Sleeping Beauties: Part 2, Chapters 16-17

[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 16-17

(Tweet Link) We're almost done.

This is how this novel treats the queer couple: Shambling zombies. Fuck this shit.

“Them,” Angel said, and pointed as two female creatures came shambling down the corridor, seemingly untroubled by the smoke and gunfire. To Michaela, the shreds of cocoon hanging from Maura Dunbarton and Kayleigh Rawlings looked like bits of rotted shroud in a horror movie. They passed by without looking at Michaela and Angel.

The one gay man in this novel is dead (killed by the Bad Guys a few pages back), and this is what happened to the queer ladies. Don't ever speak to me about King again. [Note: In the epilogue, the remaining Bad Guys will have happy endings because everyone covers up what they did. No one will ever receive any punishment for killing the gay man, the sapphic couple, or the Black rape victim.]

That was as far as he got before Maura Dunbarton’s cold hands gripped him, one by the neck and the other by the back of his head. Elmore Pearl gazed into those soulless eyes and began to screech. He didn’t screech for long; the reanimated thing that had been Maura stuck her hand into his mouth, ignored his biting teeth, and yanked straight down. The sound of his upper and lower jaws parting company was like the sound

Angel kills the rapist in a visceral scene I'm sure the author was super proud of writing, but given that the survivor was killed, I'm not. You don't get points for hating rapists when you don't show an ounce of love for their victims. *spits*

Eve is now naked with green pubic hair.

Frank, who came here to kill Eve and only a few pages ago reaffirmed his plan to kill her, now wants to take her alive. idk idk

“Take her and take her alive,” Frank said. He had never felt so tired in his life, but he would see this through. “If she really is the key to Aurora, let the docs figure her out. We’ll drive her to Atlanta and hand her over.”

He came here believing she's supernatural, and she clearly is supernatural, and he wants to give her to doctors?? I DON'T KNOW. CHARACTER CONSISTENCY IS FOR PLEBES.

Frank spoke patiently, as if lecturing a slow pupil. “So far as we know, she’s the only woman on earth who can sleep and wake up again. Be reasonable. I only want to take her to doctors who can study her, and maybe figure out how to reverse what’s happened. These men want their wives and daughters back.”

This is reasonable! But it is also the EXACT OPPOSITE of Frank's motivation for the entire book!

“I only cage those that need to be caged,” said Frank,

“I only cage those that need to be caged,” says the man established as a domestic tyrant who abuses his family and I just. *tears out all my hair*

Rules. Your magic has to have rules.

“You’re welcome,” said the queen rat. “There is only one question I need to ask you, Mother. Do you keep your word?” “Always,” said Evie. “Then what do you want us to do?”
Evie spread her arms wide. Her eyes flickered, the pupils expanding to black diamonds, the irises roiling from pale green to brilliant amber, turning to cat’s eyes. “Kill me,” she said. “Kill me and they’ll awake. Every woman on earth. I swear this is true.” Like a man in a dream, Frank raised his rifle.

Page 192: Evie says she "always" keeps her word.

Page 659: Evie promises a falsehood.

If you're going for a Trickster God, you must establish that when they promise to always keep their word, that's a lie. Here's Evie now accusing Clint of a lie when he's not. She was established as being truthful! Multiple times!

“Listen to me, Frank. Evie’s told us that if you don’t kill her, if you just let her go, there’s a chance the women can come back.” “He’s lying,” Evie said, but now that he couldn’t see her, Frank heard something in her voice that gave him pause. It sounded like anguish.

Willy instantly has a heart-attack. Clint refuses to let Frank help him. Clint demands Evie save him. Clint entreats her with stories of what a good man Willy is and how he served his country in Vietnam. She melts with pity. Eve kisses him and he turns 20 years younger and stops having a heart attack. Sure, whatever. Why not.

“If the women of Dooling come back, all the women of earth come back?” Clint asked. “That’s how it works?” “Yes. The women of this town stand for all women, and it must be all of your women who come back. Through there.” She pointed at a split in the Tree. “If even one refuses . . .”

"The women of this town stand for all women." Do I have to explain what white supremacist bullshit this is? How will they even gather up "all" the women? Half of them are walking to Kentucky and a quarter of them are now dead. Literally "all your women" cannot come back because the men have been killing them willy-nilly while cocooned. Eve gathers them all up for a Town Meeting but HALF OF THEM ARE WALKING TO KENTUCKY RIGHT NOW. Did the author just forget???

“If you stay here, every woman, from Dooling to Marrakesh, will appear in this world, in the place where they fell asleep. Free to begin again. Free to raise their children the way they want to. Free to make peace. It’s a good deal, or so it seems to me. But you can go. And if you do, every woman will awaken where they fell asleep in the world of men. But you all must go.”

Mika is manipulating the women with false information, so the vote to go back is now further tainted.

“I can’t tell you who’s dead,” Michaela resumed, “because during most of the fighting I was stuck in the prison. I know that Garth Flickinger is dead, and . . .” She was about to mention Barry Holden, then saw his wife and remaining daughters looking at her expectantly, and lost her nerve. “. . . and that’s about all I know. But I can tell you that all the boy children and infants in Dooling are fine and well.”

Can we pause to talk about this?

