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Bird Box

by Josh Malerman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bird Box (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6702334,574 (3.84)175
Something is out there . . . Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat'blindfolded'with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster' Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey'a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motley group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside'and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted' Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman's breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.… (more)
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English (226)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (228)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
This was such... an ok read. It wasn't bad and it wasn't that good either.
The idea was interesting, but I didn't find it scary and I didn't care about the characters. Therefore, I didn't care about what was going to happen to them. It had a few interesting moments, but it still didn't make me feel anything.
I admit that I decided to read this because I wanted to watch the movie everyone was raving about. I read this in the beginning of January and I still haven't watched that movie. This book just left me wondering why do I always do this to myself. ( )
  elderlingfae | Aug 11, 2022 |
Hear me out first, because I feel like the book everyone else is talking about is not the book I read.

Bird Box is told horribly out of order, like the author shuffled the script and the editor and company just ran with it. I'm not joking. We have things like the dog going mad and is trying to hurt people in one of the very latest chapters -each chapter goes past, present, past, present in an alternating order- and then in a later one the dog is alive and they're pondering if animals can go mad too. The dog is a mess of things as well.
For example, these dogs are implied to have gone outside with them as seeing eye dogs for months and to have never seen anything to induce madness? But suddenly one day they do?
How's that work when humans can't even look outside for longer than thirty seconds or watch an hour of film footage or see a reflection? So every animal is doomed but dogs take a while? What?
A great example of this order issue, is the next to final chapter is the duel pregnancy, when the opening is her with two kids! Her focusing on her two kids. It's not hard to figure out given the whole book goes on about where the kids come from. But why should the almost-last-chapter hype up will the kids live or die? Why is this suddenly stakes? It's not.

We actually treat their deaths very roughly, too. Tom, our best guy is just walked past and she mistakes him for a bag of something, and that's it. Tom is dead.

Oh, and I left out this scene, this one really got me. So near the end, during the duel pregnancy, Olympia goes mad. So she's chewing the baby's cord in half. This is focused on. Olympia goes out the window and is then regarded as HANGING BY A CORD. But there's no cord except the UMBILICAL CORD. And Gary is marveling and shocked. A normal cord wouldn't be shocking. Malerman really wrote an UMBILICAL CORD can sustain the weight of a full-grown woman. And that's scary? My roommate lost it at that scene. I was bewildered.

Another thing is we're repeatedly reminded these people are skin and bone, reek to hell, are filthy. Yet they survive pregnancy and walk around just after(don't touch me with adrenaline), and they're not infected or emaciated and bleeding out to death? I know Olympia chucks herself like an empty bottle, but the state they're written to be in, they shouldn't be able to kill a dog by smashing it into a wall or even kill each other.

I'm trying to be as thorough here as I possibly can. A great example is we have chapters of Malorie alone and raising the kids in between chapters where everyone else is alive. It tells us at every turn they're going to die. Remind me why I care if they do when they're already dead in most of the book?

--

I hope a PDF with all the flashback chapters in order exists, because if this was ordered, it would be a less whiplash read. In fact, put in order this book would almost be a four-star read. But how it's presented is horribly jarring and not in the "oooh scary" way we want.


Malerman wrote about utter hopelessness and un-survivable world when he wrote all animals can be affected and are killing themselves. This means the ecosystem is fucked, there is no coming back. Certain plants won't grow, and certain food sources are dead. There's no possible way gardening can sustain them.
He's unknowingly written a more impossible for people to live in the situation than books and films like TWD series ever have. At least those people have the animals immune and able to be caught and eaten. From every angle of botany, ecology, even basic human diet, these people are not sustainable. They lack basic food, they cannot possibly grow enough in any garden to churn out through dead seasons like fall and winter without a working greenhouse. They're all covered in so much grime and filth they can't even take a shower and can barely consistently obtain water. Plus they're trapped. This is scary! I'll admit it's scary!
But it's also utterly doomed.
Hopeless.
There is nothing after this.
Adding in animals can go mad just blows the entire plot into smithereens and ruins all the hope there was for farming or such.

