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Sleeping Beauties
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Here we talk about read books. > Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King

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message 1: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 240 comments Mod
I forgot to open the thread. Many apologies. Has everyone finished?


Gretchen (gkonkler5) | 44 comments I'm still working on it. Only about 1/4 way into it. Had some other priorities in July but now reading is back on the top of the list and hope to make good progress from this point forward.

So far I'm liking it, a little disturbing.


message 3: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 240 comments Mod
Glad to hear you are enjoying it. I'd avoid this thread until you have finished the book on account of spoilers. I look forward to hearing what everyone thought of it!


Danielle | 69 comments Where to start, where to start?! This book was saturated. Saturated with drama, details, characters, everything. It would have been a good book with less, but I didn't mind the excessiveness of it in this book. I love a story rich in detail. I haven't read a lot of Stephen King, but I definitely plan to read more.

I genuinely don't know where to start. Forgive me if I get longwinded or bounce around. I will try to stay focused. haha

What stood out the most to me was how realistic it felt while being fantastical. I really appreciated that aspect of the writing. In fact, it is what makes me want to devour more of King's work. There were magic trees, an alternate mirrored universe, mind controlled rats, and even a talking fox, yet nothing felt that it couldn't be possible. I am new to the world of horror, but it felt more like fantasy to me. I understood the elements that were meant to make it feel like horror, such as moths flying out of Evie's mouth, the women attacking once woken, the eerie feeling of "Our Place", etc, and I felt like that could be a lot more intense as a movie, or television show, but it didn't cause me to blink as a book. I wonder if my feelings would have been different if I had read it rather than listened to the audiobook. I'm not sure. I know that other members of this group are more schooled in the horror field, how did it feel to you guys?

There was one thing about the violence of the women when their sleep was disturbed that I didn't quite understand. What was the point of it? If Evie's point to all of this was to prove the instability and violence of men, why were the women made to become violent? Ultimately, some of the men tried to spread the idea that the cocooned women were all dangerous and needed to be disposed of, causing a movement to burn them. Perhaps that was the goal? If so, it feels a bit weak. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

That leads me to the sexism.....oh, the sexism.... This book radiated sexism. Towards men, a little bit towards women, but mostly towards men. It was as though there was a survey of all things sexist and, in the end, every idea given was used. Women are the cooks and cleaners of the house, there were PMS references to anger in women, etc. Men are inherently violent, they can't do laundry or cook for themselves, etc...etc...etc...etc... oh etc.... I am all for bringing to light the need for more gender equality, but this was more or less a male bashing party.

One last thing I will mention in this post, as I could go on and on, I felt like the decision to leave "Our Place" was rushed and sloppy. The "discussion" among the women to decide whether or not to return to their lives in Dooling, didn't feel right. I couldn't quite put my finger on my exact thoughts about that, but I didn't buy it. Did anyone else feel that way? Or does anyone have opposing thoughts on that?

Ok, I will pause for now. I look forward to hearing everyone else's thoughts!


message 5: by Amy (new)

Amy Wong (amywong_marsu) | 47 comments I liked this book alot and thought it was fun to read! I guess I don't really see what's sexist about it that much lol. It didn't feel like they were putting women down?

My favorite character was the sheriff I thought she was going to take charge of the whole show and save the day but she kinda fizzled out after a while.

I couldn't stand the dog catcher guy because he was just a bully pushing everyone around.

Nobody in this story really wanted to work together. It was every man and woman for themselves. Except for a little while in Our Place when they actually got along. Maybe thats the point of the book that all people suck!

It wasn't scary thought so I don't understand why they call it horror.


message 6: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 240 comments Mod
Many readers associate King with novels like The Shining, Salem's Lot, Cujo, etc. The Shining is inarguably horror. The characters come up against ghostly attackers, visions of the dead and dying, and scenes that feel almost like biblical interpretations of hell. The book is full of supernatural terror of every shape and size, but it also relies heavily on psychological terror. Since I know Danielle hasn't read/watched The Shining I'll keep this spoiler-free, but in addition to ghosts and whatnot the characters face real-life horror in the form of domestic violence, addiction, and poverty.

Then you have Cujo which is about a very large and very sick dog. If I recall correctly, Cujo is a St. Bernard with rabies who corners a mom and her small child in their vehicle with no help in sight. While The Shining features spectral dance parties and Jedi-like powers, the horror of Cujo comes from the slow burn of a genuine kind of terror that any of us could conceivably face.

According to J.A. Cuddon via Wikipedia horror is "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing."

