Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Trigger warning: suicide, depression
When Nora Seed attempts to take her own life, she finds herself in an in-between known as the midnight library. Filled with volumes of books that lay out her potential lives, Nora has the opportunity to confront her regrets and explore what life could have been like by returning to consequential turning points and making alternative choices. Perhaps choices that would have made her happier. Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library explores the crevices of depression through a unique, heartwarming, and sometimes humorous lens, but the various narrative arcs and their substance fell short of expectations.
I really wanted to love this book – I heard so many good things about it, and while they say don’t judge a book by its cover, this one is so stunning. While the idea of a midnight library definitely drew me in, the overall concept of living different lives is something I have read in other books. The book is well written and easy to read, but it did take me some time to really get into it. Some of Nora’s lives were far more interesting and insightful than others, but many of the chapters were filled with story arcs or alternative lives that were fairly predictable. It also started feeling repetitive as we went through life after life, and I found myself to be less engaged as a result of this. Nora herself is a fascinating character and my attachment to her is what really kept me going because there was so much potential there, but much of it was left untapped. It does get better in the second half of the book, leading me to give it a higher rating than I had originally planned.
There are certainly other books I would recommend before this one, but that’s not to say don’t try it! The Midnight Library has received raving reviews from many readers…it just didn’t speak to me as much as I hoped it would.