Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman


Publication: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Ecco
Pages: 262 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Mystery
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤

So I did the “bad bookworm thing” and watched the movie Bird Box before I read the book, but is that really such a bad thing? I obviously understand the importance of reading the book before the movie, because the book is often SO MUCH BETTER! But sometimes you can’t help it and sometimes the library holds are so long, you just have to go for it! For what it’s worth, I liked both of them, but let’s focus on my thoughts on the ink and paper copy.

Bird Box follows Malorie in the past and the present. In the past Malorie has just discovered she is pregnant while the apocalypse begins but she and everyone else don’t know by what, all they know is that when you see it, whatever it is, you hurt yourself and others. In the present Malorie takes her two four year old children down the river to a safe haven she heard of years before, but their destination is over forty-eight hours away down the river, and the three of them will be blind folded getting there, if they can survive the trip.

Bird Box is a unique and tense read that is unlike a lot of apocalypse narratives because most of what we learn is speculation. We are just as blind to what has happened to the world as any of the characters in the books and though theories are tossed around nothing is really settled on or discovered. But that’s because the key of the story isn’t about defeating whatever it is that causes people to go mad, it’s about survival and Malerman does an excellent job showing this. We see Malorie and the other survivors learning how to live and adapt in a world they can no longer look at, a world in which they have to change every aspect of their lives, every way they knew how to live into something new. I won’t deny that at times the characters were annoying and incredibly childish, but that’s what made it realistic. If you were thrown into the apocalypse and had to learn how to survive in a world where you couldn’t even see anymore, I’m sure it would be more than a little stressful and that a lot of us would be acting like children.

I wasn’t a huge fan with Malerman’s writing style, particularly how he wrote Malorie and I can’t really say why. Something just rubbed me the wrong way, made reading feel more like a chore. I found myself enjoying the boat ride chapters more than the past chapters, but the story was still intriguing and different enough from the movie at points that it kept me guessing.

Overall Bird Box is an excellent addition to the “surviving the end of the world” genre and one that is both terrifying and motivating, though I do wonder which of our senses authors/directors will make people lose next!



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