How did you come across this book?
I found this book on goodreads.com (a popular website among readers with trending books, reviews, and recommendations). The Midnight Library won the Goodreads Choice Award for the best fiction book in 2020, so I was really looking forward to reading it.
Can you tell a bit about the author?
Matt Haig is a British author and writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated into over 40 languages. His novels for adults include the award-winning How To Stop Time, The Radleys, The Humans, and the number one bestseller The Midnight Library.
What did you like best about the book?
I really liked the idea and conclusion of the book. The book tells the story of Nora Seed who finds herself in a weird place (named the midnight library) between life and death and tasked with the most challenging of dilemmas – what is the best way to live? What if you could live a life where you are an Olympic swimmer, or choose to be a famous rock star, or a mother in a regular social setting, or a researcher in the frozen arctic…. What if?…
The book is somehow the ‘celebration of life’s possibilities’ as The Guardian says and offers us a chance to review our regrets and missed opportunities and make a different decision. It makes you wonder if what you can have is truly better than what you already have because all things considered… all our lives contain a blend of sweet and sour, of joy and sadness… so there is no perfect life that has only upsides. And the final “note to self” at the end of the book shows the character’s discovered gratitude for the life she actually has, as imperfect as it is.
What was the main thought you took away from the book?
Each and every life is worth living, despite all the challenges, and when there is life there is always the chance that something good might happen.
Is there something that especially resonated with you? Would you recommend this book?
Overall, The Midnight Library was a quick and easy read and the idea is brilliant, but unfortunately, it lacked some depth. As the main character was experiencing different lives, as unique as each of those lives seemed, she was always focused on what was lacking, rather than what was authentic and unique to each one and learn from those experiences.
In the end, I would like to invite you all to pause and think. If you could choose a different life for yourself, knowing you cannot have it all, what would be the elements you would choose to have in your life to be happy, and what are the elements you can cope with not having…