And here we are: the end of Sleeping Beauties. The two forces meet in the Dooling Correctional Facility, and somehow they manage to refrain from blowing each other up. Evie keeps antagonizing Frank, trying to get him to kill her. Clint manages to calm Frank down, without any help from Evie.
Now, I used to really like Evie, but not really so much anymore. Like, she knows what needs to be done, but she’s actively sabotaging it. What kind of point does she make with how she does it? She knows that she has to stay alive in order for the women to wake up. She seems to really care about giving women the choice to stay or leave, but she seems to be sabotaging Clint’s efforts to protect her. She sends Jeanette to Our Place to keep Elaine from basically doing what she’s doing. And even when she goes beyond the Tree to tell the women that they have their choice, she cries when they don’t make the choice that she wants them to make. What does that really imply about her character?
Is Evie really any better than any man trying to take womens’ choice away? Is she any better than Elaine trying to burn the tree? Is goading Frank to kill her any better than burning the tree? Should Frank be blamed for doing what Evie says he needs to do to? I don’t like Frank Geary’s character at all. Well, he does get a sliver of redemption at the end when he decides to be proactive about his anger management issues, but that doesn’t excuse anything that he does. But he wants to help the women wake up, and there’s no evidence that killing Evie won’t work, and she’s telling him to kill her. So, I don’t think she really has the right to judge Frank on that part. It’s almost the mindset of some abusive partners. Changing goalposts, lies, and blaming. I’m not saying that sexism isn’t a huge problem. I’m not saying that men have often been the focus of history, and have held most of the power. But I can’t really tell what point that Evie is trying to make.
Another part that didn’t sit that well was when the women voted to leave Our Place. I’m not sure how that was supposed to feel. Is it supposed to be hopeful, that men see that they need to change? Or is it supposed to be regretful, that the women chose to go back to the oppressive patriarchal world? I really hope it’s not the second, because that’s…immensely unsatisfying. And really has a low opinion of women. What kind of faith does that show in women’s ability to choose for themselves? What kind of faith does it have in their intelligence?
So overall, I thought that the book was a pretty good read. The ending was a little unsatisfying, and it lost focus at some points, but overall, I enjoyed the book. I was sad when it was over, but I would at the very least recommend it to someone for a fun page-turner.