Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2016
Bird Box is a fresh, tense take on the monster under the bed or the creature in the closet. Malerman has subscribed to the well-known philosophy that your mind conjures the greatest fears from the alleys and byways of the unknown. The tenet serves the novel well, and while I was never bored, this left a bit of an unsatisfied taste in my mouth. My obsessive compulsive brain kept repeating--Who? What? Why? How?--over and over, but that is part of the beauty. I will mull my questions, chew on them, and be thinking about the novel long after today. The plot is simple: something people see is making them unpredictably crazy, homicidal and suicidal. Malorie as the central character is neither particularly intriguing or heartily loathsome, but I found myself caring about the story anyway. This is a quick read full of many of the familiar horror tropes, but pervading even those moments was an oppressive sense of the unknown, a cloaking, thick oppression of tension and stress that is particularly hard to generate, and even more difficult to sustain. To his credit, Malerman succeeds with varying degrees of success on both fronts. A few things about the novel irritated me. Calling the children "boy" and "girl" was silly, and felt contrived, especially in light of the ho-hum "Ta-Da" moment near the end. There is also a preposterous incident involving a wolf clawing someone. Wolves bite (almost never humans). They do not claw anything. They are a canine. Felines claw things. The effect would have been so much more believable just inserting a cougar in the place of the wolf. It's a small detail, but it's mentioned so often that it brought me back to the eye-rolling incident over and over. The motivations of some of the other characters are suspect, and, as is always the case in novels of this type, people make stupid decisions that seem to have no point or logical rationale. There is also an absurdly ridiculous incident involving an umbilical cord. These minor gripes aside, I had to ask myself, "Was I entertained?" The answer was unequivocally, "Yes."
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