Monday 7 December 2020

The Midnight Library

Finished December 3
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I received this book through a subscription service I joined recently otherwise I might not have got around to it for a while. I'm really glad I read it as I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It has so many themes that spoke to me: loneliness, depression, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, family divisions, and regrets. 
The main character here is Nora Seed a woman who has struggled with loss and guilt for a lot of her life. She was a very good swimmer and her father had high hopes for her to go on to the Olympics, but that isn't what she wanted. In high school, she tried different things, and got into music for a while, joining her brother's band as a singer and songwriter, but she got severe stage fright and had panic attacks and didn't want to fame that went along with such a public career. She got engaged, but never felt heard or appreciated in the relationship and decided not to go through with the marriage. Now, she's been living along with her cat in a small house in the town she grew up in and working in a music shop. When her cat dies, she feels that she has no one that would miss her. Estranged from her family, and unmoored, she decides to end her life.
When she awakens, she is in front of a building and she walks in to discover a library filled with books, and is met by her old high school librarian, a woman she liked a lot. Each of the infinite number of books on the shelf is a different version of her life, a possible world she could have lived in if she'd made a different choice at some point. It may have been a small thing, like letting her cat outside, or a large thing like travelling to Australia with her best friend, but every life would be different in some way. Nora has the opportunity to look at the regrets she has about her life, and decide to see what life she would have if she had chosen differently. 
I think this idea appeals to most of us in some way. What if we'd gone to a different school, majored in a different subject, dated a different person, traveled somewhere differently or at a different time. But is there really a perfect life? After all, none of us is perfect, so why should we expect our lives to be. 
This made me reflect on my own life and consider any regrets I might have, and think about how I feel about my life right now, right here. 
A fantastic read. 


  1. What if ? Magical and treacherous words at the same time. Interesting concept :)

  2. Lovely review, thanks for sharing your thoughts