King is saying women deserve agency to make choices, but he's terrified of giving them agency coz they might make a choice he doesn't want.

Did any of you watch The Jerk as a kid?

There's a scene where Steve Martin is working at a carnival guessing people's weights. If he guesses wrong, they get a prize. The display has eye-catching prizes, but when people ask what they can choose, their selection is limited. "Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers," he says.

Carnival Rube: Hey honey, let’s see how good this guy is. What’d I win?  Navin: Uh, anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers.

This book is that scene.

BOOK: "All the women of the world should be allowed to choose whether or not to live with men!"

BOOK: "Well, no, maybe just.... 1,000 women? Tops?"

BOOK: "And they... they don't need to hear about the bad conditions back home... their dead sons and husbands. If you told them that, if you gave them full agency, they might pick the wrong choice."

This book doesn't achieve its message, in part because the authors aren't convinced of their own moral. They don't think women should have agency to make their own choices, because they'd probably choose wrong. And that's why this book is a failure. That and the racism and the transphobia and the queerphobia and the plot holes and the characterization and the continuity issues. You could edit those. It would take work, but you could remove the bad. But you can't make an author believe a message he doesn't believe.

Daddy Spice Monkey @ravingsockmonky  Not only that, but they are removing agency from the women. What if some of them WANT to stay there, even if they die? That's their choice.

In addition to lying to the women, social pressure is being applied to any possible hold-outs.

One character--a man--asked who was in charge if Eve wasn't and why all this is happening. She mocked him and didn't answer. The answer is "because the author wanted it to", which is not a good answer.

Anyway, the women are being manipulated so much that I'm rooting for someone to hold-out as a fuck you. Janice thinks the Woman-World is better but believes they "owe" it to Dr. Clint to return. I cannot fathom why.

“However,” Janice went on, “I also believe I owe it to Dr. Norcross to go back. He risked his life, and the others risked theirs, for the women of the prison when I doubt many others would have. Related to that, I want to make it known to you women who were inmates at the prison that I will do whatever I can to see your sentences commuted, or at the very least lessened. And if you want to double-time it for the hills

He didn't protect them. He failed to protect them. Most of the prisoners died in the assault on the prison. He only and ever acted in his own interests. How is Janice even alive? Her body was in the prison that has been blown to smithereens. Clint made no effort to evacuate the sleepers before the violent burny showdown.

Kitty McDavid, among others, had vanished without a trace (except for a brief flurry of moths). No doubt remained about what that might mean—those women were dead in both worlds. Men had killed them. And yet every single inmate voted to go back. This might have surprised a man, but it didn’t surprise Warden Janice Coates, who knew a telling statistical fact: when women escaped prison

Ah, this is why Angel (she without conscience) wasn't narratively allowed to enter the dream world: she's not a "good" prisoner and she wouldn't come back. Unlike the other women, she killed men without remorse or guilt, and burned all her family ties on purpose.

The First Thursdays also voted to return. “It’s better here,” Gail said, speaking for all of them, “Janice is right about that. But it’s not really Our Place. It’s someplace else. And who knows, maybe all that’s apparently happened over there will make that place better.”

God, the authors can't be arsed to think up any reasons why the women would want to return. It's just a vague "uh, sons?" How about wanting to see Wicked or Hamilton live? How about wanting medicine? How about career ambitions? No woman stands up and says "fuck this nature shit, my poly sci degree is half finished and I'm going to be the first woman president"? These male authors can't think of ANY reason for us not to prefer living as a hunter-gatherer society except:

A) Sons
B) Husband Peen

Hey, you know what? I wouldn't want to live in this society. You know why? I NEED OPIOID MEDS AND NINTENDO GAMES. You may notice that men did not feature heavily on that list!

When it was her turn, she said, “I want to find out what it feels like to really fall in love with a boy.” This confession surely would have sundered Jared Norcross’s heart, had he been present to hear it.

Mary's reason to return is:
- Babies
- Romance

There is nothing wrong with wanting babies and romance! But NOT EVERY WOMAN DOES. Show me something else, King!

Magda Dubcek said that of course she had to go back. “Anton needs me.” Her smile was terrible in its innocence. Evie saw that smile, and her heart broke.

Anton is dead. Magda killed him. (And will find that out upon waking.) Eve doesn't tell her.

One woman spoke of her husband. He was a great guy, he really, really was, did his share, pulled for her, all that. Another woman talked about her songwriting partner. He was nobody’s idea of a picnic, but there was a connection they had, a way they were in tune. He was words; she was music. Some just missed home.

More spouses. WE GET IT.

Carol Leighton, the civics teacher at the high school, said she wanted to eat a Kit Kat that wasn’t stale and sit on her couch and watch a movie on Netflix and pet her cat.

We see exactly ONE woman who has other reasons:
- KitKat
- Netflix
- Cat

But "most" wanted to leave for their sons.

HOW MANY SONS DOES STEPHEN KING THINK WE HAVE? Most of the women I know don't have sons.

Jeanette died so that Elaine would change her mind. The book killed its on-page rape victim for this. Fuck.

A son, the woman had said, I have a son. “Elaine?” someone asked. It was time for her to make a decision. “I have things I need to do,” Elaine said.

Lila is the final vote. She goes back because "women were the magic men dreamed of".


Post a Comment