Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Okay folks, I know I'm seriously late coming to this party... but I'm glad I made it! The well on this one runs deep!
I was pleasantly surprised by this book that has been receiving so much hype. In my experience, books that have a "clan" following don't always meet with the expectations set before them. I'm pleased that this was not the case with "Bird Box".
The author does a superb job of weaving in and out of the story, past to present, and back again. By the end of the story, I felt as if I really knew these characters and could feel their pain, frustration, fear, and tenacity. By the last page, they were real to me... as real as the creature... which I'll get to in a minute.
Malerman does an excellent job with what I call "sensorial" writing. Every little part of how we engage in experience was utilized well on these pages. Every sense... sight, and the lack of it; sound, especially sound; and touch were all heightened because due to his spectacular use of vocabulary, and in some places, the lack of it, as in his decision regarding naming the children. The tears of the characters could be felt on my cheeks, the trembling heartbeat could be felt in my chest. This was a thriller that scared me in new ways. The ending held a punch I wasn't expecting, and it resonated deep within my chest cavity when I finally was able to visualize the future for them all.
My only frustration with this book, and I'm sure it is shared by many readers... and I'm absolutely certain our frustration makes the author quite pleased... the creatures. I needed more, wanted more, expected more, especially at the end. The fact that these details were hidden from us was tantalizing and exasperating all at once. And it made for GREAT storytelling!
After reading the book, I sat down to watch the film on Netflix. I must say, I'm very happy that I waited until after I read the book, and didn't fall into the film's advertising ploy. It's been my experience that most books are far better than their film counterparts, and this one is no exception. I understand why they had to present it in the way that they did, but the dramatic lack of details that the book so richly delivered, left me irritated. The cast did a fabulous job bringing Malerman's work to screen, but I think that the time constraints of the film industry made it impossible for the depth of this story to truly be told. So, if you haven't already seen the film, don't... at least not until you read the book first. You'll be happy you waited.
I've heard rumors of a sequel... I hope that Malerman chooses to write a prequel, instead. There's so much about the creatures that I'd like to know, along with the backstory of how it all began. I think there's a super-creepy origin story waiting to be told here, and I hope he brings it to us. A sequel would be nice, too... the story waiting to be told of what comes next would, I'm sure, be just as tantalizing. But personally, I'm more interested in the history of it all right now. :-)
Thank you, Mr. Malerman. I look forward to discovering the rest of your work.
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