Sleeping Beauties: Part 8

So, this is the halfway point! 8 posts down, and 8 to go! And in classic King style, we finally get to see what it’s like for the women that fall asleep.

But first, what’s it like for those that are left behind? Well, it seems like our good buddy Frank is using Terry as a sort of puppet. Terry was just below Lila, so he’s the sheriff now. Frank talked Terry into deputizing him. Still, it seems like Frank is calling the shots. Frank convinces Terry to go to the prison to try and get Clint to let them see Evie. Clint, however, has put the prison in lockdown and won’t let them in. It’s not the worst decision that Clint could make, given his circumstances. He’s got a prison full of cocooned women, he’s the only administrator left, and people are starting to burn the coccoons out of fear. Plus, Evie told him that he has to keep her safe for a week or else none of the women would ever wake up. So, he’s under some pressure here.

And just because this whoel story is a gift that keeps on giving, Don and Eric have decided to team up. Now, I know that there are a lot of names in this book, so just as a refresher: Don is a former prison guard that was fired for sexually assaulting an inmate. Eric is one of the high school students that was harassing Old Essie. Well, they’re something of a team now. They’ve both been deputized, and they’re tasked with taking a census of all of the sleeping women. Someone even had the bright idea to give them authority to break into houses that seemed empty. What could possibly go wrong?

I honestly thought I couldn’t hate these characters more, but then it turns out they’re harassing women that had managed to stay awake for two days straight. They made a game out of spotting women who are trying desperately to stay awake, dubbing them zombies. Don decides to honk his horn at one of them, and she ends up falling and scraping her knees on the sidewalk. And they just laugh and drive away! Never mind them stealing valuables and even panties from peoples’ homes, they just keep one-upping themselves in their sliminess. Is that a word? I don’t know, I just know I can’t stand most of the men in this book.

But finally, we find out what happens to those in the cocoon. The women wake up in essentially the same place that they fell asleep in. But, they’re in an alternate Dooling. It seems to be a Dooling from far into the future, long after people have left. There’s only women there, so we see what the genders will do with their now separate lives. Time moves differently in what becomes known as Our Place. In the two days since Aurora set in, months have passed in Our Place. There’s some type of society forming, with women bringing together whatever skills that they have to help eachother survive.

Now from here, I can see this going one of two ways. I can see it being the type of “men are savage women are wise” type of story, or I see it taking a good hard look at the way that our society has socialized men and women. Now, setting aside the issues of trans people or nonbinary people, that’s a whole can of worms in and of itself that this book doesn’t really adress, whether implicitly or explicitly, men and women are socialized differently. Men are discouraged from exploring and expressing their emotions. Women are discouraged from prioritizing self-care. I’m interested to see how the Kings handle this subject, and if they take the time to really put that dynamic under scruitiny.

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