By: Josh Malerman
Malorie is trapped inside a house that doesn’t belong to her. Contact with the outside world has ceased completely. The phone doesn’t work, and no news plays on T.V.
Other than her two children, she hasn’t had contact with another human in 4 years.
When she goes outside to retrieve water from the well, she must wear a blindfold. If she doesn’t, she might see one of those things. One of those creatures. If she does, she knows exactly what will happen. She’s heard it happen to her friends and family. She will go mad. She will kill her children in a violent rage. Then, she will kill herself.
Death happens to anyone that sees those things, but Malorie knows she can’t stay in the house. There is somewhere to go. Somewhere safer. But, to get there, she must brave the perils of the new world that waits just outside her front door. A world that threatens to take her way the only thing she has left, her sanity.
If you read these book reviews regularly, then you know that I’m apparently not good at watching movies. No, I haven’t watched Bird Boxon Netflix…but I read the book! That’s something, right? Also, this book review will be short because I don’t want to spoil anything.
This novel is considered a work of speculative fiction. A look into the possible, horribly brutal future the human race has waiting for them. However, unlike Handmaid’s Tale, there is a paranormal aspect to this book. You will need to lend a suspension of disbelief to the story if you are going to find it to be at all realistic or horrifying. I was able to and I don’t normally like stories like this one.
Bird Box is great at creating a kind of existential dread. You want answers, but the book will only give you some. It doesn’t lay all its cards out on the table ruining the surprise. I wanted to keep reading it, and I was hooked almost as soon as I began.
The chapters come packaged in bite-sized chunks. Much like with the one-square Hershey’s candies, I sunk my teeth in and came out several hours later realizing I burned through half the finely wrapped contents in one sitting. Except when you do that with a book you don’t come out with a sugar high and a pile of self-loathing.
The story was painfully palpable despite the mysterious “creatures” that lurk within that universe. The relationships, the mental anguish, the sorrow of the characters…all of that, it seems, is so true to life. I can’t say it’s a favorite novel since I don’t think I will read it again, but Josh Malerman definitely did an exceptional job with the writing and flow. This book is worth more than just a look.
Overall rating: 4