Sleeping Beauties has shocking moments, scary moments, repulsive and loathful moments. Is loathful a word? Anyhow, it's not vampires and ghosts, but it is definitely supernatural. It's not scenes of babies being roasted over an open fire or filled with graphic descriptions of undead hordes, but it certainly had some repulsive moments. (Like a woman sheriff! Amirite boys?)

(that was a joke)

But seriously, when you first asked this I thought "I guess it wasn't really horror" but after thinking it over I have reconsidered and I can see why it was given this designation. I think having Stephen King's name on the cover might have given influenced our expectations though. Compared to some of his other work it's very tame horror.


Gretchen (gkonkler5) | 44 comments Only took me six weeks to finish! Wish there was more time to read.

I really liked this. Thought it was a fun read on the surface. Dig into it and it is disturbing when you put yourself in this scenario.

Danielle I too questioned the purpose of the women attacking if their cocoon was disturbed. My conclusion which also kind of ties in with this being horror question. I think this book could have been much darker. If the women were left with no defense there could have been much more rape and torch burning. I think this is frightening in the same way The Handmaiden's Tale is. Touches on scary truths about human nature. We often act out of fear or allow or ego to dictate our actions. Not sure if I explained that well...

I would have preferred if this would have been written with a more subtle sexist tone than the obvious things regarding men and women. I did like one brief moment where Lila questions her own attitudes. "That instinct, to doubt what women say, it's always there. To find some reason not take their word. Men do it... but we do, too. I do it." Then on page 441 where she talks about Clint. Not sure where but feel she also acknowledged she didn't question things. She didn't stand up and say "I don't want a pool" and Clint had never given her any real reason not too.

What I still don't know is what I would have decided. Would I have wanted to stay in Our Place. Who would I have lost? What would my daughters want to do?

Overall thought provoking read.

What other books have you all read by King and what would you recommend?

Some of my favorites:
The Green Mile
Dreamcatcher
The Bill Hodges Trilogy Boxed Set: Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch
Hearts in Atlantis
Different Seasons
Cell
The Long Walk
Bag of Bones

I never read Cujo and probably never will. I saw the movie and was hard to watch because the little boy's name is Tad. My son's name is Tad and he was about 3 when I watched it. Hearing the mother screaming Taaadd was just awful. Ha!


message 8: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Bellerose | 35 comments This is another departure from what I usually read, but that's why I come to this club. This club helps me broaden my horizons.

With that being said, I wasn't a fan of this book. I didn't hate it, but it took effort for me to finish. The story felt too formulaic and obvious, I could see the general structure a mile down the road. There were few, if any surprises and none of the characters felt fleshed out and real. Can anyone relate to that?

I suppose my criticism parallels Danielle's praise in the realness of the story. I expect horror to be wild and crazy, something that is very far removed from the day to day. This felt too normal and mundane. I'm not as well versed in horror as other members of this club, and perhaps I too had different expectations.

Amy, you touched on another issue I had with the characters. The only unity amongst them was watery and bland. It didn't make sense overall and felt very forced. Suddenly this character or that character is willing to die for nothing.

Jordan, loathful is indeed a word!

Gretchen, I took just as long as you did to finish so I can't cast the first stone. I think this is a good discussion and I am glad we all read the book.

After reading your comment, Gretchen, I think you made a really good point. The King's didn't necessarily paint a totally anti-male picture. In fact, in the end, Lila and Clint split over their differences (another "too real and too boring" detail, but I already made my peace about that)

I am torn too about the idea of staying in Our Place. Assuming I was female and even had the option I would be inclined to stay. I have my parents, but I have not yet started a family of my own. I wouldn't be leaving much behind, but I certainly understand your hesitation.

If you could bring your children with you, would you go?


Gretchen (gkonkler5) | 44 comments My gut reaction would be to stay. When I start to weigh the pros and cons I go down this rabbit hole of who, what, when and why.

If we stick with books concept of either we all stay or we all go I'd be with the females in my family. We would carry over a fairly descent tribe. I have three daughters, 3 granddaughters, and a daughter in-law. Plus, I'd probably get my X mother in-law. I'd leave behind one son and 2 grandsons. Would that be difficult and heartbreaking, of course. But if the majority decide to go back I've lost nothing. I'd hate to be a swing vote.

Big question is can I take my dogs???

In the book I don't think they really had a good debate staying or going and think there could be some real powerful ideas for staying or going that possibly could sway me.

The idea of "Our Place" sounds exciting and challenging. However, would it really be better? Would we really be able to make a better society? I think the same difficult issues that we face today would still be there.


