Sleeping Beauties: Part 2, Chapter 8

[Sleeping Beauties Content Note: Trans Exclusion and Erasure, Misogyny, Violence Against Women]

Sleeping Beauties Recap: When this book first popped up on my radar, I expressed some concerns about the content on Twitter. This week, I purchased the book and read through it. As I read, I live-tweeted my thoughts on Twitter. This is a compilation and expansion of my tweets. The live-read will be spread out over multiple posts.

Sleeping Beauties, Part Two: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Chapter 8

(Tweet Link) Wait this

this makes no sense

this is impossible

Something impossible is happening.

Let's review, shall we?

Eve is in prison, which has almost no guns.

Frank plans to storm the prison, using guns, to get Eve.

Frank will win because he has guns.

Got it?

Clint's plan is to send Barry The Lawyer to the sheriff's office in his Winnebago to TAKE ALL THE GUNS. The only person at the sheriff's office is a lady dispatcher, barely awake, who has nothing to do with herself. No one is calling the sheriff's office for help. No one is raiding the sheriff's office for their shiny guns. (Well, except for Barry.) Frank knew that his draw card was Lots of Guns and he left in charge a woman he expects to be asleep when he gets back.

“Get as much of the ammo as you can,” Barry said. “I’ll get the M4s and some of the Glocks.”

The lady dispatcher gives Barry the Lawyer, Mika the Reporter, and Garth the Plastic Surgery all the guns because she's sleepy. How did Clint know this Winnebago plan would work and that the sheriff office would be deserted? HOW DID THIS PLAN WORK??? What misogynistic No Woman's Land setting worth its salt leaves a lone woman in charge of all the guns???? What is Frank out doing? He knows he wants to storm the prison with guns! Why isn't he doing that right now???? Why aren't people at the sheriff's office, clamoring for help and answers?????

Okay. I'm sorry. I know we're all sick of this. I'm going to power through. I gotta stop harping on every impossible thing.
The short version is that they get away with half the weapons. It would've been more but Don the Rapist briefly showed up. Willy sends Don away on a wild goose hunt. They ask Willy why he's helping them loot the sheriff's office he was supposed to be helping. Willy, reclusive country redneck, says he "recognizes this girl here [Mika] from the TV news." I.... that's like a reason?
No one recognizes Mika as a local hometown girl celebrity who made it big, it's so WEIRD. The local papers would crow about her, right?? I've not lived in a small town, but in small communities when someone "makes it", you talk about it. A lot!

Barry brought his wife and daughters in the RV, but tells Jared to leave his mom in the attic crawl space and this seems stupid? You can't see the faces of the sleepers, so Frank could wave around any old cocoon and claim he found Lila. ("OUTLANDER!")

Malachi from Children of the Corn.

I still don't know how Lila reacted to Tiffany's kiss. Did she have a reaction? Are women people who react to things? I know I'm harping on this, but the longer we don't know her reaction the more it seems like she doesn't get one? Like, obviously all women gravitate towards lesbianism and obviously they don't have individual preferences, they just take whatever comes.

Even traffic on the main road was so sparse it was nearly nonexistent. The town was in mourning for its women, Reed thought. Hell, the world was in mourning.

No one is even out driving! This is the most tidy apocalypse since Left Behind. At least Left Behind claimed to have lawlessness somewhere!
Do they really think Norcross is stupid enough to take that woman out into the world when he’s got her behind bars right now?”

Why does everyone think Eve is safer trapped in a place she's known to be, than out in the wide world where no one knows she can sleep?

“I got some pretty bad news from Bridger County fifteen minutes ago.”

Every woman on earth is (as far as they know) essentially dead. Millions of men have died. The human race is doomed to extinction. How is this "bad news" on this new scale?

“If the bitch started it, she’ll know how to stop it,” Pete said.

The problem with a morality play--and I noted this with Blindness--is that there's no "human message" if your characters aren't human. Who, in 2018, seriously hears about an immune woman in a zombie plague and immediately thinks "she'll know how to stop it"? No-one. How many zombie movies/books/shows have we watched? How many have an immune survivor? When do they ever  have a magic "off" switch???

Note, too, the surreal misogyny: they're assuming Eve both knows how to turn off the plague and just isn't doing it. Because she's a bitch? (Eve doesn't know how to turn off the plague; it's out of her hands. The implication was that only God can do it.) But so anyway, I'm not reading this thinking "wow, humans are awful", I'm reading this thinking "lol, these people aren't human".

Anyway, Don radios in that Barry Holden took all the guns, and Frank immediately intuits that he's taking the guns to Clint. Books are easier to write when the author informs all the characters of the plot!

Can we talk about how weird it is that Frank is fixated on Lila as a bargaining chip, and not any other woman or hostage? Like. "Clint, we've got a pile of women here. Send out Eve or we burn one every hour," would be evil but effective. "Ana, maybe the men don't want to murder their wiv--" THEN IT ISN'T LAWLESS MANCHAOS.

Barry The Lawyer's daughter is briefly established in a flashback so her death a few sentences later can have impact. Fuck this book. The Scorch Trials did this and it never works. If you give someone a name moments before they die, you just telegraph their doom. "Why are we hearing about this previously unnamed character now, oh I guess they're about to die" is the opposite of emotional impact.

