Review by: Ava
I was really looking forward to reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Unfortunately, although it certainly was a good read, it did not live up to my expectations. But this might just mean it wasn’t the right book for me, and I could definitely see how it would be more of a meaningful read to someone else.
After attempted suicide the protagonist Nora Seed ends up somewhere lost in the universe between realities where there is a library containing an infinite number of books, which represent the lives she could have lived had she made any number of different choices in her main life. Throughout the book she jumps into these lives, trying them out, until she decides which life is the most fulfilling to her. Once she decides this she will get to live in that life.
The idea for this book is certainly intriguing. Any book with a library or a multiverse theme has me hooked, and this book had both! However, I was unfortunately disappointed in both areas. Although there was a library I wish it had been described in more detail. I didn’t get the sense of enchantment I usually feel when reading a book containing a library as a central location. And the infinite realities plot became repetitive after a while. This was probably my biggest critique of the book. Once you read the first 50 or so pages and enter the middle of the book where the most of the plot happens, it becomes very predictable. If I had just read the first 50 and last 50 pages I would have understood exactly what happened without even needing the middle.
Some things I did like about the book was how it tackled the subject of suicide. It’s a very difficult subject to talk about but Matt Haig did so brilliantly and sensitively, making the very beginning of the book probably one of my favorite parts. This was definitely the section that evoked the most emotion for me. The lessons taught in this book were also very well expressed. The Midnight Library is one of those books where you could read it multiple times throughout your life and have it mean something different each time. The lesson I took the most from this story was to take advantage of all the opportunities in my life, you never know where you might end up. There were many other lessons however, that I don’t want to spoil in case you decide to read this book for yourself. But overall there was a big emphasis on embracing yourself and your life, and being grateful for the small things as well as the big things.
This novel was certainly a great idea, and I’m sure there’s no life in my multiverse of realities where I was able to ignore a book with an infinite library AND an infinite realities theme! If you enjoy reading books mainly for learning life lessons and not as much for a gripping plot then I highly recommend this book.
I rate The Midnight Library 3.5/5 magical libraries!
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please know you are not alone.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of more than 150 local crisis centers. It offers free and confidential emotional support around the clock to those experiencing a suicidal crisis.
- 800-273-8255 (24/7)
- Online chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ (24/7)
More resources available here.