Title: Bird Box
Author : Josh Malerman
Publication Date: 05/13/14
Amazon ♦ Goodreads ♦ Book Depository ♦ Barnes & Noble
“How can she expect her children to dream as big as the stars if they can’t lift their heads to gaze upon them?”
Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, 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 remains, 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’s 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. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆
So this was one of those backwards discoveries for me, where I had no idea this fantastic book existed until I saw the trailer for the Netflix film that is being released. The trailer was SO intense and looked so good… so I looked it up on YouTube to show my husband. In the comments I noticed someone chiming in, saying that they loved the novel…. So down the Goodreads rabbit hole I went!
I am SO glad that I stumbled upon this novel, especially considering there is a film adaptation releasing. I always prefer to read the novel first when it’s something that is interesting to me.
This was so INTENSE and suspenseful. I’ve always loved the post-apoc genre and this title had such a unique spin on it. It’s a leans a little sci-fi/horror heavy on the cause of the catastrophe that has struck Earth (more so than the plague-type illnesses you see in some post-apoc titles which are a bit more realistic and reasonable), but I love that aspect! And I love the survivalist journeys that come along with titles in this genre.
First off– the way in which the author chose to tell the story was amazing. You flip back and forth between past and present, both from Malorie’s point of view. In the present scenes, which really only span the events of one day, Malorie is planning an escape down the river in an attempt to further their chances of survival and finding refuge. Her behavior and internal dialogue in the present-tense makes you constantly wonder what it was that shaped her situation into what is currently is— which is where the past scenes come into play. The scenes from the past cover multiple years and pack SO much action and important information into each little flashback. It was such a fun parallel of the two timelines and really intensified the speed at which I found myself reading.
All of the characters had a decent amount of depth to them and I became quickly attached to several of them. But the experience that Malorie, our main character, had was so intense for me! Being a mother myself, I could really relate to her experiences, emotions, and reactions to the need for survival. I was able to put myself into her shoes so easily and I think that’s what kept me page-flipping at such a rapid pace!
To know that you have children (infants!) that you are responsible for in a world that is dominated by such an atmosphere of fear and strict rules that are followed for survival–I can’t imagine the vulnerability that comes along with that. Malorie was such a bad ass, despite her fear, and did everything in her power to train these children to be survivors in this scary place that was now the world.
If you somehow missed this 2014 release like I did, you absolutely have to read it–especially if this is a genre that you are typically drawn to! I was on the EDGE OF MY SEAT the entire novel and I was honestly sad to see it end. I really wanted to continue my journey alongside the characters and continue to see where this horrific world took them!
Trigger Warnings (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS): suicide, gore, death of a family member, child abuse (?)