Book Review: ‘The Midnight Library’ changes perspective of everyday mundane lifestyles

Matt Haig peels through layers of ordinary life to reveal beauty of normalcy

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COURTESY OF MATT HAIG

Nora’s journey in “The Midnight Library” is one that all of us should venture on.

MIKAYLA FINNERTY, Managing editor

Editor’s note: This review contains mentions of topics that may be sensitive to some readers, including suicide.

The Midnight Library itself is a state of mind. The mysterious place we go to when we are not dead and not alive. It is in the in-between. This is where Nora Seed finds herself after trying to take her own life. 

“The Midnight Library,” written by Matt Haig, follows the main character Nora and her struggle of finding a reason to live.

Nora has always felt stuck. After her cat Volts was found dead on the side of the road, she has an emotion stronger than sadness: envy. 

As Haig lays out the many regrets leading up to Nora’s fateful night, we find that Nora feels buried in a hole of despair in her mediocre life that she feels she cannot get out of.

In her state between life and death, Nora’s mind makes up a physical library filled with books of various shades of green, each a different life story that she could have had if she made different choices. 

She is introduced to the “Book of Regrets,” which includes every single regret she has ever had. And like anyone in the world, the list is long.  

She is led by a spirit guide in the form of her elementary library teacher, Louise Elm. She instructs Nora to live the lives she could have lived by reading the books on the shelves.

The magic of it all is attained when Nora reads the book she is sent to that life, living it as if it was real. For example, one of Nora’s biggest regrets is quitting swimming. In one of the first books she opens, she finds herself living the life she would have if she continued her swimming career. 

Nora needs to choose a life to stay in, Mrs.Elm says. As she goes through each life, she comes to learn more about herself and what she wants. She realizes that she does not want to be an Olympic swimmer, be in a famous band, be a glaciologist or marry her ex-fiance. 

But when the Midnight Library starts to crumble, Nora finds herself making a conclusive decision: to live or to die. 

This New York Times Bestseller will have you questioning everything you know about the potential you have in this world and the choices you have made thus far. 

As you follow Nora on her journey of “what if’s,” you realize that all the choices made throughout your life are unmistakable because they lead you to this very moment. 

This book is a letter to anyone that feels hopeless in the world. Its main message centers around the idea that “the only thing stopping you, is you.”