The Measure – Nikki Erlick

It seems like any other day: You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined; pen pals finding refuge in the unknown; a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush; a doctor who cannot save himself; and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.

Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.

Book Information: Print length: 400 pages. Publisher: The Borough Press. Publication Date: 5 July 2022

Nikki Erlick

Nikki Erlick is a writer and editor whose work has appeared on the websites of New York magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Indagare Travel, BookTrib, and Verge 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 has lent her voice to CEOs, academics, and entrepreneurs. She graduated Harvard University summa cum laude and is a former editor of the Harvard Crimson. She earned a master’s degree in global thought from Columbia University. The Measure is her first novel.

I am delighted to introduce Ellen Devonport to Compulsive Readers as my new regular guest reviewer. Ellen will be reading and reviewing all the brilliant books that I don’t have time to read for the blogtours.

Ellen’s Review:

As a child I loved Greek mythology and the concept of The Fates; three old women who are charged with the destinies of all living beings, these destinies were represented by a string. Their names were Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (alloter) and Atropos (inflexible). Clotho spun the thread, Lachesis dispensed it and Atropos cut the thread (determing the person’s moment of death). Now imagine this thread arrives in a box on your doorstep – this is the premise of The Measure. All around the world, people aged 22 and over receive a wooden box with the inscription “the measure of your life lies within”. Inside the box is a length of string which represents their life span. Some people choose to open the box and look at their string, others throw them away unopened or keep them locked up without ever looking. 

I love a book that makes me think or opens up a discussion and The Measure definitely does that! I could not stop thinking about this book and what I would do. As a family we all decided we would open the box and live our life to the full regardless of the strings length. I’m not sure how easy that decision would be in real life.

The Measure gives us the perspective of several characters using short chapters. Hank is an ER doctor who has dealt with death his whole career but must now confront his own. Amie and Ben (my favourites) become pen pals where romance blossoms. Nina and Maura (one has a short string) must decide wether to marry and have children. Jack finds purpose to his life when his uncle (a presidential candidate) begins a hate campaign against “short stringers” attempting to change their rights.

The Measure would make a fantastic book club choice, there is so much to discuss! Highly recommended and now tell me – would you open the box…?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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