The Measure
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BOOK CLUB February – The Measure

Step into a world where ordinary lives are forever altered by an extraordinary choice.

Imagine an average day, filled with routine and familiarity. But today, everything changes. As you step outside, a mysterious wooden box awaits you, holding the key to your destiny: the precise number of years you have left to live.

Across continents and cultures, people from all walks of life are confronted with these enigmatic boxes. The world plunges into chaos as questions arise. Who sent these boxes? What do they signify? Can their promises be trusted?

Amidst the chaos, each individual faces a momentous decision: Should they uncover the secret of their remaining years? And if they do, how will this knowledge shape their actions?

In this captivating tale, the lives of a diverse cast of characters intertwine and collide. Bound by friendship, love, and chance, their choices reverberate across time and space: inseparable friends with shared dreams, kindred spirits who find solace in the unknown, a couple unprepared for the urgency of life, a doctor unable to save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the catalyst for a world-altering explosion of change.

Thursday February 15th 2024
2:30 – 3:30 pm

Discussion Questions

1. If the box from The Measure arrived on your doorstep, would you open it? Is there perhaps a particular age or moment in your life when you would be most inclined to view your string?

2. Knowing the length of their string causes many characters to rethink their careers, their dreams, even their views on marriage and children. How would knowing about your string—or not knowing about it — affect the way you lived your life?

3. Ben initially feels conflicted over telling his parents about his string, while Javier chooses to hide the truth from his. Do you think family members have a right to know about each other’s strings?

4. In today’s world, do you think the arrival of the strings would bring out the worst in people, or the best? Would you view the boxes as a gift or a curse?

5.What is the benefit of setting The Measure in a slightly altered version of our world? In what ways did this fictional society’s reaction to the strings mirror the behavior of our own society? In what ways did it differ?

6. Do you think any members in the public arena — such as doctors, employers, or government officials — should be able to know the length of someone’s string? Should short-stringers be able to publicly identify themselves in order to receive legal protections or government aid? 

7. Nina worries that if Maura were to enter the hospital, she might face multiple biases as a Black woman and a short-stringer. How does the experience of short-stringers in the novel reflect any of the past or present injustices facing historically marginalized groups? How do they differ?

8. Religion takes on varying degrees of importance in the characters’ lives. How do you think the arrival of the strings might impact a person’s religious devotion, or lack thereof?

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