I know there's a sequel(book, not film yet), and I will be touching upon it, but it's twelve years later and everything's worse. How is there any life at all when things just randomly snap or lose their mind Monday-to-Friday?

Top that all off with the idea that people in this state of emaciation are able to cut their eyeballs out with who knows what that's not clean and they're barely able to grow hair, barely able to have normal skin that isn't bloody, pale, or discoloured? There are areas around their faces that when they get infected, they will die. The blind people may have some medicine, but they definitely do not have enough to stave off massive infections.

Malorie arrives nearly hallucinating, out of her mind and delirious from her shoulder wound and other wounds. She's barely alive and believes she is dying. How she makes it into a sequel is anyone's guess because the description sounds almost to the bone and oozing and she's soaked in piss and vomit which can't be good for the other wounds.

Now as for the ending.

It's not one.

Tom's name passes on to Malorie's son and Olympia's name passes on to her daughter. This is morally a mess because of Malorie's emotional feelings being likely projected through naming them that way, and now the narrative says "Tom" in memories Malorie has, we think of Tom, her son. Olympia too suffers this fate. With the movie implying a romance between Tom and Malorie, it makes naming one's son after their lover a bit odd. What is meant to be a sweet gesture only confuses the narrative. We now have two Toms and two Olympias in the writing and that gets very confusing. It's the ending, but I say this as a prediction for the second book too.

Would I ever read Bird Box again? No. Would I recommend it? No.

Was it offensive, horrible, or trash, eh. It's just another book, fairly unremarkable and there.

--

I'm amazed that Netflix(2018 Netflix, not modern day of course) managed. To those people who took this book apart and put it back in order, then made the movie, you worked way too hard and salvaged so many scenes. Made Tom into a great character, and made his death a little more meaningful. I don't think the book would surge back into popularity without the movie. It's not a great movie, but it definitely has cohesion over the book.

2.5 stars. I don't hate it.
It's worth reading once, but if you can find it all in order, it's definitely worth reading. ( )
  Yolken | Aug 5, 2022 |
Another book I didn't want to put down until I finished. It was very gripping and not like anything I had read before. While it has some flaws (what book doesn't) I absolutely loved it.

I agree with some of the reviews below about Don, Gary, and Rick not really being well developed enough and thrown in there merely to propel the story along. I would have liked to care more about them; I think you have to remember that it was also told from Malorie's POV and so we learn all that Malorie herself would know about them. Also, the ending - while I don't feel it was a cop-out or too sudden - didn't quite have the impact that it should have. I didn't feel what Malorie should have been feeling at finally getting to the compound and more social safety. I felt that this would also mean a whole different bunch of problems for her and her children that only a sequel (not that I want or need one) could explain. I did like how the entire book was told back and forth between flashbacks and present. It made the climax seem more dramatic.

