The Measure exists in a world where adults 22 and older find a box on their doorstep that contains a string that shows the length of their life. The book follows a group of loosely interconnected people Gary Marshall style as they reckon with the new reality.
Me and Jenna Bush about to fight.
I love a good high-concept “book club” novel so I went into this book with high hopes, but found it ultimately disappointing.
The book started out strong for me as we see how the world reckons with the existential question of ‘What you would do if you could know how long you’d live ?’ Some choose to look at their strings while others throw them away. People with long strings suddenly no longer fear taking risks while short stringers form support groups based on how many years they have left.
Then the book slowly turns into a deeply uninteresting and mealy-mouthed metaphor for marginalization. People with short strings are seen as a threat and discrimination forms that mirror a lot of what happens to people of color, gay and/or disabled people IRL. But the thing is, there are characters of color and gay characters in the story and I don’t think Elrick had the range to contend with the intersections of existing prejudices and this new form of prejudice. This book acts like workplace discrimination and people protesting for their rights is a new thing ?
I think there is a certain segment that will find this book poignant and revealing about how quickly your identity can be criminalized but if you already understand that, the book ends up with nothing to say.
I’ve been DNFing a lot lately but I kept going with this book because Julia Whelan narrates. She truly is such a solid narrator but, lol, she keeps steering me wrong.