Review · Reviews

The Midnight Library Review

tws for this book: su*cide, depression, anxiety

When my library got this book, my interest was piqued: a library?? of lives?? a title similar to my favorite HeadSpace Sleepcast?? Amazing. And THEN this won the Goodread’s choice award for fiction!

Overall, this was a great book, but because of the hype, I was a little underwhelmed, which is what prevents me from giving this a full 5 stars, but it was a still a fantastic work of fiction dealing with really heavy, really real topics. Matt Haig has talked before about his own experiences with mental health struggles and I really loved how he took his own experiences to inform this work and twist the concept in a new way.

The Midnight Library is about Nora Seed, who full of misery and regret, decides to take her own life. But she doesn’t dieβ€”instead, she ends up in the place between life and death, called The Midnight Library. Every book in the library contains a different life, and Nora is able to “read” these booksβ€”live as if she had done something differently. But the library won’t last forever, and Nora must find the life she wants to live before time runs out.

I really liked the writing and the ways that the chapters were broken up (I’m a sucker for short chapters!) Despite Nora living a ton of different lives, her voice was always distinct and you could sense the shift in her thinking as her desire to live grew. The plot itself was a really interesting premise and I really loved the pacing: this book is short, and the pacing keeps the story moving. Although I do wish we had gotten a little more at the end (but maybe that was the point). The book mainly revolves around Nora, and I thought it was really interesting how in each life, there are some people that are common threads through a few (or all) lives, but there are others that only appear in one life. The only character I found confusing was Hugo (iykyk)β€”I didn’t really understand him, and I wish we had gotten a little more closure about his character.

Overall, this book is largely focused on the larger theme of the novel: what makes a life worth living? Obviously, mental health is a really important topic as of late, and even for those without mental illnesses, many people still are full of regrets. I think this was a great concept for working directly with those themes while also managing to be creative and entertaining. Dealing with mental illness myself, I really connected to the book due to the theme and saw myself in Nora.

This is a beautiful, short-and-sweet tale of one woman’s quest for happiness. If you have experienced struggles with mental health, or are just curious about it, this is a great work of fiction that stays on the lighter side. It’s a solid 4-Star book for me, and IMO, it is definitely worth the read. I really loved the writing style as well and hope to read more of Matt Haig’s books in the future.

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