Overall, a real thriller that I will recommend to fans of dystopian literature and/or Joe Hill, as I feel they have similar styles and tones. ( )
  brittaniethekid | Jul 7, 2022 |
2019 review: Two stars. Aaaand this is another "the creepy charm wore off" review. This is the fourth in a row or so, and I'm not even disappointed anymore. I'm mildly irritated and wondering why I'm not scared anymore. For awhile, this was the scariest book I'd ever read and I recommended it every time any opportunity arose. Now, this was my fourth time reading it and--not scary. Sigh. Since the creepy charm has worn off, this just seemed--like a lot of Malorie just thinking to herself and observing, mostly sightlessly, the world around her. The slow dread is good. The children are written horribly unrealistically, and I was annoyed by that. Had they been realistic, though, the plot would have fallen apart. Why did she wait four whole years? Suddenly I was so annoyed. I didn't bother to see the movie, and now that I've read the book again, I'm irritated at both the book and the movie for different reasons. Movie trailer's still awesome. A disability activist asked a simple question: "Wouldn't 'Bird Box' be so much more interesting if it were told from the POV from a person who was already blind, and trying to survive this world?" and I knew I'd never read the book the same again. It would have been -waaaay- more interesting. The characters would have gotten things done a lot faster and been more adventurous. They wouldn't have waited four years for fog. And seriously, heavy morning fog happens more often than four years. Why didn't she name the kids before? Why was that in the end of the book? Malorie kind of seems like an abusive parent, but yeah, a lot of it was done for the kids' survival, but. And how did she feed, clothe, and wipe two babies for four whole years when there was so little supplies for herself? Why did she wait so long? Reading it this time, I was irritated that she waited so long, and I had no patience for her shit. How did the babies survive, anyway? They--just--I--sigh. And the paperback cover of the rotary phone with a giant sticker of "THIS IS A NETFLIX MOVIE WHEEEEE" is pretentious and I hate it. The original cover is much more tasteful.

11/26/2016 Five stars. ** spoiler alert ** It could have been dull, boring and disjointed. The writer was so talented, I was hooked all the way through. Memories of the character's past were alternated with chapters explaining the present. The pacing worked wonderfully, each character had different twists in their lives, and the ending warmed my heart and blew my mind. This is a psychological thriller where if you can see anything, you become extremely violent towards yourself or others, so people blindfold themselves and their children to survive. The book explained this in ways that weren't Hollywood-gory, which I appreciated. Every chapter made my heart beat a little harder, made me perspire a little more. I don't remember what chapter it was, but at one point I almost screamed. The character lives with roommates who train her to protect herself, and there's believable dynamics between everybody. Boredom alternates with fear for them all. From the way the story was set up, I at first thought the roommates all died one by one. The scene where the roommates' deaths occurred could have been cheesy, but oh, it was so well written. I was terrified for everybody and the passage sticks in my head even now. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 21, 2022 |
Hear me out first, because I feel like the book everyone else is talking about is not the book I read.

Bird Box is told horribly out of order, like the author shuffled the script and the editor and company just ran with it. I'm not joking. We have things like the dog going mad and is trying to hurt people in one of the very latest chapters -each chapter goes past, present, past, present in an alternating order- and then in a later one the dog is alive and they're pondering if animals can go mad too. The dog is a mess of things as well.
For example, these dogs are implied to have gone outside with them as seeing eye dogs for months and to have never seen anything to induce madness? But suddenly one day they do?
How's that work when humans can't even look outside for longer than thirty seconds or watch an hour of film footage or see a reflection? So every animal is doomed but dogs take a while? What?
A great example of this order issue, is the next to final chapter is the duel pregnancy, when the opening is her with two kids! Her focusing on her two kids. It's not hard to figure out given the whole book goes on about where the kids come from. But why should the almost-last-chapter hype up will the kids live or die? Why is this suddenly stakes? It's not.

We actually treat their deaths very roughly, too. Tom, our best guy is just walked past and she mistakes him for a bag of something, and that's it. Tom is dead.

Oh, and I left out this scene, this one really got me. So near the end, during the duel pregnancy, Olympia goes mad. So she's chewing the baby's cord in half. This is focused on. Olympia goes out the window and is then regarded as HANGING BY A CORD. But there's no cord except the UMBILICAL CORD. And Gary is marveling and shocked. A normal cord wouldn't be shocking. Malerman really wrote an UMBILICAL CORD can sustain the weight of a full-grown woman. And that's scary? My roommate lost it at that scene. I was bewildered.

Another thing is we're repeatedly reminded these people are skin and bone, reek to hell, are filthy. Yet they survive pregnancy and walk around just after(don't touch me with adrenaline), and they're not infected or emaciated and bleeding out to death? I know Olympia chucks herself like an empty bottle, but the state they're written to be in, they shouldn't be able to kill a dog by smashing it into a wall or even kill each other.

