Friday, November 20, 2020

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Pages: 288
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Viking
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?  In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place."




Nora Seed lives a sad existence. She is depressed and isolates herself from her friends and family.  She recently lost her job and to top it off, her cat died.  Nora feels she has no reason to go on and plans to commit suicide.  She writes her farewell letter and after taking one to many anti-depressants, she finds herself waking up in a library of sorts. Could this be the afterlife?  Each book in this library is a different version of her life and the library is run by her beloved elementary school librarian, Mrs. Elm, who tries to guide Nora while in this in between state.  Each book Nora selects means she gets to life that uncharted life; a life she never explored and a path she never took.  One life she works at a pub with her ex-boyfriend fulfilling his dream of owning his own pub in the country. What if they never broke up and she moved to the country with him? What would their life look like? In the next life she is a researcher in the Arctic living an adventurous life. These are all paths her life could have taken if she made different choices, but ultimately the question is which path will bring her happiness? Matt Haig's The Midnight Library seems like a a really dark book at first glance, but at its heart it is light and contemplative.  The Midnight Library  begs readers to question their own life choices.  

Nora is the type of character that breaks your heart. She has had a lot of bad luck and has been down for quite sometime. Instead of picking herself back up, she is giving up. It truly broke my heart. But once she gets to the library, things start to change for Nora. She starts to experience what her life could have been like if she only made a different decision or stuck with something just a little bit longer.  Due to Nora being presented with all these life paths, Haig essentially has his readers reflect on their own life choices as we go through Nora's journey. I am sure we can all relate to the big "what if" question.  What if you did that one thing differently or made another choice? How might your life look differently today?

Even though Haig touches on difficult topics such as suicide, The Midnight Library is still, somehow, a light read and doesn't make the readers too depressed, but rather contemplative.  Mrs. Elm shares with Nora her "Book of Regrets," which I thought was also powerful.  Even though Haig's world seems really difficult to process, it made sense to me and didn't require a degree in physics to understand or believe.

If you are looking for a book that makes you think about what is truly important in life, I urge you to check out The Midnight Library. It is easy to see why the book made so many "best of 2020" lists. 

Is The Midnight Library on your TBR list? Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 




  1. I'm really looking forward to this one - I love books with "what if" concepts.

    1. Me too. I look forward to your thoughts on this one. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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