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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig Book Review
Down on her luck and with one negative event after another, Nora decides to take her own life. But as she slips into unconsciousness, she’ll find herself in the Midnight Library. A place where each book is a different version of her life, led by the decisions she never made. Poised between life and death, Nora has the ability to see the different paths she could have taken. And as she journeys through each of these lives, if she can find one where she is truly happy, she can stay to live out the rest of her days.
Nora is able to reflect on all the decisions she made in her life. From break ups to chosen careers path, each book in the library will show her how life could have been. Not all are filled with happiness. Nora will find some of her decisions were for the better as the life she could have lived ended in heartbreak and suffering. And some of the more glamorous paths, painted over the cracks in her life in order to make them seem whole. It was fascinating to see the string of possibilities with each new journey Nora took and the positives and negatives each life revealed. It brought to light the notion that there is no perfect life, yet happiness can still be found.
There were some encounters in Nora’s journey that seemed out of place. In particular, when Nora runs into another person traveling through lives there was a quick romantic encounter with no charisma or spark. The focus of the story is on Nora overcoming her regrets and learning what would truly make her happy. There was no lead in or foreshadowing to say this encounter would help Nora along in her journey. If anything, bonding with another traveler on a more intimate level should have enhanced the experience, but not enough time was spent between the two characters.
However, there is a pivotal point in The Midnight Library where Nora faces an immense adversary. And while adrenaline and fear are running through her body, she comes to startling clarifications about herself and what she wants to achieve. In this moment Matt Haig personified Nora’s battle against mental illness. The way it can creep up on a person and take hold, not allowing them to take action and fight. Yet despite it all Nora fought her way through the fear and found it within herself to fight for her life.
The Midnight Library is a fascinating look into what can happen in alternate lives. Please note this book may be triggering to some as the catalyst is Nona taking her life. But it also contains messages of hope. Each life Nora experiences drives her towards a better understanding of happiness and how to let go of past regrets. This is a book for readers who enjoy motivational stories with a hint of sci-fi.
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