Book Review – Bird Box

When the apocalypse comes, cover your eyes.

Bird Box is the story about Malorie’s struggle with survival and is told in dual timelines. The story weaves in and out of the history of what lead up to her taking a boat down the river (hopefully to safety) with two small children in tow, and what happens during that terrifying trip as they make their way to their destination. The truly horrible part though, is that Malorie and her children must manage to make this trip without the ability to see. Everything they do outside, they do blindfolded and Malorie has not seen the outside world in over 4 years. They must cover their eyes because out in the world they can no longer look at, lurks an unknown entity that if seen, cause the looker to be driven insane. These people driven mad turn violent and eventually kill themselves, if not a few others along the way. Being blindfolded is a protection and it doesn’t seem like these unseen things will harm a person who cannot see them.

Josh Malerman does a phenomenal job showing us how terrifying the world in Bird Box is without having to actually show us anything. Using the narrator’s own ideas of what they are experiencing with their senses other than sight adds a layer of suspense to the horrible things we think are going on. It would be so hard not to take off the blindfold and look. And, the things that the characters do see in the aftermath of terrible occurrences, are questionably explained and mostly make no sense, which adds to the unreliableness of the narrators, making the story even more interesting. Equally terrifying to the unseen monsters out in the world is the way that Malorie had to treat her children as they grow up. I could not imagine having to do what she did to her children (it’s okay, she doesn’t blind them or anything like that, they are strong kids because of what she’s had to do).

I have not seen the movie adaptation, so I went into this one knowing very little about it, and I will say that the book was fabulous… and I won’t watch the movie. It’ll be too scary! This story was full of anxiety, suspense, and I found it to be extremely captivating. I could not put it down. I don’t know if I’ll read the second book because this one was nearly perfect. The only thing I thought could have been better done was the very end. I wish we’d have learned more about what followed (I assume its in the second book but again, I don’t know I’ll pick it up, at least not just yet).

Trigger Warning: A big storyline involves using seeing-eye dogs, three of which are killed. However, these deaths are not overly graphic and the protagonist doesn’t actually see it happen (although she hears it and does find the bodies). These dogs were never abused, were well loved, and they died protecting their people. I’m usually extremely sensitive to this kind of stuff, but this was well done, given the situation.

Overall, I give it a 4 out of 5.

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