The Measure

Nikki Erlick

Quick Synopsis

A debut novel in which the world awakes to a box at the doorstep of every adult. Inside the box is a string that correlates to the length of your life. The story follows eight ordinary people who must make the choice whether to open the box and live with the consequences.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.

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, and invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.

Book Review

The Measure follows eight people after they, like the rest of the world, receive a box containing a string that designates their lifespan. The book explores how these people’s lives and relationships change as a result of knowing the length of their lives or choosing not to know at all.

Without a doubt, The Measure is based upon a very inventive and intriguing concept. The premise is thought-provoking and elicits personal reflection by readers. It requires you to confront your own mortality as well as the mortality of those you love. If I rated the concept alone, it would be an A+ or five stars.

Despite the unique premise, The Measure ended up to be being a largely character-focused book. I was a bit surprised by this, but I found it still contained a good amount of plot. If you go in expecting a book that really delves into where the mysterious boxes came from and the social, political, and economic consequences of their arrival, you will be disappointed. Erlick does describe some of the societal fallout, primarily in relation to the characters. So there is some social commentary, although it is not a main focus.

I found that The Measure‘s characters were not particularly memorable or interesting. They were all of similar age as well. I think I would have preferred a more diverse cast to follow. However, where The Measure was really lacking was emotion. There was no real connection to the characters since they did not share their feelings or inner thoughts. As a result, I felt a lot of distance from the characters, like they were just people I passed on the street. Based upon the praise this book has received, I was really expecting an emotionally moving and impactful novel. Yet, the only emotions it sparked were those in relation to my thoughts about my life and actions if I were in the same situation.

Furthermore, when all of the characters lives intertwined at the end, it was a bit of a let down. I feel like it was cliched, unnecessary, and a bit forced at that point. (I also do not think this is a spoiler as it is pretty apparent that Erlick heads in this direction early on.)

It took me several days to write a review for this book, because I was left unsure of how much I actually liked the book, how much my expectations played into it, etc. Consequently, I really waivered as to how I should rate it.

Overall, I found The Measure to be solid debut novel with a fascinating premise. However, I wish the characters and their development were as strong as the premise. I would still recommend this book but suggest that you temper your expectations. I am looking forward to see what Erlick writes next. I think she has a lot of potential as an author.


Overall Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Character Development

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Measure


Contemporary Fiction;
Magical Realism

Publication Date
June 28, 2022


Read with Jenna Selection

Storygraph Rating
4.20 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.08 stars

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