Is The Measure by Nikki Erlick worth reading?
Throughout the novel, Nikki Erlick leaves the reader wondering about one single existential question: what measures our lives?
One day these boxes arrived with one word and one string for every person over age. By hitting humanity with a supernatural event, either god, the devil, or any other power, the author makes humanity start thinking about so many things at the same time. They wonder about their relationships, emotions, and commitments, their lives, and how they are wasting them or even living them.
Regardless of how weird and fantastical this event can be, Nikki Erlick uses these boxes as a metaphor for discrimination, or better said, they ignite discrimination through multiple flanks. Humanity tends to hate anything different, and short-stringers are no exception. Through different motives, selfish, romantic, or political, the author shows different reactions to how people will react if they knew how their lives will end. Would you end a relationship knowing that the one you love will die in a few years? Or would you stay until the end? What difference does it make if, in the end, we all might die, are my emotions linked to the uncertainty of death or its certainty?
As expected from a unique premise like this one, the author inspires herself in events that took place in history to add veracity to her story, just like Margaret Atwood did with The Handmaid’s Tale. Another important point is how politics can destroy the world through their corrupt and selfish actions. In the novel, one of the most despicable characters brings discrimination purposefully to gain power. To brainwash the minds of those that follow blindly and do not think twice. Discriminating against those that will live less is the same as discriminating against those that come from another country, speak another language, or are sexually diverse. As illogical as it seems, how impossible is it for this to happen… again?
Through the eyes of multiple characters and their different choices, Nikki Erlick questions human nature and how we react differently based on our lives experience, and once again choice, or the lack of it, becomes a catalyst for mayhem, discrimination, tyranny, and violation of human rights.
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