[The Midnight Library]: A Review

Hi y’all!

Happy Presidents Day weekend to my friends in the USA! I am so ready for a break and hopefully a few good slow mornings.

Today I am excited to review The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I read this with my book club a few months ago and it was absolutely fascinating!

Be aware that there was a lot of intense swearing in this book. I think a lot of it could have been left out and I would have given the book 5 stars. ***Spoiler*** Also please be aware that I do mention the ending. Although I try not to give everything away, I do discuss some details. Consider reading the book first if you don’t want to hear spoilers.


Book Summary: “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.

I loved the concept of the midnight library and living lives you could have lived if you had made different choices. So fascinating to think about “living” the lives you chose not to. And how one choice can change the trajectory of your whole life. Nora lives so many different types of lives: marriage and pub owner, Olympic swimming champion, living in Australia, glaciologist in Scandinavia, internationally famous rock star and song writer, happy wife and mother, professor, and more. Each life is different yet connected. Nora sees how she is different in each life. I enjoyed reading about how each life unfolded, how she discovered truths about herself and her relationships in each life, and how each life brought different disappointments. How I wished she could stay in the last life with Molly and Ash! And everything comes back to the fascinating midnight library.

The midnight library was my favorite setting. The idea that each book holds a different life with infinite options was fascinating. As a book lover, I was enthralled with this setting and the different potentials each book offered. The importance of experiencing different lives but also knowing that most will take you back to the library. The conversations that Nora has with Mrs Elm, the librarian are also captivating. I enjoyed their witty banter as well. So many compelling quotes about life, choices, what it means to live, how to live without or with regrets, the importance of relationships and more. I could have highlighted whole sections of this book. Ultimately, it is from the library that Nora (or any of us) comes to learn what it means to live.

I really liked the ending and how Nora chooses life. The ending is intense, surprising and so satisfying. I am alive. How simple yet powerful those words are! Those words give her the strength to return and discover how to find meaning, direction, and joy in her life. I liked seeing how she found herself needed and connected even when she thought she wasn’t. Felt a lot like George Bailey and his realizations of all that he did for others. How important they both are. It was powerful to see the imperfection in her life even after her midnight library experience. But she still wants it. What a beautiful message that life is worth it always.

This novel was absolutely fascinating! We had a fantastic discussion at book club about the library and how important life is for us all. Short chapters and fast paced plot made this a quick read for me.


What books have really captured you?

2 thoughts on “[The Midnight Library]: A Review

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