The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Powerful, insightful and fulfilling – the only words that can be used to describe an awful lot of the work of Matt Haig, but these words are particularly true of Matt Haig’s most recent and absolutely astounding book release, The Midnight Library.
Matt Haig is a popular author today and we can most definitely understand why. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is eye-opening to say the least. Following along the life of Nora Seed, an average woman with an average life, we come to find that she is completely and utterly devastated by the life she is living. We quickly find out about her choice to take her own life and how she then finds herself, at midnight, transported to a library (aka The Midnight Library). This Midnight Library acts as what some would consider being ‘limbo’ or even ‘purgatory’- the place where many believe you go when you pass on from the life of the living. This ‘limbo’ often determines what happens to you post-death. In short, The Midnight Library acts as a metaphor for this limbo and becomes a saving grace for Nora Seed as she is told to pick a book and experience the lives she could have led.
The Midnight Library - Mrs Elm
The Midnight Library, where Nora now finds herself, harvests shelves upon shelves of books and stories about the lives Nora could have possibly lived was she to have, in the past, made different life choices. It is also here that we are introduced to Mrs Elm, a librarian who used to be involved in what is known as Nora’s ‘root life’ or life that she has just left.
Mrs. Elm was the local librarian in Nora’s root life and now serves as her guide in The Midnight Library. Mrs. Elm’s involvement is to steer, not lead Nora on her path of life choices. What book, story, life or direction Nora chooses to take in The Midnight Library is completely up to her. However, she finds herself disappointed by the many lives she hand picks from the shelves over and over again. This disappointment diverts her back into The Midnight Library under the guise of Mrs. Elm and where time is beginning to tick. Nora will need to choose a life she is happy to live if she wishes to remain alive. What life does she choose? Well we don’t want to spoil the whole of The Midnight Library on you!
The Midnight Library - Life is for Living in The Midnight Library
With short and snappy chapters that appear to speed up as the story progresses we, along with Nora, get a better glimpse into several of the lives she may have lived were she to have made different choices throughout her life. As she experiences these polar opposite lives and comes to terms with the potential she had to be a rockstar, an Olympian and in a relationship with a celebrity, she also comes to terms with how these lives would have truly played out were she to have lived them. With these experiences however comes disappointment and Nora comes to realise that when we can no longer have something, we always want it.
The Midnight Library - The Next Chapter
We witness Nora at different stages, situations and crossroads throughout the chapters of The Midnight Library. Sometimes she is a multimillionaire rock star in a famous band, a glaciologist, in love, depressed and all of the in between. What we particularly loved about this was the idea that how every little choice we make in life can directly affect the direction in which our life goes and how all we can do is accept and enjoy it. Although we may have wished to make different decisions in our past, we may not be who we are today without these decisions. The Midnight Library showcases the idea that we should not live with regrets because we cannot take back decisions but simply choose to embrace them instead.
The Midnight Library - Nora Seed
Nora’s character is one of openness and honesty. We see her at what would have been her worst and her best. Throughout these peaks and troughs that The Midnight Library throws at Nora, we are continuously rooting for her to find happiness and to succeed. We do not want her to be bound to The Midnight Library forever. In The Midnight Library, Nora finds each life she experiences to contain its own difficulties and struggles. This becomes an obstacle for Nora as she is faced with the ultimatum that she must choose a life or accept that life is simply not worth living. And she must decide quickly before the library simply disappears.
The Midnight Library - The Positives of Purgatory
The Midnight Library looks at death from a positive perspective. Whether you do or do not believe in an afterlife or heaven and hell, we can guarantee that you will certainly love the idea and values that The Midnight Library has to offer. The creativity behind this novel is astonishing. Matt Haig really put thought and creative energy into this novel. We must commend Matt Haig for the gift of The Midnight Library. This novel by Matt Haig is truly life changing!
When it comes to reality and weather it is limbo we go to or not once we do pass, this book really helps you to appreciate the ability to live in the moment. It encourages the reader to trust in the decisions that we are making in life as other paths may have been much worse.
The Midnight Library - Final Thoughts on The Midnight Library
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed this short and easy read. Not only was it enjoyable, it was insightful and allowed us, the reader, to take many interesting perspectives from the storyline. The Midnight Library looked not only at confronting but comforting the feelings of anxiety and depression that we can feel throughout our lifetime. Not only this, The Midnight Library also celebrated the everyday and the ordinary. Life does not always have to be out of this world to be pleasurable. Our own company can be more than enough.
Don’t trust us? Here’s what some other readers said about The Midnight Library by Matt Haig;
“Loved it and can’t wait to discuss” – Gill
“Read it and really adored it” – Shelly
“I loved this, I’ve both read and listened to it” – Francesca
“Absolutely loved this book! So different and well written” – Rebecca
If those reviews don’t scream “YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK” we don’t know what does!
The Reading Snug, x