The Midnight Library Review | Books

Well hello there, lovely people. How have you been? I’ve missed you.

A little life update for ya: Just before Christmas, we packed up all of our stuff as we thought we were moving out of our home but as is usually the case with these things, everything was delayed. Some of the posts I was planning on writing were focused on things that have since been packed away, hence why it’s seemed a little quiet around these parts lately.

One of my resolutions this year is to keep this blog updated as much as possible, so I hope this is the start of what turns out to be some more regular posts coming your way.

One of my other resolutions for this year is to read 30 books – I read 26 last year & I fancied a bit of a challenge – and my very first book of 2021 was one that I absolutely whizzed through. Ya know one of those books that you think about all day until you get to read it again? Yep, this is one of those.

It is, of course, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

Who wrote it?

The brilliant Matt Haig, author of Notes on a Nervous Planet, which I definitely must read at some point. If you’re not following him on social media, you’re missing out. Find him at @mattzhaig

How long is it?

288 pages in my hardback edition.

So, what happens?

Nora Seed is a thirty-something woman who feels like giving up on life. Everything is just going so wrong for her. When she attempts suicide, she suddenly finds herself in a magical library with the school librarian she befriended as a teenager. Each book on the shelves represents a life Nora could have had, if she’d only made different decisions. Thus begins a story about the many roads life can take us down and the many lives we could have lived.

What are my thoughts?

When I first read the description of this book, I knew that it would be totally up my street. And I was right. I absolutely devoured it, lapping up page after page, night after night. It’s fair to say that I was hooked from the word go.

Nora is a very relatable character and you can really empathise with the situation she finds herself in. She’s lost her job, she craves the love of a man she left years ago and she’s full of regrets about her relationship with her brother. Life is just not going well for her.

However, when she comes to the library, a world of opportunities opens up to her and I really enjoyed the way Haig played with this idea. Nora gets to try out each of the other lives she could have lived but as soon as she starts to feel unhappy, she returns to the library.

We get a glimpse of all the hundreds of Nora’s living all sorts of different lives, from a pub owner in the English countryside to a famous singer who is dating her celebrity crush. And each one of those has its ups and downs. In every other life Nora lives, there seems to be something that has gone wrong. For all the highlights of her different lives, there are still many lows.

The book reminded me of Mitch Albom’s Five People You Meet in Heaven in terms of its life lessons and thought provoking content. It’s a book that really gets you thinking about the different paths you could have walked, if you’d only made a different decision on a certain day.

There were a couple of instances in the book where I felt like the writing became a little sloppy – a couple of metaphors that could have been a lot tighter but all in all, I really enjoyed this magical read of a woman who must realise that her life is worth living.

Final verdict

4/5 – A thought-provoking read that will scoop you up in a lovely warm cwtch through the winter.


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