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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Measure by Nikki Erlick

In Erlick's debut novel, each adult in the world can know the length of their life if they choose to. The story's turns may not feel like a surprise, but the exploration of mortality, what makes a life worth living, and undying love are fascinating.


The measure of your life lies within.

In Nikki Erlick's debut novel, one morning, each adult around the world receives a mysterious box with an inscription on the outside reading "The measure of your life lies within" and a string inside it.

The source of the boxes is unknown, but it quickly becomes clear that each person's string length correlates to the number of years the recipient will be alive.

Some choose not to look into their boxes at all, while others use the knowledge of their short strings as excuses to act without the same consequences as before. Some with long strings question the participation of "short stringers" in delicate jobs; some couples break up, or rush to marry, or prematurely mourn the upcoming loss of their love; and the government attempts to force the sharing of string length and to manipulate the information for its own use.

You may not be surprised by any of the turns each storyline takes here, but the string dilemma leads to an examination of mortality, morality and judgment, the evaluation of the true meaning of a life, and more. I found these explorations the most compelling part of the story by far.

I listened to The Measure as an audiobook.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

The Measure is Nikki Erlick's first book.

If you're interested in books that explore mortality, you might like the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Powerful Memoirs about Facing Mortality and Six More Powerful Books about Facing Mortality.

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