Friday, April 11, 2014

The Drawing of Three (Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King (2/23-3/10)

The Drawing of ThreeBOTM voted to read the whole Dark Tower series, so I will be reading and reviewing the remaining 6 books in the series, and I may even try to fit in some side books.  I like the Dark Tower series, it is a fantastic mix of old west and fantasy that just gives me happy thoughts. 

The story of The Drawing of Three picks up with Roland on the beach we left him on at the end of the Gunslinger.  But there is a new danger, these crazy lobster monsters attack him wile passed out and he looses two of fingers and a toe.  for the rest of the series we will be constantly reminded that he has lost two fingers, but the toe is never mentioned again that I can recall.  I have always wondered what was the point of Roland loosing his fingers?  Did he need to be maimed to create a need to draw in other gunslingers? The shock of Roland loosing his fingers isn't the violence of losing his fingers, it was a that he lost such an essential part of who he is. I mean, who is Clint Eastwood or John Wayne without his guns? There was some debate in my book club about the simplicity of naming the monsters Lobtsrocities.  I like Lobstrocity, Roland isn't an imaginative character, so he wouldn't come up with anything that wasn't descriptive and based on what his realist mind sees.

After Roland is maimed he then wanders further down the beach and finds a door that says the “The Prisoner.”  Now if it was me and I found a random door on a beach, with no building or frame attached I’m not sure I would walk through it, but because he is Roland, and the fantastical seems to have no effect on him, he opens it and walks through.  Just like in the movie “Being John Malcovich” (which was made after this book was written) he is now in some other guy’s head.  Roland is a passenger in the head of Eddie Dean, a heroin addict about to be busted on a drug run.  So what does Roland do?  He magically takes the drugs back to the beach so Eddie doesn’t get busted, but that still doesn’t save Eddie’s ass from the Drug Dealer/Crime Lord he was running the drugs for.  In true Gunslinger fashion, this leads to a shoot out at the Drug Dealer/Crime Lord main base of operations, a night club called Tower.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I LOVE the image of Eddie fighting naked – all cracked out and crazy.   When all is said and done, and all the bad guys are dead, Roland takes Eddie back through his own head, i.e. door, to the beach and the door disappears.  I I like the Eddie, and I think Roland draws Eddie because even though he is from our world he is a gunslinger, that is after all why he was sent on the drug run, because even cracked out he still held it together. Roland can relate, and he even compared him to one of his old buddies.

Roland has gotten a really bad infection from loosing his fingers and toe, and Eddie, even cracked out had been smart enough to grab some antibiotics before going through the door.  So Eddie takes care of Roland and gets clean, and the ka-tet starts.   now I’m not saying Eddie, wanted to get clean, but all the heroin had been taken back before the big shoot out.  Just imagine a deathly ill gunslinger and heroin addict going through withdraws on beach, both probably hallucinating, have fevers and chills, raging at each other, doesn’t it sound like fun.  So Roland and Eddie both start to get better, not cured but better and the next door appears, titled “The Lady of Shadows.”  Eddie wants to go through and get a fix and Roland won’t let him.   Roland goes through the door, and again is in the mind of another person.  This time it is a black woman, shop lifting from Macy’s, her name is Odetta Holmes, but she also is Detta Walker.  O/Detta suffers from multiple personality disorder, and strangely enough Roland meets both women in the 5-10 minutes it takes him to haul her back through her door.  Which is timely because Eddie was just about to cut Roland’s throat. 

When Eddie and Roland discuss the O/Detta situation, Roland immediately understands the diagnosis, and by instinct knows the treatment is for O/Detta to be joined.  Of course Eddie had to fall for Odetta, before her Detta personality came out.  Seems a little cliché to me, but I know it is important to the storyline, not telling how though at this point.  Although, I personally think it would have been worse if it had been Odetta and Roland, because I know King always has a couple.

Did anybody else catch that Eddie mentions The Shining movie? This book was published in 1987 and The Shining movie came out in 1980, so there was only 7 years between the movie and the publishing, when King wrote this did he know his move would become a cultural icon, or did he just add the little blurb to pat himself on the back?

After a while of dealing with crazy Detta, which does seem to take forever!  The third door appears, title “The Pusher.”  Roland once again goes through alone, not because he feels he needs to hold Eddie back from a fix, but someone has to guard his body for Detta, or she is going to kill them both.  Roland’s infection has come back and maybe that is why I always feel the pusher chapter is rushed compared to the rest of the book. Maybe because Roland is sick and rushing the storyline, but still it is really a quick read to me.  When Roland goes through the door this time, he is in a sick man’s mind, and I don’t mean sick like as in ill, I mean sick as in likes hurting people.  While in there Roland saves Jake from being pushed, and then once he has his antibiotics he throws the pusher in front of a train.  Thereby forever saving Jake.  But now there is a paradox....Jake wasn't pushed in front of the car and sent to Roland's world...what does that do to the timeline...who did Roland let fall? Will Roland forget Jake? Is that the man in black's plan? Does Jake still die just some other way? 

When Roland comes back through, there is a brief fight with Detta, and Roland forcers her to face Odetta, and they join to become a whole new woman, Susannah Dean.  Now Roland has two new gun fighting companions, and they set off in search of the dark tower, and leave the beach behind.

This is an easy read, everything moves along at a nice pace, except the end of course, it seems to move to fast.  It stays pretty true to King’s writing style and we can see influences form other books.  I really enjoyed this book, it’s not my favorite in the series, but it is a good one.

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