Sometimes, there are things in the world that our minds cannot handle. Things that we simply cannot comprehend. The mere thought can drive us to madness. Suicide. Mayhem.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman is all about adapting to a changing world. Surviving an apocalyptic event means changing all the rules of how to survive ominous times.
Malorie and the other inhabitants of a “safe house” must blindly find a new way to live when a strange phenomenon sends the whole world behind locked doors and covered windows. Based on early news reports, people are going insane from the mere sight of something unknown. The best line of defense seems to be to simply not look, but for how long?
Using other senses and teamwork, the fateful companions develop processes to meet their daily needs and also keep fear at bay. Nevertheless, they are very aware that they cannot survive this way forever. The characters give us the contrast of prospectives between the eternal optimists (Tom) and the pragmatic realists (Don). The hopeful and the intellectual. Ingenuity and idleness.
Deeper than studying how strangers interact to form social rules in order to maintain some symbols of the old world order, two characters are also faced with birthing children months after being thrust into this new life of visual isolation. Can you be a good parent if you knowingly bring a child into a world of darkness? How do you raise children to be blind to evil, but still nurture their authentic sense of discovery? Can you teach them to fill in what they can’t see? Can you trust that they will never rebel and look at forbidden things?
Fuzz Take Aways
I wanted to read something that would kick off my spooky reading month. I asked the librarian for a suggestion and Bird Box was one of her top picks. She told me that she found that it was either a hit or a miss. I am glad that I have be it a read!
I found the book to be a real page turner! The chapters are fairly short, but cover each thought or dilemma in a concise way. The transition between the past and present was smooth and well connected. It did read to some degree like young adult fiction, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think the story is entertaining and thought provoking enough to reach both a young adult and adult audience.
I liked that the main character, Malorie, draws off of her experiences with Tom and Don to navigate the emotionally and physically dangerous waters towards a safer existence. That struggle between our faith that things will workout and our reasoning of all the ways things can go wrong is represented in the supporting characters.
Malorie’s dilemma was also a gentle reminder that we have to let go of certain perceptions, because their usefulness has simply expired. Previous circumstances required her to believe that what she could not see could not hurt her. Staying blind to facts can present its own dangers. The whole time, I wondered if she would be able to take the blinders off to see a new future for her and the children? It was worth finding out!
4 Star – I really enjoyed the book. I pulled an all-nighter, but there were a few small things that kept it from being outstanding. A very good read!
Recommendation: Get this book!
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