Major bummer alert.

Elevation by Stephen King is a kooky short story set in a small, conservative town about a nice fat bloke called Scott who is losing weight but still looks exactly the same, and the initial fractious engagement with his lesbian neighbours.

…..I know…..


Several pages in, there is still little attributing scientific or medical explanation for Scott’s rapid weight loss while mysteriously sustaining his ample mass, despite the involvement of a benign but utterly useless doctor – go figure – and so my heart was already halfway out of the door. More often than not, you were repeatedly left wondering what exactly was the purpose of his affliction.

I suspect as a metaphor this was to demonstrate that individuals and communities should rise above their prejudices and all get along. However, I fail to see how lazy cliche stereotypes of gay women – grumpy vegetarians (hahaha) – or indeed the bizarre construct to actively depict a white heterosexual man as the only one able to, ‘save’, them from the unprovoked hatred of the town with the least amount of effort on his part, shows much evolvement.

What is also troubling, is the female gay characters are therefore depicted without any apparent capacity or autonomy in their own right to educate others by generally being productive, decent and comfortable in themselves. This lack is not remotely enlightening or progressive from the original issue that brave but ham-fisted King, with his own unfortunate case of unconscious bias, is trying to confront.

Nothing about this story rang true. Everyone had split personalities. Even the cat had a shit name. Nothing much happened – other than the billowing backdrop of Scott’s quantum conundrum – and the mute button was inexplicably and miraculously pressed on everyone’s politics (wouldn’t happen) so they all end up as best buddies upon Scott’s demise.

The contrived and unnecessary finale was so saccharine I could have puked. Aside from the homophobic pitch fork wielding townsfolk, that was pretty much the only horror in this entire short story by King – me wanting to dry retch over the edge of the armchair.

The gravity lost to Scott as he reaches day zero beautifully matches the weight of this work, and the other irony being that, ‘Elevation’, may well leave the reader feeling somewhat deflated.

Stephen King is undeniably a prolific genius. Usually, I adore him. On another positive note, the story was short and we all have days when we are more preoccupied with wanting to take acid and shave the cat or whatever the f—k he was doing.

I feel like I have force fed myself a pie made of lard and rocks and poo bags and now I need to read Proust, Vonnegut or even Bukowski as a palate cleanser. Bukowski as a palate cleanser – imagine.

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55 comments on “Elevation”

  1. God that sounds utterly awful. I think King lost his magic a good few years ago sadly

  2. Loved the review! Beautifully written. I know King is — or can be — a good writer, but I don’t usually read him because I don’t like horror. Obviously I was right to make that decision!

  3. He’s never been a favorite writer, so I am not too disappointed this latest stinks…I read your review of it however, all the way through, because it was hysterical:)❣️🌟💎

  4. It truly was. It would be good as a cure for insomnia 👍. The last non horror work of his that I genuinely found absorbing was ‘11.22.63’. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read ❤️🤗

  5. Lol, thanks so much! I really appreciate you enduring and at least getting a laugh out of it. Without laughter, what would we do?! ❤️👍

  6. I don’t read much Stephen King anymore. I think his earlier works were his best. It seems like his son, Joe Hill, has a more promising career now. King is washed up, he should retire, in my opinion.

  7. Yes, his son has written several books and one of his books was turned into a TV series. I think it’s called “NOS4A2 or something like that.

  8. reminds me of another story, along the same lines…about a guy who hits a gypsy and is cursed, I believe also by SK. No matter how much the guy eats, he can’t gain wait. Sometimes, SK is hard to read…

  9. Hi, thanks for stopping by. Wow, haven’t heard of that one. You’ve got a good memory though! Thanks for mentioning – definitely think I’ll give it a miss too. I’m done with Stephen King for the foreseeable ❤️😊👍

  10. Thanks! Yeah, I completely agree. It’s remarkable to think he threw Carrie in the bin – which his wife thankfully retrieved – but he’s sending this nonsense out into the world. Thanks so much for your comments and thoughts ❤️🙏

  11. The only Stephen King book I’ve read through was his memoir “On Writing.” I really like him as a source material for movies and shows, but I can’t read him as an author. I don’t like his writing style or “voice” as we call it. I have been a vegetarian for nearly 25 years and I’m quite happy.

    One nice thing about his book “The Stand” is that a lovely lady with a full beard was reading it while having lunch in the mall. I worked nearby and ate there often. The fact that the eating area filled up quickly forced me to have to get to know people. I would find someone who looked interesting and ask if I could join them. Everyone always said yes and I met some really lovely people as a result! I admired this lady, for being herself and not caring if people stared at her, or that in a different era she would have been considered a carnival freak. She was one of the nicest most intelligent people I had the pleasure to share a lunch with.

