The Midnight Library
By Matt Haig
Viking, 9780525559474, September 2020, 304pp.
The Short of It:
What would you do if you were given a chance to live a different life?
The Rest of It:
Nora Seed has made some bad decisions throughout her life. Some affected other people, like her brother and her kind next door neighbor. She doesn’t feel as if she matters or belongs anywhere, or with anyone. One night, she just can’t take anymore and decides to end it.
But Nora is given another chance. She awakes to find herself in a library of sorts. This library is run by a person from Nora’s past, Mrs. Elm. Mrs. Elm walks Nora through this strange labyrinth of books called The Midnight Library. It’s a library that houses one particular book that could change Nora’s life, The Book of Regrets. In it, is each regret that Nora has felt or experienced over the course of her life. In addition to this book, are other books and these books represent the lives she’s lived by taking a different path. While she hovers between this world and the real world, she is given the option of borrowing one of those lives to see if it’s a good fit for her. Some work out more than others, some further illustrate the effects of her poor decisions over the years. These decisions do not prove easy for Nora and once you decide on a particular life, there’s no going back.
I can recall at least three other books I’ve read that had a similar storyline and yes, the story is a little repetitive and might remind you of the movie Groundhog Day. If you are looking for a totally unique reading experience, you won’t get that with The Midnight Library, however, it did come together quite nicely and I agree with most everyone that it’s a feel-good type of read but it takes a little while to get there. I also had a little trouble connecting to Nora. She’s detached from reality but not in the endearing way that Eleanor was in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. If that helps any.
What I liked a lot was the opportunity to live your life a different way and to realize how your choices impact other people. I liked that Nora’s experiences helped to shape and define “happiness” and I liked the visual that Haig created with The Midnight Library itself.
It’s a pleasant, feel-good book. Gives you a little food for thought, too.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.