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy Wong (amywong_marsu) | 47 comments Hey guys when are we doing the next book?


Garret (garretldavis) | 93 comments Better late than never? I finally finished the novel this morning and it seems most everyone has touched on issues I also have feelings on, so I'll keep this as brief as I can, especially since I'm over a month late to the party.

As an avid Stephen King fan, and having read the large majority of his novels, this was nowhere near my top favorite. The horror is this story, to me, was the acts of men and women based on the reality of the presented human condition of wanting and seeking control of that which is either not understood (Aurora and Eve Black) or not possessed (Our Place being a land to start over without the patriarchy in place and the police force led by Frank "What a Bastard" Geary wanting Eve Black). The elder King has always had his horror revolve around the human condition in recent years (Under the Dome, Lisey's Story, and Duma Key come to mind) with elements of or outright supernatural events influencing the movement of the plot. Someone mentioned that this novel was almost more akin to fantasy than horror, and modern horror, at least more in the mainstream sense, tends to lean this way more often than not. The horror was not Eve Black and the Aurora sickness, though there was invoked horror imagery as a result, but more from how groups of humankind reacted and performed when faced with those supernatural elements.

As stated, this is not one of my favorite King works, and not even a favorite horror novel for me. I did enjoy it, but the best way I can relate to my feelings is reading this was like watching a middle episode in an enjoyed television series where all the right characters and tropes are in place, but nothing crucial happens to make a difference in the larger picture.

My one question to the group, if anyone checks this after almost 2 months of the thread being open, is did anyone else feel like the final segment of the novel, where Lila goes to the place of the Tree, praying to and for Eve to come back, and the moth landing on her hand was meant to have the same effect as the final scene in (and excuse my nerdiness and please avoid continuing reading for a spoiler of DC movies) Batman v Superman where the dirt on Clark's casket lifts up just before the credits roll?


message 12: by Gretchen (last edited Oct 24, 2018 12:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gretchen (gkonkler5) | 44 comments Garret I haven't seen Batman V. Superman. I assume you mean Clark Kent dies??? *gasp*

Anyway, I took the moth landing on Lila's hand as some sort of sign from Eve that she "heard" her and that there was some kind of hope. Now I may be miss remembering and don't have the book handy to refer to. However, just based on what you said about the dirt on Clark's casket would have me inclined to believe that not all was lost...


message 13: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Bellerose | 35 comments Hello Garret and welcome back. When I first joined I was instructed that I could reply to any discussion at any time, regardless of how long ago the book was read. In fact, I've been meaning to dip into a couple of this club's previous reads.

I agree with you and Gretchen that the moth was a sign that Eve was still there, or at least still existed. I hope it wasn't the setup for a sequel, though.

As an avid reader of King, what are your favorites? What are better examples of his style of horror?


Garret (garretldavis) | 93 comments My personal favorites of King, Ryan, as far as actual horror goes would be The Shining, It, Pet Sematary, and probably Needful Things, though The Dark Tower series by him is my favorite book series ever and definitely includes horror, though has blends of several genres.


message 15: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 240 comments Mod
I'm inclined to agree with you, Garret. The Shining is the most "horror" of your list, with Pet Semetary being just as good, but less epic.

As for other works: Carrie is good, old-fashioned B-Movie Horror, IT is a darker, more epic, and more thoughtful horror, and the short story "Trucks" is just bonkers. Needful Things is a good example of King's own little sub-genre of "Normal folks being manipulated by a supernatural baddie."

The Outsider, one of his newest books, fits that genre too. A small town family man is arrested for the horrific assault and murder of a little boy. Half the town is convinced he did it, with many of them seeing him with the boy, near the scene of the crime, or shortly after covered in blood. The other half couldn't believe the little league baseball coach capable of such a thing, and some of them even have proof he wasn't anywhere near the crime scene, or even in the same city.

It's a story driven by characters and the decisions they make more so that the elements of horror or supernatural creatures. It's a more mature story than Sleeping Beauties (possibly because King was the sole author?) in multiple ways. The content is definitely more mature. It's a brutal story with a few scenes of graphic murder and sexual assault (heads up for those of you who are sensitive to that) but the maturity goes beyond that. King isn't afraid to let his story take unconventional turns that less established authors might worry would alienate potential readers, and he doesn't bat an eye at killing off characters with a zest that George R. R. Martin would approve of.

Anyhow, if you liked the flow and general thematic structure of Sleeping Beauties but wanted something a little heavier, a little darker, and a little less predictable I suggest The Outsider.


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