Updated: Sep 21
A poignant, intriguing and thought-provoking book of self-discovery.
Have you ever been to the Midnight Library? It’s the library of your life that exists at the moment between life and death. It contains the story of your life as well as an infinite number of books for how your life would have been for each different decision you could have made in your life. Nora Seed’s life has been full of pain, sorrow and regrets. She no longer wants to live. And it is then that she finds herself in the Midnight Library. She now has a chance to perhaps find, and even live, a better life.
The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to drop in on her alternate lives had she made different decisions. She can now undo every one of her regrets and missed opportunities as she tries to find her perfect life. But what exactly does a perfect life look like. Things aren’t exactly what Nora imagined they’d be when different decisions are made.
“If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you and to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it. And don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it. Most gossip is envy in disguise.”
The Midnight Library is a unique, inventive and thought-provoking story. Have you ever asked yourself, “what if I had done this or that differently, I wonder...?” That’s exactly what Nora gets to see. But first Nora has to get over her regrets before she can even imagine a different life.
It is unsettling and painful to watch Nora’s downward spiral but interesting to watch her try to figure out her life, and who she wants to be. The Midnight Library is a poignant, intriguing and thought-provoking book. And to top it off it’s set in a library! And who of us does not love a library. The Midnight Library serves as a great reminder that no one has a perfect life. There will be disappointments and bad things are going to happen, but it is also possible there will also be joy and happiness just around the next corner. It is what we do in the face of adversity that defines us.
The Midnight Library was written by Matt Haig who has suffered from depression and thoughts of suicide. In 2015, Haig wrote the bestselling book Reasons to Stay Alive after walking away from a suicide attempt sixteen years earlier. His writing is definitely informed, and highly readable. I listen to an audio version of the book and appreciated the performance.
“We only need to be one person. We only need to feel one existence. We don’t have to do everything in order to be everything, because we are already infinite. While we are alive we always contain a future of multifarious possibility.”
Published September 29, 2020
Narrated Carey Mulligan