Staying Awake for “A Long Long Sleep”

Original publish date: 8 April 2014

I just finished reading A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan.

Full disclosure: I am fascinated with fairy tales, going so far as to studying them in undergrad, and I enjoy science fiction dystopian society stories–this book covers both so the premise had me in nerdy bliss right off the bat.

The fairy tale component of the story lends the reader a sense of familiarity to know what to expect as Sheehan builds a futuristic world in which to base the seemingly antiquated and overdone tale of Sleeping Beauty. It begins with the part of the story that everyone knows: Sleeping Beauty being awoken by a kiss from her prince.

From there, there are familiar aspects of the tale woven throughout: the thorns that surround the briar rose and a princess guarded against the outside world. But while the story takes from the Sleeping Beauty we know, it picks up with an aspect of the story that is fascinating, yet overlooked aspect of what happens after she’s woken up…and in a diffferent world, so to speak.

The romantic aspect to the story isn’t the overwhelming focus, which can be a concern in young adult novels, particularly the dreaded love triangle. The relationship built between Rose and Xavier is quite interesting, and it’s development from childhood friends to lovers was realistic such that the heartbreak for both parties felt believable and the loss that Rose feels waking up 62 years in the future is palpable. 

I was frustrated with Rose’s mentality toward herself and the quick way that she turned around–it gave me whiplash, but at least I wasn’t one of the item’s she chucked across Ron’s office at UniCorp. I do appreciate the attempt to provide a transition from a meek female figure to a self-confident female figure; however, I feel that there might have been more that could have been done to pull her out of her Stockholm Syndrome-esque feelings toward her parents so that the turn from meek to mighty would have been more believeable as less whiplashy.

While not every book is deserving of a filmic counterpart, after reading the book and learning more about the characters and world that Sheehan created, I could definitely see this as a movie–and one where there would be diversity on the screen as the text calls for it. If this is adopted for film and there’s whitewashing, there will be lots of issues as there are many passages that refer to the ethnic heritage and skin color of the characters quite prominently. The diversity accurately reflects the globalization of society that our society is heading toward, as well as fitting with the world as described within the novel. 

Overall, I would give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars and would recommend for you to give it a try.

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