Title: The Measure
Author(s): Nikki Erlick
Would I Recommend? Probably
One day, you open your door and notice a little brown box. The box has your name on it but no sender. You know you didn’t order anything, so what could it be? You look around because, of course, you are a little nosy, and sure enough, every door has a box; some even have several. You later learn that every person 22 years old and older received a box on the same day at the exact same time. What on earth is happening? Do you choose to open the box or wait for more information?
The Measure by Nikki Erlick tells the stories of eight individuals and their journey with their box. Some will open it and let the contents decide their life decisions; while others will continue with life as it was (or to the best of their abilities) and never open the box. Their stories are interconnected and unique in their own way.
This is the type of book where if you say too much, you will change the reader’s experience. The reason is that every detail of this story adds to the character(s), the plot, and their decisions. Therefore, to avoid going into too many details, I will highlight different aspects of the book.
The best way that I can describe this book is if you have seen movies like Crash (2005), Valentine’s Day (2010), New Year’s Eve (2011), and from what I have been told, every Tarantino movie ever made, then you will understand the vibes of this book. The weaving of the characters story’s were done in a way that was at times a little difficult to follow yet provided insight into their personality, emotions, and internal dialogue. Part of the reason that I think it was so difficult to follow was that I chose to listen to the audiobook.
While the narrators did a great job depicting each character and their relationships/stories, there is a good amount of things to keep track of that can get lost in the narration. I think it would have been easier to connect and engage in the story if I physically read it instead.
Let’s talk about individual characters. As I mentioned, there are eight main characters and many supplemental characters.
- The politician (and his wife – she isn’t a main character, but is mentioned enough in the politician’s story that I am going to mention her)
- The doctor
- The lesbian couple (is it necessary to highlight their sexuality? Kind of. It plays into their story and some of the struggles that they encounter)
- The two accidental pen pals (A & B – they do have names, but for the first half of the book they do not know their real names)
- The two military best friends
A wide range of characters and a wide range of experiences. It is enlightening to see the various perspectives and perceptions of their world. I would argue that many topics are relevant to present-day society. On that note, conversations revolving around discrimination, prejudice, daily struggles, death, and overcoming challenges may be difficult for some people to read about. I appreciated the discussions and could see how they mirrored the present day. That being said, I like to read to escape not to see a different perspective of the same messed up world we live in today. I need to be in the mood for that.
This book made me think, feel, and reflect on the main characters’ topics and experiences. The one question I constantly kept asking myself was if this happened tomorrow, would I open my box? My answer…I honestly don’t know. I want to believe I wouldn’t because life will happen however it happens, but I also feel that my anxiety and curiosity would get the better of me.
Do I think this is a good book?
Yea, I would say it was pretty good. Sometimes it was difficult, but that didn’t deter me from listening more.
Would you have read the book instead of listened to it?
This is one of those instances where I think I would have preferred to read it rather than listen to it. There were a lot of characters and different plot lines, and while the narrators did a good job differentiating themselves, this was the type of book where I would have liked to make the connections.
Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?
Probably to anyone who likes fiction that covers tough topics, allows readers to connect and be emotional with the story, and allows you to think, “what if this were real? What would I do?”
If there were two main takeaways from this story for me, they were: (1) Stop taking life for granted, (2) Live every day like it’s your last, striving toward what is most important to you. This book took an approach that allowed me to live in a world where things were the same yet different. I am unsure if it made a difference, but I am still thinking about some of their stories a week after finishing this book. Did I have a favorite set of stories? Yes, I really liked A & B.
If you read/listened to this book, whose story did you connect with or enjoy the most? Would you open your box?