Bird Box (2014)
Author Josh Malerman took a possible horror trope- what if you can’t see- and turned it into an excellent harrowing thriller. Malorie is a young woman facing an unexpected pregnancy when the world starts to experience an apocalyptic disaster of people going mad once they see new creatures that have inexplicably appeared. With her family dead, she is able to make her way to a safe house where she joins other survivors who try to cope with this new world order.
While the book takes place in Malorie’s present day as she is trying to row to safety on a river with her two young children, her memories take us back to when the crisis started and continues through her travails with her housemates. The idea of having to blindfold yourself outside is terrifying, as her world constricts with little hope of salvation. While there were some problems with the narrative, especially in the timing of events regarding the birth scene, I was captivated by the entire book. I very much look forward to watching the movie next and comparing the two. (Aside- Sandra Bullock portrayed Malorie well in the Netflix movie, and it had a diverse cast. It changed up a few things but was a solid adaptation)
As a big fan of Bird Box, and pleased that it ended on an optimistic note, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Malorie but I’m glad I did. After a few years at the School for the Blind, chaos erupts and Malorie and her two children, Tom and Olympia, are on the run again. They happen unto an abandoned summer camp and make their home there for a decade, but their life there is interrupted by someone who brings them news of the outside world. The trio ventures out once they hear that Malorie’s parents might be alive and that there is a train that can take them northward. Tom and Olympia, now teens, have been kept safe by their mother and her many rules but are chaffing and want to be in the larger world. Tom, who is an inventor, learns of a town that has people who are trying to live with the creatures that have overtaken their world, and Olympia is hiding a huge secret from both her brother and mother. The idea of traveling 30 miles with a blindfold on and surrounded by creatures that will turn you mad if you see them, is horrifying, and things of course spiral out of control for them, even after finding the train. The conclusion was rushed, after a slow start, but it again ended optimistically with a chance for salvation for this family that preserved despite overwhelming odds.