Your fate arrives in a box on your doorstep. Do you open it?
It seems like just another morning.
You make a cup of tea. Check the news. Open the front door.
On your doorstep is a box.
Inside the box is the exact number of years you have left to live.
The same box appears on every doorstep across the world.
Do you open yours?
It’s the decision of a lifetime.
WOW, I did not expect that, to be honest I’m not sure what I expected. I know I liked the sound of the premise. This is such a brilliant book so different. One Spring morning every one around the world gets up to find a wooden box on their doorstep, but how did it get there? Who is it from? What does it mean? No one knows, all they know is that every person aged 22 or above receive one of these boxes. Inside each box is a a measure, a piece of string. It’s either a short piece of string or a long one, but the length tells you how long you have to live, roughly.. At first people aren’t sure whether to open their box or not, there is a lot of speculation as to what it means if you do open it. You can lift the lid as the measure (piece of string) is hidden under a piece of paper giving you a chance to decide whether to look or not. What would you do? I have a feeling I would look, I think curiosity would get me, but we know what that did to the cat. The trouble is if you open it and you are a short stringer how would you then then deal with that knowing roughly how long you have it may be 20 years or may be 2 years, it all depends on the length of the piece of string.
In some countries they are told they must open the box. Initially the world is afraid of the boxes. Afraid it will divide people the short stringers and the long stringers, it could become disruptive. We are introduced to eight main characters and their decisions regarding the boxes, some choose to open them together, some hide them away not wanting to know. All of the characters are so realistic, believable and relatable, you can see why each one makes the decisions that they do. The more you learn about them the more you like or dislike them. For instance one person leaves a partner because they had opened their box. Once you know if you are a short stringer or a long stringer you are supposed to tell your family. Another difficult decision.
The ramifications from opening the box can affect a lot of your life, employers want to know if you are a short stringer or not. If you are they are less likely to take you on as they see it why should they invest in training you when you only have x amount of time to live. It can affect relationships, do you get involved with someone, have children with them knowing that person will not be around to see the children grow up. There are dating apps for short stringers and long stringers. Throughout the story there is a campaign as to who the next president will be. But the people or the opposition want to know if you have a short string or a long one, as they don’t want to vote for someone who won’t fulfil a full term in office. But yes if the box says you are going to have a long life you know it, but by knowing this would you take more risks? Would knowing what’s in the box change completely how you would behave? If you think about it any president or prime minister now has no idea how long they will live, previous presidents have been assassinated. Would all of that automatically stop if you were a long stringer?
I really enjoyed this one, it’s quite thought provoking, would make a great book to discuss in a book club. I am not sure if I would actually want to know or not. Because I think knowing could change how you behave. I did cry at the end if the book as something happens which I was totally blindsided by. What do you think you would do?
This is a definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read from me, it’s a story I will be thinking about for some time. I would like to thank the publishers @BoroughPress for an ARC of this one,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikki Erlick is a writer and editor whose work has appeared online with New York Magazine, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post, Indagare Travel, BookTrib, and Vox Media. As a travel writer, she explored nearly a dozen countries on assignment—from rural villages in France to the arctic fjords of Norway. As a ghostwriter, she’s written for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and academics. She graduated Harvard University summa cum laude and was an editor of The Harvard Crimson. She earned her master’s degree in Global Thought from Columbia University. The Measure is her debut novel.