“I want you to man up! I want you to man the fuck up and make this interesting! I want your precious Nana to be able to go to school and say, ‘My daddy isn’t just a civil servant who catches feral cats, and he isn’t just a guy who punches walls or pulls on my favorite shirt or yells at Mom when things aren’t going his way. He’s also the man who stopped that wicked old fairy who put all the women to sleep.’ ” “Leave m

Eve calls Frank on her magic cell phone to goad him, thus making this EVEN LESS a morality play about mankind and their urges.

“Stop this,” said Frank. “Let them go. Let the women go. Not just my wife and daughter, all of them.” Evie said, “You’ll have to kill me first.”

Eve previously said she couldn't/didn't lie. Here she is lying. This... undermines everything.

Look, you can have magic and gods in your novel! But you have to give the magic rules so the reader has structure! If your magic gods can do whatever they want, whenever they way, and lie and control humans, the humans have no real agency. Anything they do without agency therefore says nothing about the human race because the humans didn't choose this.

If--if--killing Eve would bring the women back, then there IS a moral case for killing Eve! There's also a moral case for not killing her, but it's the "one life to save millions" question, not a "gosh men are brutal beasts".

This book is failing at its own premise!! None of this is true!

Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.

There are no "primal urges" here.

Eve told Clint keeping her alive will save the women.

Eve told Frank killing her will save the women.

Both Clint and Frank are responding in a reasonable fashion to what Eve has told them and what they have every reason to believe.

Flash to Lila, who sleeps in the same room as Tiffany (and several other women) but in a separate bed. No idea if they're "together". Tiffany is 7 months pregnant, and she was (apparently) only just pregnant when the novel started, so 7 months have passed? Is it still winter?

What they hadn’t passed on (although Lila and Janice knew) were their worries for the baby, which had been conceived while Tiffany was still using drugs on a daily—sometimes hourly—basis.

Hmm, yes, I can see how this would be a concern if not for the whole THE BABY IS STILL A FETUS IN THE REAL WORLD, WHAT THE FUCK EVEN. Does... does King not realize that the cocooned women aren't growing babies at the same rate as their mental dream counterparts?

The women follow the fox into the woods to see the Tree. In case you were wondering how Lila reacted to Tiffany's kiss, I DON'T KNOW. Why would we want to find out if the women are making romantic connections in their paradisaical new world??

The Tree is surrounded by amazing and impossible animals. Women scream in terror. Lila snaps at them to calm themselves. Etc. Lila intuits that the Tree is a way out "if we want to" and, lolsob, Tiffany instantly goes into labor with the baby in breech. Tiffany was stated to be "7 months pregnant" and now 5 minutes later she's going into labor, what even are words, y'all? This is a ride.

I guess the baby is early? It seems really big and really breechy for 7 months, but what do I know.

Tiffany is wearing jeans that zip up. I... do.... can anyone confirm.... ? I kinda thought we'd be in the stretchy pants phase of pregnancy at this point, but I've never made it to 7 months.

[TW] They're going to cut her open. They found an exit to the real world and instead of even questioning whether to push her through for her own safety they're cutting her open.

[TW] The words "steak-knife episiotomy" are used.

Oh fuck this is so triggering and unnecessary.

This is the most fucking bullshit.

[TW] The baby is born dead, strangled by the cord and ashen gray, but they blow it its mouth and it's fine now. I speak from family experience when I say that this is a crock of bullshit. Here, I'm not going to try to summarize it. Trigger warnings like you wouldn't believe.

What point? Dead was dead. But Lila once more obeyed orders, and saw shadowy crescents appear in Erin Eisenberg’s cheeks as she sucked on her end. There was an audible sound—flup. Erin turned her head aside to spit out what looked like a wad of phlegm. Then she nodded to Jolie, who raised the baby to her face and blew gently into its mouth. The baby just lay there, head back, beads of blood and foam on its bald head.

[TW] Tiffany, no longer needed as "cousin", "victim", or "pregnant woman" will now exit the book, her narrative role fulfilled.

“Is that normal?” someone asked. “Perfectly.” Erin’s voice was firm and sure, confidence personified: absolutely no problem here. That was when Lila began to suspect that Tiffany was probably going to die. “But someone bring me more towels.”

It's amazing how there's really only one female protagonist (Lila) and the other women are just plot devices.

So can I just pause here and rant, because I'm going to.

Pregnancy is basically the biggest killer of women after men, as far as I know. These women know that too. They're actual doctors. WHY. THE. FUCK. have they been focusing on getting to Kentucky for gasoline rather than on solar-powering up the hospital? Tiffany dies from lack of pitocin, per the narrative, so why weren't they scrounging that? making it? something? [Note: People on Twitter said this doesn't even make sense. The pitocin, I mean.] Why haven't they been preparing for pregnancy with the same verve they've used to tackle gasoline and indoor plumbing?

They've had something like six months to prep for this birth and they've already gone through one already. (Linda, never heard from again.) This is just. It's bullshit. And why? Why is it in this novel, what purpose does it serve? Why inflict this on the reader? It doesn't tie in any way to the premise of a world without men. Hell, why is the women's world without men lacking all technology? How the fuck is that fair? "We took away all the men who were killing you, but you now have to give birth in a cave." Well THANKS SO MUCH.

"Ana, it's not supposed to be fair, it's a pla--"


When actual, literal God is doing things, we're allowed to ask why he's being a douchebag.

@hannahnpbowman  [TW] At 7 months, fetuses don't have developed lungs.

[TW] They'll probably fashion a premie respirator out of coconuts, like Gilligan's Isle. I'm making a new thread for this that isn't full of pregnancy triggers. BRB.


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