Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Release: February 10, 2015
Something is out there . . .
Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?
Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?
I have slept on this, I have let it marinate, and I’m still confused. But let’s go.
In Bird Box, we meet Malorie. In the beginning, she was a skeptic. Malorie didn’t believe her sister Shannon when the news reported killings and suicides, people driven mad from the mere sight of something. As Shannon blanketed the windows, Malorie was more worried about her pregnancy. But when Shannon killed herself because she saw something, Malorie knew she needed help herself. So Malorie answers an ad in an old newspaper, seeking shelter with people who prepared themselves. Soon, she’s joined by another pregnant woman and a house filled with people who want to survive. Meanwhile, in the present, Malorie takes her two children up river, blindfolded, seeking refuge in a safe place she hasn’t heard from in three years. She wants to open her eyes and see the sights because she misses the world but she wants a safe place for her kids to grow. After training her children to listen better than most, she sets on her twenty mile row up the river, passing the creatures she hasn’t seen.
I heard of this book from “All the Books!” and wanted to read it because it was an interesting premise. It’s a world where using sight can destroy you. So you train your senses to be better. When that doesn’t work, do you live in fear or learn to survive?
This is a book I opened expecting resolution and answers and I have left this book confused with more questions. Oddly, though, it’s a good confusion.
Josh Malerman’s writing is simple and descriptive. It’s easy to follow, it’s easy to understand, and it made me think. There were moments that I could picture easily, as if I were there, and there were moments that left me in darkness because that was the intent.
I only thought it would be scarier. The descriptions were terrifying but there wasn’t as much gore as I was expecting.
But there is fear here! To me, it was like a childhood fear of the dark. You don’t know what’s there and it’s terrifying, you never want to leave the covers of your bed. This feels the same–you don’t know what’s there, you don’t want to look, you’re scared. This book is bringing my childhood fears to light and as much as I don’t want to like that, it makes it so much more relatable.
All I want is an epilogue of some sort. I want resolution. Then I should be able to sleep at night.