Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets? A novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived.

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?

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.

TRIGGER WARNING SUICIDE ATTEMPT

Review:

Dear Matt Haig,

As always I am late to the party discussing a bestselling book.  However recently couple of people mentioned it to me and I decided it must be a sign for me to try it. I noticed the title of course because it had Library in it, but also I don’t do too well with bestseller books of authors unknown to me, so I was waiting for the extra recommendations.

I also wanted to stress one more time since the blurb is not very clear – the character commits a suicide attempt at the beginning of the book. I also disagree with some reviews that this is a self help book. Apologies for stating the obvious, but the chances that after a suicide attempt one will get into a place where one may get to relive some choices they regret and they may get to choose a life they like better are slim (there could be religious people who believe in such in between between life and death so that is why I am saying slim).

This is the journey the author chose for his fictional character, please please if this is a trigger for you, please stay away. One more less serious warning, if you are like me please don’t be seduced by the word library in the title. This library is a metaphor about your life choices, about multiverses you may have been living in, but not about real books, although Nora seems to love philosophy so I am imagining the library was chosen for that reason too.

I finished the book in a weekend. Yes, it was short enough (only 289 pages on my kindle), but I also found the author’s writing quite engaging and I did like Nora. I felt for her in the beginning of the story (consumed by despair for several reasons) and I was happy with how her journey ended.  The character getting to temporarily redo some of the choices in their lives they regret is not a new idea. I had seen it done several times (right now mostly movies come to mind, but I am sure I can come up with some books if I think about it more), but I did like how this author did it.

I also did not care that the ending was super predictable, since I did not want any other one.

B

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Sirius

Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

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