I'm trying to be as thorough here as I possibly can. A great example is we have chapters of Malorie alone and raising the kids in between chapters where everyone else is alive. It tells us at every turn they're going to die. Remind me why I care if they do when they're already dead in most of the book?

--

I hope a PDF with all the flashback chapters in order exists, because if this was ordered, it would be a less whiplash read. In fact, put in order this book would almost be a four-star read. But how it's presented is horribly jarring and not in the "oooh scary" way we want.

Malerman wrote about utter hopelessness and un-survivable world when he wrote all animals can be affected and are killing themselves. This means the ecosystem is fucked, there is no coming back. Certain plants won't grow, and certain food sources are dead. There's no possible way gardening can sustain them.
He's unknowingly written a more impossible for people to live in the situation than books and films like TWD series ever have. At least those people have the animals immune and able to be caught and eaten. From every angle of botany, ecology, even basic human diet, these people are not sustainable. They lack basic food, they cannot possibly grow enough in any garden to churn out through dead seasons like fall and winter without a working greenhouse. They're all covered in so much grime and filth they can't even take a shower and can barely consistently obtain water. Plus they're trapped. This is scary! I'll admit it's scary!
But it's also utterly doomed.
Hopeless.
There is nothing after this.
Adding in animals can go mad just blows the entire plot into smithereens and ruins all the hope there was for farming or such.

I know there's a sequel(book, not film yet), and I will be touching upon it, but it's twelve years later and everything's worse. How is there any life at all when things just randomly snap or lose their mind Monday-to-Friday?

Top that all off with the idea that people in this state of emaciation are able to cut their eyeballs out with who knows what that's not clean and they're barely able to grow hair, barely able to have normal skin that isn't bloody, pale, or discoloured? There are areas around their faces that when they get infected, they will die. The blind people may have some medicine, but they definitely do not have enough to stave off massive infections.

Malorie arrives nearly hallucinating, out of her mind and delirious from her shoulder wound and other wounds. She's barely alive and believes she is dying. How she makes it into a sequel is anyone's guess because the description sounds almost to the bone and oozing and she's soaked in piss and vomit which can't be good for the other wounds.

Now as for the ending.

It's not one.

Tom's name passes on to Malorie's son and Olympia's name passes on to her daughter. This is morally a mess because of Malorie's emotional feelings being likely projected through naming them that way, and now the narrative says "Tom" in memories Malorie has, we think of Tom, her son. Olympia too suffers this fate. With the movie implying a romance between Tom and Malorie, it makes naming one's son after their lover a bit odd. What is meant to be a sweet gesture only confuses the narrative. We now have two Toms and two Olympias in the writing and that gets very confusing. It's the ending, but I say this as a prediction for the second book too.

Would I ever read Bird Box again? No. Would I recommend it? No.

Was it offensive, horrible, or trash, eh. It's just another book, fairly unremarkable and there.

--

I'm amazed that Netflix(2018 Netflix, not modern day of course) managed. To those people who took this book apart and put it back in order, then made the movie, you worked way too hard and salvaged so many scenes. Made Tom into a great character, and made his death a little more meaningful. I don't think the book would surge back into popularity without the movie. It's not a great movie, but it definitely has cohesion over the book.

2.5 stars. I don't hate it.
It's worth reading once, but if you can find it all in order, it's definitely worth reading. ( )
  Yolken | Jun 7, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
Malerman overreaches a bit in his debut, which could use as much attention to the cast as to the mood, but the mood is chillingly effective.
added by zapzap | editA.V. Club, Tasha Robinson (May 14, 2014)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Josh Malermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Antón, MiguelTraductorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bortolussi, Stefanosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chong, Suet YeeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Vries, Eriksecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guillot, SébastienÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinzel, FredÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mangold, KatharineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Something is out there . . . Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat'blindfolded'with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster' Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey'a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motley group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside'and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted' Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman's breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

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