Ahhhh….the age old question that sparks conversation all around the world…What would you do? Author Nikki Erlick presents a very thought provoking scenario for this very question. On an otherwise normal day, all around the world, every person aged 22 and above receives a little box at their house/dwelling/etc. Each one looks the same and has the same inscription, “The measure of your life lies within.” Would you open it?
The Measure by Nikki Erlick is a fascinating story that carefully weaves you into the lives of several different people. Some are “short stringers”, some are “long stringers”, and some choose to not find out! From the beginning she brings you in with her descriptive writing style that truly puts you in the middle of each scene. Follow along in my review as we discuss whether family relationships, politics, religion, government, etc. would change if we knew our lifeline ahead of time. *There are some great disscusion questions at the end of this post!
The Characters ~
- Nina – Editor, Maura’s girlfriend, Amie’s sister
- Maura – Nina’s girlfriend, member of support group
- Ben – Architect, member of support group
- Claire – Ben’s ex-girlfriend
- Deborah Caine – Managing Editor
- Amie – Nina’s younger sister
- Sean – Head of the support group
- Lea – Member of the support group
- Doc Hank – Member of the support group
- Chelsea – Member of the support group
- Carl – Member of the support group
- Nihal – Member of the support group
- Terrell – Member of the support group
- Sarah – Nina’s college roommate
- Jonathan Clarke – mass shooter
- Jack Hunter – From a family that has a strong military background
- Anothony Rollins – congressman/Presidential candidate and Jack’s uncle
- Katherine Rollins – Anthony’s wife and Jack’s aunt
- Grandpa Cal – Jack’s grandfather
- Javier – Jack’s roommate at the academy
- Dr. Anika Singh – fellow doctor with Hank
- Dr. Amelia Parkins – Presidential candidate
- Governor Russ – Presidential candidate
- Alice Harper – Presidential candidate
- Senator Wes Johnson Sr. – Presidential candidate
The Plot ~
The Tree of Life – we all have a spot that begins and ends in our family tree. This has been true since the beginning of time. If you are able to know when your time on earth will end, would you want to know? If so, why? Would you live your life differently if you knew it was shorter….or longer? Should people with short strings be treated differently than those with long strings? Should we force everyone to look…and if we did how does that affect our government as we now know it? Does your answer to any of these questions change if you were never given the chance to see your string (life as we currently know it?)
Nina & Maura ~
You instantly fall in love with these two women. The love they share is raw and deep. One wants to look at their strings and one does not. Once Maura decides she is doing it, Nina decides to follow along for the sake of continutity in their relationship. Do they both have the same length of strings?
Ben is an architecht that has recently separated from his girlfriend, Claire. He opens his box alone and finds himself deep in thought about his life. Unsure if he should share his string length with his parents, he decides to attend a support group.
One of the “third” group that chooses not to open her box. She is a teacher that gets to watch history play its course right in front of her young students. Some of her loved ones have opened theirs and she quickly starts seeing the effect it has on relationships….but is there still more for her to learn on a more personal level?
The Support Group ~
People from all walks of life find this support group to help them through the acceptance of the size of their strings and the effect it has on their lives. As they continue to meet week by week, they also discover things they may or may not have known about themselves by getting to care about the other members more intensely.
Anthony & Katherine ~
Katherine comes from a very respectable family that is honored for it’s long years of service in the military. Anthony has his sites set on becoming the next president. A perfect match?
The Other Presidential Candidates ~
Is it wise to use the length of your string as part of your campaign? Whether it is short or long there are ways to display that you can get the most done in your allotted time…or will that go against you in the end?
Jack Hunter ~
Jack is a guy that struggles because he doesn’t have the same desire as all of the men in his family have had before him. How can he use the length of his string to his advantage?
Javier was raised by parents that believe strongly in family values and supporting your country. He doesn’t have all of the financial benefits that his best friend, Jack, does.
The Measure by Nikki Erlick raises so many more questions than just how long do I have to live. She goes deeper in how people treat each other once they figure out their string lengths are different. But wait, doesn’t society do this already? We don’t have these strings and yet we still treat each other differently and many times unfairly. So does it really make a difference if we know how long we are going to live? Shouldn’t we just always focus on living a good life? Isn’t the better question, “How well do you live your life?”
Discussion Questions for The Measure by Nikki Erlick ~
- If you could know the length of your life, would you want to?
- The long stringers many times became more of a “daredevil” of such. What daredevil thing would you do?
- Short stringers went to support groups. Do you think you would do this or crawl in a hole ignoring everyone?
- If you were a short stringer, would you share secrets you had never shared before?
- Do you think doctors treat elderly and the very sick different than otherwise healthy patients? Do you think this would happen with short stringers vs. long stringers?
- Would it be important to you that the president you vote for was a long string?
- Should people with short strings get pregnant?
- Do you think Doc Hank would have jumped in front of the shooter even if he didn’t know the length of his string?
- Do you believe short stringers received their length because of something they have done wrong in life?
- Would you contemplate an “easier death” according to what you believe if you found your string to be short?
- Were you shocked by the car accident at the end of the book?
- With the death of 2 parents, it is common for an aunt/uncle to step in to parent the children. Is this any different if you knew the length of your life or not?
Have you read The Measure? If so, I would love to have a discussion with you as there is SO MUCH to talk about! Put your comments in the section below and let’s chat! If you haven’t read it….go get it now! You won’t be disappointed. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it was so well written and gave me so much to think about!
Here’s a link if you need it…
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Happy Reading ~