scott is also troubled by his neighbors, Deirdre and Missy, whose dogs poop on his lawn as they go for a morning jog. And the town of Castle Rock is generally troubled that these married, gay women are living openly. The pair also have a Tex-Mex flavored restaurant that suffers from this prejudice as well.
King takes these two story arcs and intertwines them with skill and precision. Elevation is a short book, just 146 pages. It’s a short novella, really. Or a long short story. But, no matter, it’s still charming and a bit chilling.
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt Stephen King is a master storyteller. He just is. He puts his characters in situations where they’re guaranteed to develop as people. In this case, there are two individuals who stand in that spot. Scott, because of his body and Deirdre because of her feelings. Putting both characters in juxtaposition makes this a deeper story than it might be with just one story line.
I think King has a thing for flying dreams. They say children experience them a lot, but adults less so. I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler to say, but this made me think of my own flying dreams. I remember them from childhood, and I also had some during an extremely stressful time in adulthood.
I’m giving Elevation 3.5 stars, simply because it was well-written although it’s also a little unremarkable. I felt warm fuzzies several times, which isn’t common when reading King. I’d recommend it as a palate cleanser you can finish in an afternoon. Or for those who dislike horror but hate explaining why they’ve never read a single Stephen King book.