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Media Review : Books

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
Paperback ISBN: 0-451-16352-4
Published by The Penguin Group
$5.99 (this was back in 1990, though)
Review by Helena of the Hondas.


The Nitty Gritty:


Odetta Holmes, a well-to-do civil rights activist. She's had a relatively eventful life, having been attacked twice by a serial killer. She is cultured and eloquent, even when jailed for protesting.
Detta Walker, who was "born" when Odetta was struck comatose as a child. Detta is the Bad Guy: She shoplifts, is a racist, and eventually plots to murder people. (Come on, you saw this coming a mile away.) Detta and Odetta are unaware of each other: Odetta lives in a penthouse near Central Park, and Detta has an apartment in Greenwich Village.
Susannah Dean, the woman who results from the spontaneous fusion of Odetta and Detta. She gets almost no time in the story, but it's established that she's skilled at killing mutant crab-monsters.


Here we have yet another Good Guy/Bad Guy multiple, replete with questionable genesis and all the sensational stereotypes that the public loves. First of all, how would a person split while in a coma? Second, Detta remains mostly dormant until five years prior to the events in the story. If Detta truly is unaware for most of her life, how, then, is her personality so strong and established?

Susannah is created when Detta and Odetta simultaneously become aware of each other. "And then, suddenly, blessedly, she was whole." Are we to believe, then, that neither woman was whole in the first place? Does coexisting inside a single body make both of them somehow less than human?

Perhaps the most damning is the statement that Susannah makes near the end of the book: "I am three women, I who was; I who had no right to be but was; I am the woman you have saved." Obviously Detta has no right to exist because her personality is dark and unseemly, or so the author would have us believe. Yes, some people do have dark elements to their personalities, but that does not make them any less worthy of existence than anyone else.

Final Result:

The story itself is engaging, if you can bring yourself to gloss over the Detta/Odetta issue. If you're reading the book for its portrayal of multiples, though, you'd be better off looking elsewhere. In essence, the only thing that Detta and Odetta need to be saved from is the very unfair way that they are presented.