The Measure

Cori’s Pick: The Measure by Nikki Erlick

I don’t usually use other people’s words here, but the “charming and thought-provoking” endorsement from magazine giant Marie Claire for this new debut from Nikki Erlick are PRECISELY the right words.  Kudos Marie Claire, and thank you. 

One morning, no matter where you laid your head to rest, every person in the world receives a box.  The inscription reads the same for everyone, The measure of your life lies within, and inside is a literal string, be it short, long, or somewhere in between, that represents exactly how much life remains.  And so it begins, the chaos and never ending questions. Do you open your box?  Do you share what’s inside with your family and loved ones?  Will you have a long life, but in bad health? Do you change how you’ve been living your life?  Do you treat ‘short-stringers’ and ‘long-stringers’ differently?  The Measure introduces the fascinating premise of fate and then Erlick takes us for a ride, exploring possible outcomes as we follow the lives of eight characters.

For me, this read resulted in an intense exploration of the life I’m currently living while also trying to insert myself in the story, asking myself all of the same questions.  While this may seem heavy, the author somehow manages to add charm and a certain lightness to each character and their situation.  It is stunning that this, her debut novel, has so much depth and I have to point out that Nikki Erlick is still just in her twenties!

“I hear of these Americans, they say the strings have made them think about their lives. How do you say, their…”

“Priorities?” Maura offered.

“Si, si. Their priorities. But in Italy, I think we already knew. We already put the art first, the food first, the passion first,” she explained, a sweep of her arms encompassing the entire shop. “And we already put the family first. We did not need the strings to tell us what is most important.”

-The Measure

This one will (hopefully) make you think. And question. Do I take that risk? Should I tell them how I feel? Is this the life I’m meant to live? This is the perfect book club read, whether that is in a formal setting or a glass-of-wine-with-a-friend setting. There is so much to explore and digest, this isn’t one you’ll want to miss!