After walking around for a short while, Roland and his companion stop to make camp, and this is kind of where the book really begins. You see, nearly all of book 4, excluding parts at the beginning and end, is a story told by Roland to the Eddie, Susannah, and Jake. It’s a story from Roland’s childhood and before I get into it I want to say this:
I didn’t like it.
The story Roland tells us is complex and there’s no way I can explain all of it. It’s about him and his friends: Cuthbert Allgood and Alain Johns, and follows their travels away from Gilead to Mejis, shortly after Roland has become a gunslinger. It’s a story about adventure, friendship, love, loss… I could go on. I’m not going to, but you get it.
It’s a beautiful backdrop to Roland’s past, lots of world- and character building. It really paints a vivid picture of how things used to be.
But I didn’t like it. Not because it wasn’t interesting, it just wasn’t interesting enough. I always wanted for the story to end, so we could go back to Jake, Eddie, and Susannah. Hearing about young Roland was fun, just… not fun enough.
Of course, I finished the book. Even though I didn’t like it, I wasn’t stupid enough to think that all of this storytelling was for nothing. Oh no. But I noticed I wasn’t particularly gripped by the story of young Roland. I could probably do with reading it again, because I got to admit, there are big chunks I don’t even remember already now. They just, didn’t stick with me, do you know what I mean?
By the end, I was super excited to get back to the ‘present’. I wanted Roland and his Ka’tet to get up, to keep moving, to go look for the tower. And of course, they did. And at this point Roland’s story of childhood, became very relevant. Let me say that again: veeeeeery relevant.
I knew it would be, of course I did. And I’m not saying I didn’t like the book as a whole. But I felt like Roland’s story could have been much shorter, and I’ve got to say, this is probably my least favorite Dark Tower book so far.
Very excited about the next, though. Can’t wait.