Book Review: Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King
Fun fact – This book was written by Stephen King and his son Owen King.
One day, all the women and girls in the world fell asleep. A mucus web like cocoon formed over each woman, this sleeping sickness is called “Aurora”. Women who were awake fought hard to remain that way but the human body can only go without sleep for so long. If you try and wake up a sleeping woman, she will get up and attack the person who woke her up, only stopping when the person dies then the woman goes back to sleep. Women who are mothers of boys fell asleep, woke up, picked up their boy children and handed them over to the nearest man then went back to sleep. Doctors cannot figure out why this is happening. Rumors begin and women hating men say that God is punishing women for “moving away from their place in the kitchen.”
The events in the book happen within a span of five days and are focused on what happened in a small town of Dooling, West Virginia. When all the women in the world fall asleep men panic since now they have to take care of their sons. Fathers flood 911 with calls asking what to do with crying boys.
The women fell asleep and woke up in Dooling in the near future, there are only women and girls there. The women name this Dooling as “Our Place”. They begin to rebuild society, everyone has a job and it is harmonious. The women are given a choice they can stay in “Our Place” or go back to present day Dooling.
List of characters:
Lila Norcross – sheriff of Dooling, West Virginia and wife of Clint
Clint Norcross – psychiatrist at Dooling Correctional Institute for Women and husband of Lila
Eve Black – she is magic
Terry Coombs – alcoholic, deputy under the sheriff later promoted to sheriff; commits suicide
Frank Geary – animal control officer, later becomes second in command under Terry Coombs; has anger issues
Warden Janice Coats – warden of the Dooling Coorectional Insitute for Women
Don Peters – rapist, guard at the prison who abuses his power as guard forcing the prisoners to sexually satisfy him; later he puts a Xanaz in the warden’s coffee forcing her to go to sleep. He murdered his mother while she slept by burning down the house with her inside. Later on he becomes a deputy, helps Frank’s side and is killed.
Eric Blass – teenage boy poised to become a rapist, later becomes a deputy, helps Frank’s side, murdered the homeless woman
Jared – Lila and Clint’s son, has a crush on his friend Mary
Mary – Jared’s friend
“Our Place” – looks like the town of Dooling but maybe in the distant future
Magnificent tree – portal between the current Dooling town and “Our Place”
Elaine Nutting – Frank’s ex-wife, very religious
Jeanette Sorley – inmate
Vanessa Lampley – guard at the prison, she is an arm wrestling champion and very strong, she decides to commit suicide instead of falling asleep, ends up pushing herself to chase two criminals and take them down
Michaela – reporter, Janice Coates’ daughter
Angel Fitzroy – inmate
Willy Burke – volunteer, helps Clint’s side
Nana Geary – Frank and Elaine’s daughter, she is scared of her dad but later wants to go back home since she misses her dad
A big theme of the story was fear. When we let fear take over then we all make really bad decisions. Frank mobilizes the deputies with the goal of capturing Eve Black, torturing her until she gives them the cure for all the women. Frank is motivated by fear and believes that this will bring his daughter back.
Because men now have to take on the work women do (which they thought was not real work) they (men) were able to understand that it is work, it is hard work and it should be respected.
A few key things change in the aftermath – universal day care is passed. Women are more assertive and voice their opinions. Men have a smidge more respect for women.
I would not have chosen to come back because in “Our Place” I would have the opportunity to reach my full potential without fear, without having to disguise my ambition and having to change myself into a less threatening, smiling woman so that society (aka men and some women) can accept me. But the book was written by men and maybe that’s why the women in the book decided to come back.
I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to others.