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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

The Measure

Hi Bookish Friends - I made this mock trailer to accompany my review today. Hope you enjoy!

One day, everyone in the world aged 22 and older, receives a small wooden chest with their name and the inscription "The measure of your life lies within" on it, with a string inside. The CDC determines that the length of the string correlates with the length of one’s life, and the world is catapulted into emotional chaos.

“The weight of this revelation, this once-unthinkable knowledge continued to solidify in people’s hearts and minds….Some wanted to travel, to live on the beach, to spend time with their children, to paint and to sing and to write and to dance. Others dove into an abyss of anger, envy, and violence.”

Some people open their boxes right away, some choose to not open them, some have their boxes opened by others without their permission, and many agonize over whether or not they should open their box.

Author Nikki Erlick tells the story primarily through the experiences of eight American characters: A couple who contemplate marriage when they find their string sizes are very different, a teacher who chooses not to open her box, an architect whose fiancé leaves him because of his short string, two army cadets who pretend to have each other’s strings, a doctor who leaves medicine because he can’t save those with short strings, and a presidential candidate who stirs up prejudice against “short-stringers” for his own political gains.

The Measure begs the question, what would you do if you could know when you will die? The book is philosophical in a way that feels authentic and true to how such an experience would play out if it were to actually happen; it’s not unlike the political polarization that occurred in the U.S. with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the subject of impending death is never light, The Measure brings in much that is wise, loving, fun and beautiful about living each day mindfully, and making the very best of one’s life. I especially enjoyed the Audiobook, which was narrated by the great Julia Whelan.

Hardcover 368 pages; Audiobook 11 hours


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