“Gravity is the anchor that pulls us down into our graves.”
Elevation is not your typical Stephen King book. First of all, it’s a tiny thing clocking in at fewer than 150 pages. Compared to most of King’s published works, that’s insanely short. He does have some wonderful novellas and short stories, but when a man known for publishing doorstoppers like IT, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and The Stand publishes something that can be read in a day, it seems like a pretty radical difference. Second, this is not a horror story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely strange, but it didn’t strike me as horror. Instead, it was bittersweetly moving, focusing on friendship and its ability to get us through even the toughest of times.
I’ve come to love Castle Rock. Although I haven’t read all of King’s works set in this picturesque town that seems to draw the disturbing and macabre, I’ve very much enjoyed everything I’ve read so far in that setting. It was nice to get something, well, nice that was set in this poor town that has undergone so many grisly things. There was definitely still darkness in Castle Rock, but it was in the form of the judgmental mentality that has come to plague our society. But for once, we see that toxicity abate as people set aside their differences and decided to focus on being good neighbors instead of gossiping about those who are different. If you knew the days left to you were numbered, wouldn’t you want to spend whatever time you had left loving people instead of judging them, building friendships instead of fences? I know I would.
I loved Scott, our main character, and felt for him as he tried to wrap his head around this weird thing that was happening to him. I loved that he spend every ounce of energy he had on righting wrongs he had committed, and calling Castle Rock to do the same. The relationships he built were beautiful, and I think they did as much to elevate his heart as his strange disorder elevated his body. His worldview was movingly positive and I love him for it.
There have been quite a few comparisons drawn between this novella and another work of King’s, Thinner. Even though I have yet to read that book, I made those comparisons myself when I first started reading Elevation. However, I don’t think Thinner had this type of positivity woven through it, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, though the premises may be similar, the stories are not. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but Elevation is a story of friendship and hope in the midst of hopeless situations, and I doubt that is the case in Thinner.
Elevation is a beautiful little story that I read in one sitting. If you’ve never read King and have been afraid to give him a try, I think this book and Gwendy’s Button Box, another Castle Rock novella, would be a great place to start. King is considered a master for a reason, and I believe he’s an author that everyone should at least give a shot. Who knows, he might become one of your favorites!
You can purchase a copy of the book here, with free shipping worldwide!