Hey, you know what’s a good idea? Read a disturbing, scary piece of fiction right after reading a disturbing piece of realistic fiction. Because why not make yourself feel creeped out in a different way?
I have no idea why I added Bird Box to my TBR list. A few friends reviewed it over on Goodreads and they all said it was creepy and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to add it. And having a new Kindle Paperwhite means instant downloads. The title was available, and here we are.
Some four years and nine months ago, something arrived. Appeared? Was created? It started out as a few freaky stories coming out of Russia. And then more reports. Things started happening in the States. Monthly, then weekly, and then the news couldn’t keep up with it all.
No one knew what it was because no one survived to tell what they saw. One look and you go mad. Violently mad. Sometimes a person would kill those around them in gruesome and violent ways. People who saw always ended up killing themselves in equally horrific ways. And people who lived? What measures do you take to prevent seeing? Do you destroy yourself in the hope of saving loved ones?
What was out there?
People stayed inside, covering windows and doors with blankets, plywood, anything they could find. Some recognized what was happening and stockpiled food.
After her sister accidentally sees, Malorie desperately drives to a rumored safe house without once looking up. But are these things in the sky?
Six months pregnant, the members take her in and we wait for something to happen. People test theories and it leads to more violent madness. Food is counted. Water drawn blind from a well near the river.
Outside means blindfolds, counted steps and sounds.
The book is claustrophobic with its darkness. Everything is told via sounds and scents and terrified moments of reaching out to feel.
What is out there? Animal? Human? Other? Is it watching when you leave the house to count your steps to draw water? Does it stand next to you when you slip apples to the birds? What happens if the humans gathered together to survive grow suspicious of each other and panic at the unknown?
The structure of this book is solid. Each chapter goes back and forth from when things first started to happen to Malorie’s present time. We know she was just pregnant when people began to stay inside. We know she now has two four year olds, trained from birth to keep their eyes closed and navigate by sound. She is alone, but she wasn’t always alone.
And she has an escape, but she doesn’t know if it’s real.
Does she take the two children, count her steps to a boat that might not be in the river? Blindfolds on, does she push off and row, trusting that saviors are real? What will they hear? Will someone find them?
Yet again, I managed to pick a book that resulted in physical tension. I realized I was clenching my jaw. You’re blind reading this book and forced to trust two four year old children who are better listeners than Malorie can be.
The movement down the river is constant, and yet there are things on the banks that could pull them in.
And what is being seen? What are they? This is the most horrific part for me… the not knowing.
Fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road will be on board with this one. People with kids… not so much.