So, it seems like there was a bit of a hiccup in the editing, since a previous chapter talks about Tiffany’s son, but she goes back to being pregnant soon after. I’m not sure if it was a bit of foreshadowing that didn’t quite work out or what, but it was weird.
Either way, some of the women in Our Place find what could be a way out. That is, it’s a way out if they want to leave. However, as the women contemplate what they are seeing, they get interrupted. Tiffany is in labor, and this time it’s for real. So, here we have the first person born in Our Place. Andrew Jones.
Again, the relationship between bodies in Our Place and Dooling is interesting. If the physical body in Dooling dies, then the person in Our Place dies as well. So, does it work the other way around? If someone dies in Our Place, what happens to their body in Dooling? Also, what’s going to happen to Andrew if/when everyone wakes up? Will he go back to being a fetus? Will he suddenly have the body that he had at that point? Would he be born twice? And then there’s Tiffany. Unfortunately, Tiffany didn’t survive giving birth to Andrew. So, would she come back to life? Would she be able to get to a hospital, knowing what would ultimately happen when she goes into labor? There’s not a whole lot of book left, but hopefully there’s some answers to these questions.
The issue of the tree was mostly forgotten in the commotion surrounding Andrew’s birth. However, Elaine kept it at the front of her mind. She can’t fathom why Nana would miss her father. Frank is angry, volatile, and frightening, but she still misses him and wants to go back. So she has a plan for any woman that wants to leave Our Place, should any exist. She decides to burn the tree down.
Now, until now I liked Elaine. She’s still better than Frank. But aside from the fact that she thinks that all men are awful and the sole reason for misfortune in the world, she does something that a lot of men try to do. She’s planning to take away their choices. By burning that tree, she strips every citizen of Our Place of the ability to decide their own destiny. Before they even have the opportunity to decide, she makes the decision for them, and what right does she have to do that?
One of the more heartbreaking moments in this section is when we see the book that Tiffany wrote for Andrew. It’s a bunch of tips for how he can live a better life than her. There’s so much hope in that little list of rules, and it’s so bittersweet. It’s a shame, really. Tiffany Jones’ life was going uphill fast in Our Place, but circumstances took even that away from our Appalacian Fantine.