” It Is Not The Years In Your Life That Count, It Is The Life In Your Years.”
Would you want to know how many years you had left before you die?
Everyone worldwide over the age of 22 receives a box with a string that indicates how many years they have left. Who sent them? How? Why? This borders on sci-fi, but the focus is not on the how or why but on a group of people and how this knowledge affects their lives. Maybe it’s the nurse in me but I felt their pain and sympathized with their untenable situation.
If you knew you had little time left would you make different choices? Would you hire or promote a short stringer? Would you elect a short stringer to office? Imagine if Abraham Lincoln lost the election due to his short string status. What about all the greats of history and the arts whose lives were short but impactful? Would they have left an impact if they were discriminated against for being a short-stringer?
Would you marry a short stringer? Date one? Have children? Do you open your box or would you rather not know? If you open your box do you tell your loved ones?
What about discrimination, not just in the workplace or your private lives, but with insurance companies? What if a short stringer is diagnosed with cancer? Arrives in the ER after an accident? Should resources be used to treat them? What about soldiers serving in the military?
Inevitably, some people deal with their new knowledge honorably, while others go off the deep end. Discrimination rears it’s ugly head. Relationships change. How do you manage life’s risks if you know your string status?
How do people react to the knowledge of their status? Elation at seeing a long string vs despair with a short one? What if you are a long stringer but your spouse is a short stringer? This knowledge has the ability to bring out the worst in people, and the best.
This sounds as if it could be a depressing read, but it is not. The tone is hopeful. In the end, I found this poignant story touched on all my emotions. I was invested in the lives of these characters as I cheered on their successes and mourned their losses. It made me laugh, and it made me cry.
I read a lot and while I enjoy many, in the end they are forgettable. This is not one of those books. It is a creative and thought-provoking debut that will be on my 2022 favorites. It would make an excellent book club selection.
Who among us knows how long we have? Would I open my box? No. Shouldn’t we all make the most of every moment of this precious life, regardless of how many years we have? Perhaps we should all contemplate our own mortality and live every day as if our string was short.
- The Audiobook was narrated by Julia Whelan who did an excellent job, as always.
- this was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce.
“Aren’t there just some things in this world that can’t be explained by facts or science?”
Wow! What a story!
Powerful, moving, reality, and one of the best books I have read this year.
In The Measure by the talented new author, Nikki Erlick, one encounters eight people on life’s journey. Like the rest of the world they have received a box that contains a string that can’t be destroyed, for it is the length that your life will last and these particular people have to live with a destiny they already know.
Of course, we know that not a one of us escapes death, quite a sobering thought indeed, but the when stays hidden, mostly in fear of what’s to come. How these eight handle the knowledge of the end, is the gist of the story told with compassion and empathy. There is a plethora of emotions, feeling, and reality, that one can’t help being drawn into the story as we too, may not have a box with a string but in reality, we do.
One can’t help but reflect on whether they would open the box containing either a long or short future. It’s like that question of would you want to know the day of your death? Would your life change because of that awareness and would, as the author postulates, that we might live a better life, one lacking hatred, being linked into groups that are detested in the news and other social media outlets. Look around us now are we not living what this book puts forth? Are we appreciative of just being alive, of having family and friend, of a beautiful day opening before us, or are we being taught to live in fear, afraid of color, race, creed, of belief in a governing system that right now seems inept and unable to see good?
This author so mimics our lives and our world that the book touches us in a way that others do not. It enjoins us to practice human emotions like empathy, joy, and happiness and eliminate those who try to place us in states of anxiety and fear.
I can’t begin to explain the impact this story had on this reader and am surprised it hasn’t shot up into best seller status. The Measure is our lives, it is where we are, it is how we can change our view of our world while embracing the good within us. Definitely recommend this stellar book from a first time author.
Jan and I were blown away with this powerful insightful look into how we live our lives. This is truly us, creatures who need to enjoy their time on earth and be grateful for that time every day.