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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
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.
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.