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The Midnight Library Review: Back-of-Book Description

The #1 New York Times bestselling WORLDWIDE phenomenon

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction | A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | Independent (London) Ten Best Books of the Year

“A feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits.”—The Washington Post

The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.

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 blockbuster 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.

The Midnight Library Review: My Thoughts

I have been a fan of this author since I read The Humans several years ago. Click on the title to go read that review – but I’ll tell ya right now, I absolutely loved it and I would encourage anyone to read it. So when I saw this book by him I scooped it up right away.

But then I let it sit on my shelf until it felt like the right time to read it.

I’m going to include right away – trigger warning for depression and suicidal thoughts and actions. I will say he handles it well, he write it respectfully, and beautifully.

This author has made it his life’s purpose seemingly, to discuss mental health and try to persuade people to chose living. I find that incredibly beautiful and moving, especially having been the unfortunate one left in the wake of heartbreak after loved ones have chosen the path of suicide.

As you read from the back-of-book description, the main character in The Midnight Library is a person struggling with this issue. We get a pretty decent glimpse of her life before the story turns to the Midnight Library where she gets to choose different lives that might have been had she made other choices. I thought this was a fascinating premise and I really enjoyed it.

I felt like the different scenarios she found herself in were interesting and I was excited to keep discovering how things were going to go. 

Throughout all the different ‘lives’ she chose, the author spent so much time unraveling all of the layers of the main character. I feel like it made me really appreciate and think about my own life and  how all of the choices I’ve made in life have led me to where I am now. We all at one time or another think that maybe another path might have been better, so I think a lot of us could relate to some aspects of the story.

His character development was flawless – even some of the small, supporting characters felt like real people. His setting descriptions were also terrific, there was nothing he described that I couldn’t picture in my mind. The dialogue, the inner thoughts, all if his writing was perfect.

 
Favorite Quotes from The Midnight Library

“She didn’t tell him that while coal and diamonds are both carbon, coal is too impure to be able, under whatever pressure, to become a diamond. According to science, you start off as coal and you end up as coal. Maybe that was the real-life lesson.”

“The universe tended toward chaos and entropy. That was basic thermodynamics. Maybe it was basic existence, too.”

“But who seriously goes confidently in the direction of their dreams? Well, apart from Thoreau.”

“It was a good choice. It just wasn’t a good outcome.”

“‘I think you’re over thinking it.’ ‘I have anxiety. I have no other type of thinking available.'”

“To be human was to continually dumb the world down into an understandable story that keeps things simple.”

“‘The fun is in the jumping, mon amie.’ ‘But what if it’s in the landing?'”

“‘I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten who you are.’ ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘So have I.'”

“It is quite a revelation to discover that the place you wanted to escape to is the exact same place you escaped from. That the prison wasn’t the place, but the perspective.”

The Midnight Library Review: In Conclusion

This was a beautiful book. Moving and emotional. 5 stars for The Midnight Library. I found no flaws and I will recommend it to everyone I know.

To be fair, it’s likely that I would never give this author less than that? I’m not sure. But also it’s pretty clear to me that The Midnight Library is the type of book that people will either connect with or they won’t, depending on their stage of life. I thoroughly connected with it and I can only hope that I carry the lessons it taught me forever; to treat myself more kindly and to focus less on regrets from the past.

I really think this might be a good one for book clubs to discuss as well. I can imagine a lot of contemplations and reflection in a group setting.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this review of The Midnight Library – feel free to share! Check out my other book reviews here and pin or share your favorite quotes below. 

“But who seriously goes confidently in the direction of their dreams? Well, apart from Thoreau.”
“‘I think you’re over thinking it.’ ‘I have anxiety. I have no other type of thinking available,'”
“To be human was to continually dumb the world down into an understandable story that keeps things simple.”
“She didn’t tell him that while coal and diamonds are both carbon, coal is too impure to be able, under whatever pressure, to become a diamond. According to science, you start off as coal and you end up as coal. Maybe that was the real-life lesson.”
“‘The fun is in the jumping, mon amie.’ ‘But what if it’s in the landing?’"
“‘I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten who you are.' ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘So have I.'”
“It was a good choice. It just wasn’t a good outcome.”
“The universe tended toward chaos and entropy. That was basic thermodynamics. Maybe it was basic existence, too.”
“It is quite a revelation to discover that the place you wanted to escape to is the exact same place you escaped from. That the prison wasn’t the place, but the perspective.”
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