#BookReview: The Measure by Nikki Erlick @nikkierlick @HarperCollins
Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a read I picked up via NetGalley. This is Nikki Erlick’s first novel, and what a debut. Please note that the book cover is a place holder, and the novel publishes in July 2022 in the UK and May 2022 in the US >>>
About the Book:
Age of Miracles meets The Immortalists in this spirit-lifting, high-concept blockbuster debut set in a world where people can find out how much time they have left to live.
Would you choose to find out the length of your life?
One spring day, small wooden boxes arrive for every person, all over the world, from suburban doorsteps to desert tents. All the boxes feature the same inscription, “The measure of your life lies within,” and vary in only two ways: the name of the recipient and the length of the single string inside. Instantly, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy, first to ascertain their origin and meaning, and then to confront the truth of the strings.
Told through multiple perspectives, The Measure introduces an unforgettable cast of characters whose lives weave and interlock with one another upon the arrival of the strings: a doctor who cannot save himself, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, and a politician whose string becomes a powder keg in an increasingly turbulent world.
As society divides itself, the truth has the power to unravel their long-held beliefs and relationships all while forging new alliances and philosophies about our time on this earth and our place in the community. Both heartbreaking and profoundly uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious meditation on life, family, and society that challenges us to consider the best way to live life to the fullest.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for this Advanced Review Copy.
The title and premise of this story caught my attention completely. I am so thrilled to have received an ARC of this book. Absolute dynamite that addresses so many social and cultural issues that plague our modern world. At first, I feared this was going to be a retelling of the 2019 movie “Countdown” but was soon disabused of that notion.
“It was difficult to imagine a time before them, a world in which they hadn’t come.”
From this opening line, we meet one character after another faced with whether or not to open the mysterious and indestructible box that arrives on each and every person’s doorstep around the globe. Even those who don’t have doorsteps, such as the homeless or nomads who live in tents, receive their own box. Everyone, that is, aged 22 and over. The boxes bear the legend, “The measure of your life lies within” and contain a string of a certain length, which tells you how long you have left to live.
The changes that come rock the world. This is a shocking read because it is all too believable. The book contains so many great lines that I struggled to choose only a few to highlight in this review. Here goes …
“When your sample size is the entire world, you’re bound to find anecdotes that support any theory.”
“Ben tried to maintain eye contact with the floor.”
“Did a patient receive less care because her string was short, or was a patient’s string short because she received less care?” … A wonderful take on the classic chicken-and-egg question. Although the author undid this achievement in the very next sentence by then telling us it’s “a wonderful chicken-and-egg question”. Argh.
One character I found incredibly naive. Amie, a woman in her twenties, who teaches 10-year-olds at a private school. This character brings us nonsense such as: “Amie smiled at the thought of her parents, still active in their late fifties” … erm, I should think so!!!!
Also, in the same vein: “… Still working full-time and filling their weekends …” they’re in their 50s for heaven’s sakes! Amie is only a couple of decades or so younger. I might expect this kind of mistaken ageism from a kid or a teen but not from someone in their mid-to-late twenties. Obviously, this character is blissfully unaware of retirement ages despite being employed herself.
Okay, mini rant over with. That was the only place in the book that pulled me up short and had me asking, WTF??? The rest of the read was brilliant. One final quote I loved: “Even if we can’t affect someone’s longevity, at least we can still impact their quality of life.”
This read gets 4.5 stars from me, rounded up to five for rating purposes. I connected with all the characters and found the plot entirely believable and plausible. I finished this read in two sittings, and some of the questions it raises will stick with me for a while.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.
I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …