Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Science/Fantasy Fiction
Page count: 304
Price: $23.92 (hardcover)
Content warnings: This text discusses suicide.
Have you ever wondered how your life may have been if you had chosen a slightly different career path? That is the concept that Matt Haig explores in his novel “The Midnight Library.”
His story follows the infinite possibilities of Nora Seed as she undoes the regrets of her seemingly boring, monotonous life. She does this by finding a library between life and death that is filled with books of her possible lives.
Some are as wild as being a famous Olympic swimmer, while others are as mundane as having gone on a coffee date with a doctor that ends in them getting married and having a daughter. Through living these different lives, she is able to see how simple it would have been to change her life had she just been a little bolder or accepted what was handed to her.
But she isn’t yet able to find the life she wants to choose. As glorious as they seem, they all come with their own stipulations that she isn’t prepared to face. Some lives lead to the death of someone close or her previous piano student getting into trouble with law enforcement.
No matter how grand these lives may seem, she comes to realize that every life she could live will come with difficulties, much like her original life.
Will Nora come to find what’s really important through the exploration of her regret-free life?
This story was one of my favorites that I have read to this day, and the lessons that can be taken from it will stay with me for a long time. I was not really sure how much I would like this book when I picked it up but I am glad to have finally given it a chance.
Haig was able to make his readers really question their own lives as they went through this journey with Nora. As I read what choices she would have made differently, I started to question how my own life would be if I had the same opportunity as her.
Now, there is quite a bit of science in this book because it explores the possibility of an infinite universe as well as a multiverse, but Haig writes in a way that it was easy to read and understand. I was never really confused by these concepts and instead came to understand them the more I read on.
Some reviews would say that certain parts of the story got repetitive with how Nora would jump through life after life, never seeming 100% satisfied, but I think that was part of the point Haig was trying to get across. No matter how fantastic a life may seem, it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. This is what Nora had to understand and why she had to go through so many lives.
All in all, his novel was a wonderful read about the self-discovery and growth of a woman who was very relatable. I would recommend this story to anyone who’s ever questioned what they could have done differently had they not chosen the path that they have.