I recently read an article in which Stephen King commented on Stephenie Meyer as a writer versus J.K. Rowling. I am paraphrasing here, but he essentially said that the difference between the two is that Rowling is an amazing writer and Meyer is a lousy writer. I might be overstating the case here, but I really love the fact that he was so blunt about it. There was no pussyfooting around the matter, no politically correct rhetoric. Now I bring this up here for two reasons: 1. The Drawing of the Three is definitely not politically correct. and 2. to show why I love Stephen King so much!
Way back in November when I was writing about The Gunslinger I talked about how much I love King’s writing style. As I said then it is almost like you could take this book and read it around a campfire. What am I saying? You could do that. I actually found myself doing that a few times while I was reading the book, even though I was alone. Remember: talking to yourself does not mean that you are crazy. It’s when you start answering yourself that you have to worry.
In any case, the Drawing of the Three is the second book in the Dark Tower series and we follow Roland as he recovers from his meeting with the man in black. In the prologue to the novel the gunslinger is just coming to from an unconscious state. He awakens in time to save his life, but not in time to save part of his foot and two of his fingers as they are eaten by what come to be known as the lobstrosities (a name I love by the way). Throughout the rest of the book Roland must deal with a potentially deadly infection from the wounds. He also must contend with bullets that were immersed in water and thus potentially may not fire.
As he is getting sicker, Roland finds a door and eventually ends up in the head of Eddie Dean. Eddie is a heroin addict and is in the midst of smuggling drugs into the country when Roland appears in his head. They work together to get Eddie out of trouble, both with customs and then the drug dealer he had been sent on this drug run for. In the process Eddie’s brother is killed making him dislike the gunslinger for a long time, especially as he has come through to the world that has moved on and also has to kick his habit.
A second door reveals a ‘schizophrenic named both Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker. We are taken through a history of Odetta’s work during the Civil Rights Movement and then her alter ego’s racist ranting. It appears that neither of them are aware of each other until the very end when they unite and form a new personality: Susannah (perhaps explaining the title of book six of the series).
The final door reveals The Pusher, a truly horrible serial killer who likes to push people in front of oncoming vehicles, or to smash them over the head with bricks. The Pusher was responsible for Odetta’s onset of ‘schizophrenia’ as he dropped a brick on her as a child. He was also the one who pushed her in front of an oncoming A-train, causing her to lose her legs. Roland saves Jake (from the first novel) as he was an intended victim of The Pusher. He uses this man to get penicillin for himself and, as it turns out, Eddie and also to get more bullets.
In the end the lone gunslinger becomes a trio (what is it with fantasy stories and the trios?) and they are pressing ever onward to The Dark Tower.
More thoughts on the book:
Obviously I wasn’t able to keep all of my opinions out of the above summary. I have to admit that I did like this story. I liked the drawing of the three, particularly Odetta/Detta. I also really loved the idea in the end of the time paradox. Did the man in black actually push Jake because Roland had prevented The Pusher from doing it in the first place? I think that was the idea. I love all of those alternate reality/mucking with the space-time continuum stories so this intrigued me. I can’t wait to read the next part of the series.
I do take issue with the ‘schizophrenia’ idea, as you might have guessed from my use of quotations. From the description that is given it sounds to me more like Dissociative Identity Disorder (or Multiple Personality Disorder). I suppose I could see elements of schizophrenia in here in terms of the disordered thoughts and associations that are made by Detta, but the fact that there were two different, essentially distinct personalities is not Schizophrenia. I doubted myself and I had to check in the DSM-IV, but I am right. I suppose it doesn’t really detract from the story, it is just one of those irksome things for someone who knows more than the lay person about psychology.
And then The Pusher: Jack Mort. He was death that was talked about in the first book. Do you think he was named Mort unintentionally? I do not. I love it. Oh, and speaking of names: Jack Andolini? The name probably wouldn’t have got me so much but I just recently watched the Godfather. I’m sure that Andolini isn’t unique to that movie but . . . I just found it amusing.
Finally, something new that I am going to include after each commentary is a vocabulary section. I’m working on expanding my vocabulary and thus I have written down all the words from this book that I do not know the definition of (or at least where I am unsure of the definition). The following words came from this novel: