I don’t even know what made me pick up this book, but OH MY WORD. The Measure, by Nikki Erlick is one of the most thought provoking books I’ve read in a loooooong time!
One morning, everyone in the world ages 22 + wakes up to find a little wooden box on their doorstep and no one knows how they got there. This global phenomenon has everyone wondering what the boxes are for. Each box contains a string…some are long, some are short….and after this story makes the news, it’s determined that the strings in each box represent the measure of their recipient’s life (how long they’ll live). Everyone who has a box is left with the decision to open it and learn how long they have left to live OR to keep it closed and let fate run its course so that their end comes as a surprise.
This story follows eight different people and their stories after receiving their boxes…the decisions they make to open their boxes or keep them closed, how their knowledge (or lack thereof) affects their loved ones, how they face discrimination, how their lives change…such an incredible read!
If you’re a fan of Black Mirror, I think you’ll enjoy this read. Definitely a sci-fi kind of book, but not the Star Wars/Star Trek kind of science fiction. This one, while out there, is just real enough to keep you wondering, “what if?!” Not to mention the parallels between our post Covid world and the division that happens in the story. Lots of inferred social commentary that reflects much of what happened during and after the 2020 pandemic….mandates, political divisiveness, etc. Aside from that, I was completely and totally invested in the characters and their stories…how their lives intertwined and how their relationships & livelihood were impacted by the length of their strings. Such a compelling read!
This book had me all in my feels. I mean, I went through the gamut of emotions…fear, uneasiness, sorrow, elation…I was all over the place! I could NOT stop thinking about it and still can’t. Incredibly thought provoking and poignant. While the premise might sound a little morose and depressing, I personally found it to be hopeful. So many great takeaways and things to consider. Had me asking myself if I’d want to open my box to see my string or if I’d rather not know how long I have left to live and how I might feel if my string differed from my spouse’s. Impossible questions.
If you’re looking for a book club rec, let it be this one. You’ll have SO much to discuss!!! Hard to believe this is a debut novel. For me, The Measure was a home run. I laughed. I cried. I closed the last chapter with so much to think about. I didn’t want it to end! I’ll recommend this one over and over and over again. So beautifully written!!
5/5 enthusiastic stars
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