It’s been a smash hit Netflicks film but before that it was a book by American writer Josh Malerman. We review Bird Box.
Bird Box – the blurb
IF YOU’VE SEEN WHAT’S OUT THERE…IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE
Malorie raises the children the only way she can: indoors, with the doors locked, the curtains closed, and mattresses nailed over the windows.
The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall, but soon she will have to wake them and blindfold them.
Today they will risk everything. Today they will leave the house.
Don’t open your eyes
In this dystopian thriller we follow Malorie who lives in a house with two small children, strangely referred to as ‘Boy’ and ‘Girl’. We soon discover that all is not quite well. Why does she have the curtains closed during the daytime? Why does she need to wear a blindfold to go outside and why have the children never seen the sky?
As the timeline skips back we follow Malorie to the point where everything starts to go wrong. People are seeing things that apparently make them go crazy and kill themselves. The only answer seems to be, don’t go outside, don’t open your eyes.
Plodding yet gripping
I found the writing to be very ploddy and at times too simplistic – ‘Malorie went into the kitchen. She did the washing up. Tom came into the room. He counted cans’. That sort of thing. Yet the book does grip you and there are lots of ‘what was that noise?’ moments to keep the tension high. It’s a book you read in one session, totally hooked, yet at the end you put it down and say, ‘meh’.
There isn’t too much to spoil in this book as nothing is ever really resolved. The thing (creature?) causing the madness is never really explained. Let alone attacked or defeated. The ending is pretty much Malorie and the children (now with names) living in a commune for the blind – yep you still can’t open your eyes.
I also found the (double) birth scene a bit of an eye roll. I mean really, both at the same time? That whole section was very confusing as to who was where and doing what. This might have been what Malerman wanted to convey – complete chaos, yet to leave the reader confused at such an important part of the book was annoying.
What was better?
I haven’t watched the Netflicks film so I can’t rule whether the book is better or different. If you have, please let us know. I’m pleased I read it as there was so much hype around the film I felt like I was missing out. It had me hooked at the point of reading, but I won’t be rushing to read it again.
If you like your one sitting thrillers, try reading Gone by Leona Deakin.