The Measure” by Nikki Erlick

Review by Seana Zimmer, adult services library assistant at the Hillsborough branch

A mysterious wooden box appears on every adult’s doorstep around the world. Would you open yours? The curious folks discover an indestructible piece of string inside. The length of their life. Now what??

The reader follows the lives of a handful of people as they choose to open their boxes or not. The string affects choices people make regarding their relationships, employment, health, and more. The sign on the closed storefront saying “Gone Fishing” is not just a cliche anymore.

The Measure” also focuses on how the world reacts to these strings. People frequently find ways to define “us” and “them”, and the new world reflects this tendency. The source of the boxes may be spiritual, conspiratorial, or even extraterrestrial. National consciousness and cultural values play out across the world on how countries deal with this phenomenon, just as we’ve seen nations tackle Covid-19 differently.

If your book club had difficulties with the suicide-based beginning to “The Midnight Library,” this would be a good alternative to consider. If you want to explore the more global focus of our choices and our governments’ choices, this book will prompt some great discussions.