Stephen King can surprise his readers in an amazing way, and I love love love him for doing this.
King is known the world over for being the master of horror stories, and some of his novels have truly terrified me as a child- The Shining, Pet Sematary, Carrie, Cujo and It, to name a few. However, when he came out with The Green Mile, I was pleasantly surprised that King can write a beautiful story that is based on raw human emotions. Then came the movie adaptation of Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, which completely bowled me over.
The cover of the book has an interesting premise. The word “elevation” is written on a mailbox, emerging from behind white picket fence. The third letter ‘e’ is missing from the world elevation and is floating up towards the upper edge of the book. This serves as a huge clue what the book entails.
Set in Castle Rock, Scott Carey is a tall, well-built, athletic man, who has a unique problem: he’s losing weight. He’s been eating his regular meals but doesn’t understand why the weighing scales show his weight dropping each time he stands on one. He confides in his friend and doctor, Doctor Bob, who can only conclude that Scott has a “weight repelling force around him.”
At the same time, new neighbors have moved in next to Scott’s place, Missy Donaldson and her wife Deirdre McComb. Their dog always poops in Scott’s front gardens which becomes the point over which Scott complains to them. Missy comes across as friendly, but Deirdre has a cold, icy exterior, which makes Scott uncomfortable.
The two women have opened up a new restaurant in town, which is not doing good business as the townspeople become judgmental and prejudiced towards the woman just because they are lesbians.
The town is preparing for the annual 12k run, in which Scott and Deirdre are participating. It is during this race that things change drastically for both Scott and Deirdre, with some rather unforeseen and unpredictable situations that the book gets really super interesting and absorbing. What happens at the race? Do the women stay in town or leave? Why is Scott losing weight? What will happen to him at the end?
The most beautiful thing about the book, in all of its 132 pages, is how amazingly King has written his characters. In such a short book, I didn’t expect myself to fall in love with all the characters, to be fully invested in them, to truly care about them and to spend the entire night trying fast to get to the end, what an end it was! I rarely get emotional but King did it for me in Elevation.
There are only six chapters, but don’t be fooled by the short length, for each chapter holds something so deep. King has also veered away from his standard lengthy descriptions as seen in his other masterpieces, which makes for Elevation to be a quick read.
Chapter Six, The Incredible Lightness of Being, is my favorite chapter as King unleashes his unpredictability factor, all the while bringing out such emotions within the readers that range from comfort, love, sadness and ultimately peace.
It’s a story about human beings, how we can judge so easily, and how we can overcome hatred and prejudice to see each other for who we really are.
Elevation is a brilliant novella, which becomes a must-read for today’s time, in its ability to show how important it is to overcome our differences and finding a common ground to live in harmony and love.