Title: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Published: 13th August 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Number of pages: 304(Hardcover)
Start Date: 29th January 2022
Finish Date: 30th January 2022
The Midnight Library ponders the infinite possibilities of life. It is about a young woman named Nora Seed, who lives a monotonous, ordinary life and feels unwanted and unaccomplished. One night, her despair reaches a peak and she commits suicide. But the story doesn't end there, Nora gets a chance to experience various ways her life could've unfolded had she made slightly different choices.
She finds herself in a place called the Midnight Library, which exists between life and death and is filled with books in which lie endless parallel lives she might've lived; she is given the chance to undo her regrets by trying out these lives, starting right where her alternate self would've been on the night she ended her life.
While in the Midnight Library, Nora lives hundreds of lives and becomes hundreds of different versions of herself, some she'd never even fathomed but she is faced with a difficult decision. She must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to live permanently in one of these 'ideal' lives, where they seem perfect for a time but, as she realises, there are really new sets of challenges awaiting. Nora's exploration of herself is captivating as she attempts to discern what is really important in life.
This novel is very well-written and thought-provoking. Nora's emotions are deeply portrayed, and I was captivated by the depth of Haig's storytelling. While the concept is simple, it drew me in as a reader and encompassed so many different emotional experiences that come with life.
I spent much of The Midnight Library reflecting on my own life and the decisions I've made, as well as looking to the future and imagining the infinite possibilities, this is a sign of a talented author in my opinion. While I appreciated the depth of this novel, sometimes it took on a repetitive, almost pedantic tone when an important idea was already clear but kept being elaborated on; this was common when life lessons came up.
There were also attempts to make Nora's life-jumping seem scientifically possible, with reference to quantum physics, and I didn't think this was necessary, as the focus was on Nora's life and personal growth.
The Midnight Library is told from a third-person limited point of view. The narrator knows all the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist, Nora, but not of any of the other characters. Consequently, the reader is able to focus all their attention on Nora and her sorrows.
The key character in the book is Nora Seeds, but we do see a lot of other characters being introduced that make an impact on the story. Nora was very likeable and relatable; as I was reading the book I was also thinking of my life. The book itself made me feel very inquisitive about my own life, it made me really think about things differently.
I would highly recommend this book, it is definitely worth the read. For a short book it leaves it imprint on you. I would recommend this to teenagers and adults. This is a book I would recommend for someone who is struggling with finding their worth, it helps you process things a bit easier.