The Midnight Library By Matt Haig – A Review

After what seemed like years, I committed to a book and finished it within two months (which is huge for me). It definitely helped that the book – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – came at the right time, as a breath of fresh air for an otherwise parched soul!

‘Would you have done anything different if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’ is the underlying theme of The Midnight Library. To put it simply, the book served like a simple, personal therapist for me.

Plot of The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library revolves around 35-year-old Nora Seed who has had a series of unfortunate events. She feels helpless as she is fired from her job; her elderly neighbour does not need her help anymore; she feels incapable of taking care of herself, others and even her cat who happened to die that very morning. To her, it seems as though all the doors have closed. What is left of her life is a bunch of regrets and no will to survive. So, she decides to end her life.

Quote from The Midnight Library

When she attempts suicide, she goes into an in between world, The Midnight Library with endless number of books. From the friendly librarian, she gathers that each of these books are versions of her life; She can pick one book, enter into that version of life, and try it on. If she feels uncomfortable in that life, she will be transported back into the Library wherein she can try another life. This is where she gets to decide whether or not to end her life, one last time. While this part is purely fictional, and may not sit well with people who don’t like fiction, the author takes you through Nora’s mindset as she tries on various lives. These lives, and her journey through them speak to you.

The Beauty of The Midnight Library

The beauty of The Midnight Library is that it has the ability to communicate to people who think that their life is overwhelming and difficult. There is a part wherein it says that in the game of chess, even if you have one pawn standing, the game isn’t over. ‘Because pawn is never just a pawn. A pawn is a queen-in-waiting’. These are strong thoughts made using strong words, and this is the strength of the book.

The Midnight Library talks about how each of our lives could end up in infinite number of ways based on the choices we make. It helps us ask ourselves whether the life we are leading are in fact the lives we want to lead. Are these purely our choices? Do we like them? Can we do something to make it a little more personalized?

Why it Spoke to Me

I am a 34-year-old at crossroads. I have been unsatisfied with my job and have regrets about the things I could have done right, of the people I could have become. These aren’t my personal regrets. They grew on me based on how the society saw and labelled me.

The Midnight Library helped me review my regrets, and helped me look at life differently; subjectively. To put it simply, I realized that ten things might be wrong with my life all at once, but that does not translate into my life being a failure. In the next moment, something simple could happen that would set one thing right, or make the burden of my life a little lighter. I realized that I still have pieces on my chess board.

Someone told me that the book had mixed reviews and so they weren’t sure whether or not to pick it up. ‘People only see the truth if it is close enough to their reality.’ You probably will experience this book the way I did, only if it is close enough to your reality. As I mentioned before, if you are at crossroads in life or if you are not sure which path to take, this book will speak to you.

Let me not oversell it to you and ruin your experience. I loved this book because it was way too relatable for me. That need not be the case with you. But there definitely is something for everyone to take away from the book.

A little About the Peculiar Circumstances in Which this Book Found me

I don’t buy books on whim. If I come across a book and it interests me, and if it keeps coming in my feed repeatedly, I put it in my to-buy list. When I realise that I desperately want to read this book, and I really feel like spending money on it, I buy it. It is a process that takes years sometimes.

My sister visited us in October 2022 and we were doing our regular jibber jabber when she happened to mention this book. She did not tell me any specifics. But when she mentioned this particular book, I decided to place an order for it. Just like that!

Rest is history. It got so good that I marked so many pages, raved about it on Instagram and ended up writing my first blogpost (last blogpost was written in November 2021) in a year! This makes me believe, time and again that you don’t choose books, but books choose you. When I put up stories about the book on Instagram, some of my friends messaged me saying they purchased it seeing my stories. And now that this post is also up, maybe, someone else is destined to read it and pick up this book and perhaps, it would help them too.

If you have read until here, let me tell you one more thing before I end this post. The book starts slow and sad. It sticks to the slow pace. That may make it a difficult read at first. Take it slow and stick with it for sometime and you might find what I found. I hope it helps you the way it helped me. Do let me know if you happen to buy the book and read it because of my post. Do let me know what you think of it if you have already read it. 🙂

Until my next blog post, sending you sunshine, rainbows and hot chocolates

~ Ranjini S

You can now subscribe to my newsletters which I send out once or twice a month. You will receive light, heart-warming thoughts directly from my coffee table along-with any links to blogposts that you have missed. Click Here to Subscribe. You can unsubscribe anytime you wish to.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply