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? – Barnes and Noble Synopsis
TW: Suicide, Alcoholism
Published by Penguin Publishing Group, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is an insightful novel filled with dark humor, relatable struggles, a little bit of magic, and a dash of perspective.
From the loss of her much-loved cat Voltaire to unexpectedly finding herself unemployed, Nora Seed is having a terrible few days. Nora has been having a difficult few years. From the loss of both of her parents to a bad breakup to a slew of unfulfilled dreams, Nora is depressed, burdened with regret, and thus decides she no longer wants to live. Thus, one evening, not long before midnight, she ingests a handful of pills.
Much to her surprise, Nora awakens to find that she is not dead but rather in a library filled with endless rows of books. There, a figure in the form of her friendly former school librarian, Mrs. Elm, explains that this is the Midnight Library and that each book contains a parallel life where Nora made different choices from her present, “host” life. Nora’s task is to jump into the books and find a life within one that she truly wants to live before she passes away and the clock in the midnight library strikes 12:01 a.m.
The Midnight Library follows Nora as she jumps from life to life and tries her hand at being a glaciologist, a rockstar, a mother, and more. Nevertheless, as Nora explores different lives, it more effort than expected to pinpoint what sort of life she truly wants.
The Midnight Library is a whimsical yet perceptive look at what life might be like as a “choose your own adventure” novel. Beautifully written, there is an air of magic to the book despite its realistic settings.
Among the novel’s few flaws, it can feel a tad repetitive as Nora jumps from life to life, though some scenes provide more profound insight than others. Haig also does not provide a particularly nuanced view of depression, as Nora’s problems are primarily situational, although Haig does make this distinction.
Nora’s struggles are indeed relatable ones, filling the book with real perspective for readers that find themselves at a crossroads in their life. Haig’s The Midnight Library is an afternoon read that, while geared towards adults, is filled with the inspirational insights and quotable encouragement of a YA novel.
Like this review?
|Pub Date: September 29, 2020||Page Count: 304pp||Age Range: 16 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-5255-5947-4||Publisher: Viking||List Price: $26.00|