It took me longer to finish than most, even though I had a head start on reading (I read the first four chapters at Worlcon). I knew that Bad Things would happen to some or all of the characters, and I was right. I was looking for it, preparing myself, so that when Eddie was shot I thought myself ready. I was cool, fine, only a few tears, I could do this. When Jake died so suddenly and so soon after Eddie, now that was tough. I had trouble sleeping that night and that's when I made my other post about fictional characters. I had dreams that night of the type one dreams when they've lost a loved one (kind of like Susannah's dreams only without the prophetic stuff). I could only read sporadically after that, and it took me a few days to get through Roland and Susannah's flight under Fedic and into the badlands of End-World.
I think I was numb when Oy died saving Roland's life, because I barely registered it for quite a while. What saved me from being a total wreck was Susannah's epilogue. It's a balm to know that she's with Eddie and Jake (a version of them, anyway) in another New York somewhere (and d00d, this is an America where Reagan was never President, yay!). There's even hope for Roland this time around. This is what Stephen King does...even in the midst of heartbreak and fear, he always threads hope throughout. It's what makes him more than just another horror author (The DT is certainly not even in the 'Horror' genre--this is Dark Fantasy, and there's a big difference). The most emotional part of the end for me was Roland calling out the names of people he'd loved and lost on the way to the Tower. I literally read that passage out loud, calling out all the names with Roland. I pretty much lost it when I got to "I come in the name of Jake Chambers, he of New York, whom I call my own true son!" Wah, so much wah.
There's going to be people who didn't like all the meta in the book; I did like it. I think sai King did it with grace and his usual style, and I think the writing must have been a catharsis for him after the accident that almost killed him. I like to think that my Jake did save his life. *g*
I could say so much more about this book, but I'll have to process it further, first. What I said before still stands, even more. The saddest part of this story for me is knowing that I'll never spend another new moment in this universe again, I'll never read it for the first time. It's what fictional!Stephen King says in the book: I've known Jake Chambers longer than Jake has been alive. I'm gonna really miss all of them. *wishes them long days and pleasant nights in their respective whens*
I was telling patchfire (who hopefully isn't reading this because I want her to read the whole series) that I wish there was a kind of hypnosis that makes one forget what they've read in a book, so they could read it again for the first time. I'd do that, with this one. I suppose it's sort of what happened to Roland. *g*
The next big novel to tackle is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel. I have two other books I'm not finished with (H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories and Neil Gaiman's Adventures in the Dream Trade, in order of start date), but I think I need a long story to push Roland and his ka-tet out of my head for a while.
Escapist, moi? I probably should read some non-fiction, but I'll bury my head in the sand a while longer. I listen to NPR, I'm just fine. *g*