Have You Read “The Midnight Library”? (My Thoughts)

With over 9 million copies sold, there’s a good possibility you’ve read Matt Haig’s novel “The Midnight Library.” Having finished it last night, I’m here to make the fresh, bold, hot take that…I think it’s great and I recommend it.

The Midnight Library has a grim premise: The main character, Nora, is deeply dissatisfied with her life, and she decides to end it. To her surprise, she arrives at the titular library as is presented with the opportunity to revisit other versions of her life with small and large differences.

The innovative twist is that Nora isn’t going back in time to make different choices; rather, she’s arriving into versions of her body at the same time of her core body’s death. She’s seeing the results of choices that the other versions of herself have already made.

This is 90% fascinating and 10% frustrating. The fascinating part is to see how Nora’s choices–ranging from small to big–impacted who she is today in the alternate universes, as well as the different versions of her life she decides to experience along the way (her priorities change every time she zips back to the metaphysical library). The frustrating part is that Nora is constantly catching up, as she isn’t given the memories of her other bodies. I think this is intentional–Nora should feel like she is catching up for these lives she didn’t live–but from a reader’s perspective, I wanted to spend a little less time on Nora fumbling around and more time with her learning/experiencing these other versions of herself.

Yet Haig knows what he’s doing, and the book evolves and builds to a conclusion that hit home with me (I won’t spoil it here, though it’s very much just as much about the journey as the destination).

I’d love to hear your thoughts about The Midnight Library in the comments (spoilers are welcome there)!

4 thoughts on “Have You Read “The Midnight Library”? (My Thoughts)”

  1. Thanks for the reco. This is the kind of book that could go either way for me, I love a good multi-dimensional philosophical novel but I hope it’s not getting too preachy, which I usually don’t like. I’ll put it in my shortlist for sure.

    Which brings me to a different question, how do you decide if a book is for you or not before reading it? (from an unknown to you author).

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  2. Oo I read this book!! I really enjoyed reading and loved the twist the author took on this narrative. With that, I was ultimately disappointed by the ending (I won’t spoil for others). I was mainly disappointed because I guess I was hoping for something more unexpected since everything else was unexpected. Overall, I did really like this book and would also recommend it!!

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    • I also figured that the ending was going to be what it was, but I wasn’t sure I would find the reason for it (the character’s reason) believable. Yet I thought the author pulled that part off quite well.

      Reply

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