Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Source: Bought on Audible for Book Club
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place
First things first - TRIGGER WARNING:
The beginning of this book deals with suicide and can be very emotional for anyone that has had experience with suicide and/or depression.
With that said, the beginning of this book is very emotional, a lot more emotional than I anticipated for myself. The main character is Nora, she is not doing well. She is depressed and everything is compiling and the book is counting down to her decision to leave this world. After that point weird things start happening, Nora is whisked away to a magical library where she can live different lives that could have been hers, had she chosen differently at certain parts of her life.
I read this book with my family and friends in book club this past month, the title and cover really pulled us in during the vote, little did we know what an emotional ride this book would be. AND IT WAS. I loved this book, I hated this book, I loved the realizations this book had me make about my own situation and I also loathed how this book made me feel emotionally. This was a wonderful book club book and I would highly recommend it for that but be emotionally prepared - I was not.
What I liked about this book: It really makes you think - about your life choices, about your regrets, what your magical library might look like. I also really liked Nora. I listened to the Audible version and the reader was fantastic, she made you feel like you were with Nora the whole time experiencing new lives. I also enjoyed the sub characters, they were interesting and fun in the roles they playing in Nora's lives. The overall theme was pretty well played out as well.
What I disliked: While Nora learns a lot in her experiences with the Midnight Library, her suicide was very built up (there is reason for that) but I feel like the ending was a cop-out. Choose a new life or die seem to be her choices going in, but it takes a few weird turns. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the enviable ending puts a flippant stance on suicide that did not sit well with me. Nor did the fact that she could just choose a new life.
Nora has the ability to grow throughout her lives in this book and learn more about herself, others, and the roles she plays in her seemingly normal, sad life that she is trying to leave behind. Her learning and acceptance held me in, as mad as I was about the stark beginning of this book.
It is a quick read with short chapters and a lot to chat about it you are reading it with others. It was very emotional and did not contain a trigger warning, thus my warning to you all before you plunge in. Overall, I would read this book again and dissect it far more given more time. It became a feel good tale after sending me on a binge cry.
Have you read this one? Tell me your thoughts below!