Tag Archives: Relationships

Review: The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library

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.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Weekend

The Weekend

The Weekend
By Charlotte Wood
Riverhead Books, 9780593086438, August 2020, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Started off as a sweet story about three friends coming together after a friend’s death, but then was punched through with sadness and a little darkness which I was not expecting.

The Rest of It:

After the passing of their friend Sylvie, Adele, Jude, Wendy and her dog Finn, arrive at Sylvie’s old beach house to prepare it for sale. Adele, a former actress who still has her looks about her, prances around, flaunting her flexibility which she still possesses even in her 70s. Jude, the most sensible but also the most abrasive of the trio, puts up with her to a point but lets everyone know when they are annoying or slacking at the task at hand. After all, they have a job to do.

Wendy arrives a little sad over the death of her friend but also sad about the husband she lost and the next chapter of their lives. They aren’t getting any younger. By her side, is her sweet dog Finn who is also getting on in his years. So much so that he has anxiety attacks, paces relentlessly and has accidents, regularly. Wendy knows that she should put him down, but can’t bring herself to do so. Poor Finn.

The author does a magnificent job of capturing that fleeting feeling of time passing too quickly. In their prime, these four women were formidable and strong, successful and bonded through friendship. But in their 70s, they are tired and short with each other as they each figure out how they fit together without their friend Sylvie. As insecurities flare and one big secret is revealed that threatens to destroy their friendship, they pause for a moment to figure out where they want to go because even at this age, they have choices.

I really enjoyed this book and the writing in particular but there was one big problem I had with it and it’s the treatment of the elderly dog, Finn. I know that a beloved dog approaching the end of its life was probably intentional given that these ladies were also getting on in years and approaching the last stage of life, but the way this poor animal is treated by the other ladies in the house really bothered me. He’s full of anxiety, pushed around, forced to sleep outside even though he’s terrified of his own shadow. I really do not know why the author chose to include such horrible treatment of this poor dog. It was terribly disappointing and I felt, a poor choice and unfortunately affected how I felt about the book overall.

If you can get past these moments with the dog, then you might appreciate the writing, as I did. But I felt so sorry for this poor pup. I really did.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.