  12. Wow, this was a fantastic review. I picked up on almost none of the flaws you accurately point out. Really, I just thought it was a very stupid little book. I literally just finished his book Hearts in Atlantis (like I put down the book and picked up my computer and read this. There’s probably gobs of sexism in this book too, but definitely a story (well, four stories) to make you think.

  13. Thanks so much for reading 🙏. I remember ‘Hearts In Atlantis’! Hope you enjoy…

    I think this short story in particular was on par with watching the kardashian’s while ironing. It was just white noise or moving wallpaper and sometimes we simply zone out because there is nothing much worth registering anyway. I don’t think King is sexist, just this story was misguided. Ultimately, it was so poor it really made me laugh. Even worse, was that I persevered with it, then needed to have a little rant 😆 ❤️

  14. Thanks for stopping by. Someone else just mentioned that King had regurgitated this story. I will be avoiding that one too, thanks for the heads up! ❤️

  15. What a hilarious, eloquent and entertaining book review, notontherocks! You made me laugh out loud! Well, that saves me the trouble of reading it now 😀

    I guess King is trying to move with the times and so he made the depiction of horror in this book a more real modern day one. But instead he ended up showing his distinct lack of understanding of how to depict this conundrum successfully (i.e. the portrayal of a heterosexual white man trying to ‘save’ a couple of gay women from abuse) so yes, it does sound far from palatable.

    Still, everyone loves a nice fat bloke as a protagonist! 🙂 I know I do. Who did you read as palate cleanser in the end? 🙂

  16. The best Steven King book I ever read was his book about how to write…that was very helpful. But his fiction isn’t always my taste. His plots are good, but I agree that his characters are often stereotypes, and the world doesn’t need more of those! I think I’ll give this book a miss, based on your review.

  17. Thanks so much 🙏🤗. Delighted to amuse! For the ultimate palate cleanser, I ended up reading Enid Blyton. Joke! I actually read, ‘The art of meditation’, by Matthieu Ricard. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a book tower by your bed and flit in and out of genres or a wide array of subject matter….All books, even the shitty ones, are powerful ❤️

  18. Good review. I enjoy some of his older stuff a lot, but the newer is hit or miss for me. This sounds like a definite miss, especially if it has a badly named cat. That’s just a bridge too far…

  19. Enid! 😂 Yes, I do have a book tower and I absolutely flit in and out of genres. I simply can’t read one book at a time, I have about 3 on the go at any one time. At the moment it’s The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (disappointing, I expected more), Halfway Up the Mountain by Kiran Khalap (a poignant beautiful read) and The Man Who Fell to Earth by Charles Trevis (mildly interesting, kind of bittersweet). I have a whole bunch left to go as I can’t go past a bookstore or charity shop without checking out the books and inevitably always find a gem. I agree, the rubbish books are still worth reading. I still have to finish reading it once I’ve committed to it! 😊

  20. I also read Elevation and found it very odd. It wasn’t my favorite King novel either. I’m now on Billy Summers and finding it extremely slow and not even remotely horror. I’m begging for something to happen.

  21. Admittedly, Stephen King is my fantasy dad. I imagine saying, “Daddy, why didn’t you use a Prius to run people over looking for work and kill them? Why a Mercedes?”

    And…”Daddy, can you look at my manuscript and give me tips?”

    He’d say, “Sure, Honey…wow you’ve got talent but take out all of the adjectives.”

    I now want to say, “I love you dad, but is Billy Summers a very late-life crisis?”

    So far, reading Billy Summers is like watching paint dry. I hate to not finish it cause I already bought it. Ugh. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen. Anything to happen. Run someone over with a Prius please, but make some sort of action take place. It’s nothing but everyday slice of life. It goes to show you that when you’re established, you can get away with anything. I highlighted a passage where he uses very derogatory language against Hispanics, Gays, etc. Yet in my own manuscript I can’t do ANYTHING without people flagging it as “too sensitive” for sensitivity readers. It’s so not fair.

  22. Honestly darling, put the book in the bin. I do that with books so poorly written that I don’t even wish to send them to the charity shop. The thought alone that they remain in circulation by my own wrongdoing concerns me. I do it with the occasional Amazon mind fuck from when I went through a self help phase – some of these seemingly innocuous titles were actually full of content preaching about Jesus/god/whatever – just bin it. Find something that moves you, that feeds your soul and truly inspires you. Read what you want to devour. There are millions of books waiting for you that deserve your precious time, and more important than that, your own book. Write what you want to read. You can edit and pseudo-conform later. It will be golden ❤️💫

  23. Always love everything you write…you have that style…whether making cheescake or trashing King’s latest..I for sure won’t read it, but you tickled my funny bone in every paragraph.. hysterical and I am quite sure, accurate review…

  24. Great to hear. I’m sure I can speak for everyone by saying we really adore the essence of you, your talent, insights and humanity. Keep moving forward ❤️

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