The Midnight Library Summary and Review – “Between life and death there is a library, and the shelves go on forever within that library. 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?”
TW: suicide, depression
Have you ever regretted living the life you are living right now? Maybe that one time you could have done things differently. Maybe if you’d just had those painting lessons in school or been in that popular acapella group or said yes to many things that you ran away from because you weren’t ready or felt scared? We’ve all wondered about the possibilities in which we wouldn’t have been the version of ourselves right now and maybe we would have liked ourselves better.
In a world where people, things and ideas are so interconnected, almost like a spider web, there is a pandemic of personal regrets. Social media certainly doesn’t help when you see all those perfect people with their supposedly perfect little lives. And you cannot help but wonder, “what if I could be someone else and maybe I’d be happier”. I don’t know about you, reader, but I certainly have done this regret rapid fire with myself which still continues to this day. In this The Midnight Library review, we will dive into why you should read this book if you feel like a beaten-up ball of personal regrets like I do and how it might help you tread on a path to find yourself.
The Midnight Library Summary
Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library took the Goodreads world by storm when it won the 2020 Goodread’s choice award for Best Fiction category. The timing couldn’t be better with the pandemic raging on full-swing, giving us overthinkers, time to to overthink. Time to think about every minuscule aspect of our lives gone wrong. Dissecting our life choices and making us feel even more miserable than ever.
The Midnight Library is such a book which follows the journey of Nora Seed, a woman who has but regrets in her life. Faced with the sudden passing of her cat, she decides to give up her miserable life. Only, she ends up in a library, the place between life and death. The midnight library, they call it. This library has endless shelves of books, each book a different life. A different choice. A possibility. And thus, Nora decides to live all the lives that she thought would make her happier. But would it?
The Midnight Library Review
The Midnight Library questions this idea of a perfect life, the idea of “what ifs.” It questions the idea of “right choices.” Can choices even be weighed on a standard scale of rights and wrongs when even reality is subjective? The entire premise of the library containing infinite number of possibilities of one’s life is especially interesting and refreshing to read. And none of those possibilities are the “right” choice. As protagonists of our lives, its up to us to make sense of all these endless possibilities. And well, at the end of it all, you might wonder whether all the “what ifs” are truly worth to torture yourself over for.
It is quite a comforting read especially if you are feeling stuck in the rabbit hole of “what if I did that instead of this” and just want a light pick-me-up read. It has a tonne of fantastic inspirational and motivational quotes and analogies. On the other hand, it could be viewed as overly-optimistic by some readers and even “didactic” at certain points. It does function as a quasi-self-help kind of a book as it progresses and might not be a cup of tea for everyone.
The Midnight Library – JAL Rating
As for our JAL rating, it scores a good 4/5 for the above stated reasons. Keeping everything in mind, it still serves as a beautiful read especially if you are looking for a reminder to live in the present and not in your past. Remember, “You are not meant to live like others, you are meant to live as yourself”. Let us know your favourite quotes and opinions on the book in the comments. Until next time, happy reading!