Book Review #64: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (Dark Tower II)

5 Nov

So I’m making excruciatingly slow progress through the Dark Tower series. But I love it. I really do.

The Drawing of the Three is basically the book where Roland makes some friends. Most importantly, he makes two friends. Eddie Dean the heroin addict and Odetta Holmes, the Lady of the Shadows. What really stood out  was how Stephen King was able to thrust Roland into a world I understand, our modern, American world, and make my own world feel foreign to me.

Eddie and Odetta, Roland’s new companions, seem like poor choices of companions. Neither of them are as strong or focused as Roland. And more importantly…neither of them particularly want to be there, with Roland. Joining his journey offers them some advantages; but they still miss home. The comforts of their old lives – the drugs, the mental illness, the power that money gave them. They need to learn to navigate their own personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, all over again, with their new strange friend Roland. It’s a frightening prospect, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

Witnesses Roland’s weakness was also important. When I am truly intrigued by a hero (or potential antihero), I want them to show me something weak. Or something more human. Roland couldn’t cure his own infection. And the care that Eddie took to save Roland was as much of an insight into Eddie as it was into Roland. Roland is fearful of the assistance of others, and he’s not the kind of person who takes on the baggage of others. But now Roland is saddled with two companions who are motivated by things he does not fully understand – love, drugs, mental illness. They don’t share is singular motivation of finding the tower. And that will be a challenge for Roland, their leader, moving forward.

There was obviously a lot of social commentary, about drug use, and the racial problems that have plagued American since it began, as well as mental illness.  There’s something dark and sort of creepy that underlies most of King’s works. And I liked how he was able to transfer that insidious feeling to the social problems I see in my own life. It was both a fantastical work of fiction, and a dose of reality.

 

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