First let me state that I find/found every book in the series to be superb. and that I cannot recommend this series highly enough.
This book is a vivid flashback of Roland's past and is one of the saddest stories in King's repetoire. While making progress in his journey to the Tower the characters also learn more of Roland's history and his star crossed love. By the time this book is over it shows the human side and the tragedy of a hero who will sacrifice all for his duty.