Book Review – Elevation by Stephen King

This post will be full of spoilers, at least to an extent, because discussing this book without discussing spoilers would kinda defeat the point for me.

If you might want to read the book on your own, or like Stephen King, or have been press ganged into reading these posts to review the grammar and style of them, so as to make your friend’s blog appear more professional, this would be a good time to stop. Close the web browser, go buy a copy of Elevation from your local book store, and read it. It’s less then 150 pages total. It won’t take long.

Did you read it? Yes? No? Did you like it? Don’t answer, you can’t. The internet doesn’t really work like that.

I don’t consider myself a particularly good writer, or a particularly good reader. I like to tell stories, but they’re quite simple and crude.

In addition, I think trying to define art is also kinda pointless. I suppose the closest I could get to it would be that good art makes you feel something.

Both books I’ve read by Stephen King have made feel something. One was The Shining, a book which made me feel real terror, to the extent that as someone who has absolutely zero belief in the afterlife, I thought I saw ghosts afterward.

Elevation made me bawl my eyes out.

It’s the story of man who discovers that gravity seems to be slowly losing its effect on him. Bit by bit, his weight approaches zero, and he recognizes that when it does, to an extent his life will be over. While this is interesting, and supernatural, it’s not really what the story of Elevation is about.

Elevation is the story of a man who knows he is going to die. Specifically, it’s a story of what he chooses to do with the time that’s left to him. And what he chooses to do is simple enough. Eat candy. Patch things up with his neighbors. Finish one last big project. Find someone to take care of his cat. Go running. Enjoy what it means to be alive.

It’s also notable what he decides to not do with his time. He doesn’t try to patch things up with his estranged wife. He doesn’t really bother with selling his house, or getting his affairs in order, or anything. He doesn’t let himself end up in some sort of experiment, or as a medical case study. Perhaps finally, he recognizes that he doesn’t want to live his life without being able to pet his cat, or while trapped in his own house. He sees the end that’s coming, and he chooses how he wants his life to finish.

If you go into Elevation expecting a story about some mysterious sci-fi weightlessness in a small town in Maine, you will be disappointed. That isn’t what it is. It’s story about being human, and accepting the end that sooner or later comes for us all, and doing the best we can with the time we have left.