The Midnight Library Book Review

Title: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Published: 2020
Pages: 288
Goodreads Rating: 4.17
Rating: 7/10

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” 

Between life and death, there is a place that contains infinite versions of your life in parallel universes. Each of them is different based on the decisions you made in that particular life. Did you say yes instead of no to a date? Did you decide to pursue one education over another? Did you decide to have children or not? Some individuals get to visit this place and try on different versions of their lives. Will one reality prove to be better than the rest? Follow our main character, Nora, as she experiences her midnight library. 

Pros:

Philosophical life lessons
There are plenty of important life lessons throughout the book. I think they are especially critical for everyone to learn earlier rather than later in life. I selected a few of them to highlight… 

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” 
“The only way to learn is to live.” 
“You can have everything and feel nothing.” 
“To be a part of nature was to be part of the will to live.” 

It’s so easy to focus on what your life could have been or focus on comparing your life to others… especially in a world filled with social media. Haig addresses this existential crisis head-on. 

Interesting concept for the story
The Midnight Library merges a few of my favorite things… existentialism, fantasy, and science. Along with those themes, the author’s concept for the story proves to be a fascinating way to bring parallel universes to life. The existence of an in-between place that holds records of infinite realities is engrossing.

Writing style
Haig’s writing style makes The Midnight Library an easy, quick read. We stay with one main character the entire time and experience life through her eyes. Nora is such a flawed and relatable character that you immediately feel connected to her story. Haig also keeps the chapters quick and concise which leads to a well-paced story.

Cons:

Tough read at times
Our main character has lived a draining life and she is filled with regret. That regret comes out in the form of depression and continuous poor life choices. Once she’s in her midnight library, she experiences additional versions of her life that are equally difficult to experience. This book could be triggering for individuals who suffer from mental illness. 

Predictable ending
The ending became very predictable about halfway through the book because of two factors. First, Nora said some things that hint at her ultimate decision by the end of the book. Second, the author’s execution of the concept for the story pushes the reader and Nora to a limited number of viable options. In my opinion, the midnight library concept showcasing parallel universes was brilliant but the execution was wanting. Perhaps Haig decided to portray his idea in this manner in order to get his point across in 288 pages. If he had done it differently, I think the book would have been substantially longer.

Overall… 

I think this is a must-read for many people. If you ever think about your regrets… if you ever compare your life to others… if you ever wonder what your life could have been… you need to read this book. Please know that if you or a loved one has a mental illness, this book could be triggering. 

Published by Caroline

Avid reader, board gamer, yogi, and photographer.

2 thoughts on “The Midnight Library Book Review

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